The defense picked it up this week and made some huge plays, like four interceptions with two of those being returned for touchdowns. This performance might just change the attitude of many that say the offense needs to have long, sustained drives to keep the defense off the field. It is just one good performance, but the defensive front seven had an outstanding game, and they did it merely by playing within the framework of the defensive calls.
When the defensive line adequately executes its responsibility, it will not always get credit for, nor make, a lot of the tackles, but it enables the linebackers to have some clean, pure shots at the running back, thus limiting the effectiveness of the offense's running game. Now, when the Vikings have their linebackers stuffing those plays time and time again, the confidence and intensity of the entire defensive unit increases tenfold.
The defensive line wasn't the only unit making unnoticed plays. The offense had some great line calls that could have been overlooked by some fans. It started in the Vikings' first offensive series with two of the first three plays being misdirection plays. Fans were moaning, but the defensive line of the Detroit Lions was suddenly not as aggressive in the next series. Those plays made the defensive linemen more concerned with their responsibility than being aggressive with their pursuit angles.
Head coach Mike Tice made some good decisions as well, with two fourth-down plays when he decided to go for it even though it was early in the first quarter. The first scenario: Fourth-and-7 with 8:18 to go in the first quarter on the Lions 35 … and they made it, with the end result leading to Michael Bennett's 25-yard touchdown run. The defense loved it. Then with 1:55 to go in the first quarter and fourth-and-4 on the Lions 42-yard line, they go for it and once again made it. The defense loved it, and the offense was clicking its heels because of how the defense was playing all game long.
And what about this Moe Williams dude? I call him All-Pro Moe because that is the level he is playing up to right now, and he should be winning that trip to Hawaii in February. But what makes him so deserving of a trip to the Pro Bowl is not only his stats, but also his work ethic. I talked to him in the locker room and kiddingly said, "way to keep the game close," referring to a fumble of his that was returned 79 yards for a touchdown. Actually it was a great play by Dré Bly, who stripped the ball and then started heading down the sidelines and, because of great hustle by Daunte Culpepper, ended up lateraling to Corey Harris for the touchdown. A lot of fans would probably say, "how cruel can Lurtz be?" but there is a point to made here — the biggest point being that Moe knows I'm kidding.
The second point is that it illustrates that great professionals don't look back and dwell on the negative, as negative things happen each and every play. Players have to maintain a positive, aggressive attitude to put negative plays behind them and move on. Good, hard-working teams — and heavy on the hard-working — don't look back. Instead, they create a fun, winning atmosphere that All-Pro Moe and the entire defense can enjoy at this time.
Lurtsema's Reaction: Good Decisions
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