This 41-14 loss is what I call a good, old-fashioned ass kickin', and there isn't any other way to say it (now I know how Packers fans felt last week). Most will say that the defense blew it with missed tackle after missed tackle — with at least 22 in the first half that I counted. I actually got sick of counting because it was so depressing, so I decided to watch the Vikings' offensive performance.
It wasn't any better on that side of the ball. In their first six possessions, they went three downs and out five times with a sixth possession ending on an interception. When playing a defensive team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and adding to that the Bucs' offensive game plan being predicated on running against the Vikings, this obviously creates a situation where the offensive opportunities for the Vikings could be limited. Without establishing any prolonged drives, how can an offense even make adjustments? The negative outcome of so many three-and-outs just multiplies. As a matter of fact, the Vikings had zero — that's right, a big old goose egg — first downs in the first half, while the Bucs had 20.
I actually thought the injured Warrick Dunn was in the jersey marked number 40 instead of 250-pound Mike Alstott. Alstott had great moves, quick feet and high-stepped over bodies, etc. — and then I realized what I was seeing was not so much a great running back but multiple missed tackles. As I mentioned, 22 in just the first half alone.
The more I watched the game, it seemed that some of the players didn't even want to tackle Alstott at all, or at best they would give a small effort trying to bring him down in a less physical manner. This approach shows little effort and no heart. Tackles come from within, and defenders have to maintain a mean attitude during the tackle itself. It's like a passion, an internal adrenaline flow that is completely fulfilled upon a great hit — a hit created with effort and heart. When players don't come to the park with the right attitude, which unfortunately happens at times, the end result can be rather overwhelming, or one might say a real ass kickin'.
Don't read me wrong, I won't be like some Vikings fans that were on the third deck of Raymond James Stadium who were throwing their Vikings hats, shirts and shorts over the railing. But on one particular play my hat did hit the enclosed window of the press box. I just hope the Vikings can throw that effort out the window and come back in two weeks dressed and ready to hit, tackle and win. VU
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