I've seen it happen time in and time out, and when it happens against the Minnesota Vikings I become immediately frustrated. Yes, it's having a backup quarterback come off the bench and have the game of his life — and that was what happened with Doug Flutie's performance Sunday in San Diego. It happens often in the NFL because during the week of preparation defenses mainly prepare for the first-string quarterback, with a less detailed plan against a backup quarterback. This week, the Vikings had a few days notice that Flutie was starting; however, without him playing at all this year, with new personnel it does make setting up a defensive game plan a little more difficult. Add all this to the bounce of the ball — one of those bouncing back to Flutie for a 13-yard touchdown after a bad snap — and you can see why the Vikings lost to a much, much lesser team.
It's unfortunate that the defense has played so poorly the last three weeks while the offense has been playing well enough to win. The defense must make adjustments, especially in the front seven and get a fix on those huge runs of late. Even at times, the corners could help with a little more aggressive bump-and-run. It's not so bad at times that the corners are off the line of scrimmage, but on the snap of the ball when they start immediately running backwards it makes it awfully difficult for the defensive linemen to put more pressure on the quarterback or even get a sack since it allows him that short, easy completion.
As I mentioned, frustration was mounting as I watched Flutie have such a game, but my frustration peaked when it became obvious that the Vikings' no-huddle offense was not running at a crisp pace while it still had an opportunity to win. After a time out before fourth-and-18 with 6:32 to go in the game, the Vikings made a great call that allowed Jim Kleinsasser to convert a first down with a 19-yard reception. It allowed the Vikings to get in the end zone and be down by just 14 points with 4:20 to play. But the offense couldn't finish the comeback even after recovering an on-side kick.
Losing three games in a row isn't as bad as everybody makes it out to be, as teams are constantly on a roller-coaster ride in this league. The Vikings just lost to a bad football team — and for you young kids out there, bad means 1-7 coming in — but they're lucky enough that their next two games, against the Raiders and the Lions, will allow the roller-coaster ride to come back around in the Vikings' favor.
Lurtsema's Reacton: Backup Strikes Again
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