In professional sports, athletes and coach always talk about how important it is for them to have a short-term memory. If something doesn’t go their way at some point during the season, they want to forget about it and move on. If those negative things linger on in the memory of a player or team it can often lead to more negative things to follow.
Last Sunday, the Vikings defense was generally dominant against the New York Giants except for two big plays. The first came in the second quarter when Eli Manning was able to connect with running back Rashad Jennings on a screen that went for 50 yards and led to the Giants’ first score of the game.
The second big play the Vikings defense gave up came toward the end of the third quarter. The Giants lined up in a no huddle and Manning was able to hit Ruben Randle deep down the field for a 72-yard touchdown.
While it would seem the Vikings would want to pay attention to what went wrong on these plays so they can make sure the same things do not happen when they play the Packers, in some cases they don’t even remember the plays happening.
“Two big plays?” head coach Mike Zimmer said as he tried to remember what happened. “One was a screen, we didn’t play that very good; two guys got knocked down. And the other one was a, what happened? I’m trying to remember what it was. I don’t know, we got to cover them better. I can’t remember, all I’ve done is look at Green Bay for six days.”
The team’s head coach is not the only one that doesn’t remember the plays, though. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes had almost no recollection of the Giants completing those passes, even when reminded of what happened during the plays.
“I don’t even know what two plays you’re talking about,” he said.
“I don’t even remember them to be honest. I’m on to the Packers right now. I forgot all about that game to be honest.”
While a lot of the defenders have forgotten all about the two plays that led to the Giants’ only two scores against the Vikings starting defense, some do still remember. But even the ones that do remember them did not seem too concerned with them.
Safety Harrison Smith seems to believe that it is just some little things they need to clean up before they play the Packers.
“It sounds kind of stupid, you just got to not let those plays happen, I guess,” he said. “Sometimes it’s only one block away from stopping a play 50 yards short of where it ends up, so just things like that.”
With Aaron Rodgers running the Packers offense, there is always going to be a risk of them completing plays down the field, but the Vikings defense does not seem too concerned about it. They have been solid in defending the pass for most of the season, and when they don’t they have been able to move on quickly and forget about the miscues.
Much like a pitcher in baseball has to quickly get over the home run he gave up, the Vikings defense has been able to quickly get over the big plays they gave up. That short-term memory has seemed to be working for them so far this season.