NOTEBOOK: Numbers Don't Lie

The Vikings' 0-2 start doesn't bode well for them. We tracked back to the history book and looked at past 0-2 get-offs (hint: it isn't good). Plus, get the grizzly details in the numbers from the Bengals mauling – 28 notes that help summarize the embarrasment.

Mike Tice has always been known as a numbers guy. It was his love of crunching numbers that created the ill-fated Randy Ratio for former Vikings star Randy Moss. He now must realize that the Vikings being 0-2 could have catastrophic results.

In the 45-year history of the Vikings, this is just the eighth time that the team has started the season 0-2. What were the results of the others? You may not want to know.

The Vikings have never had a season above .500 after losing the first two games. In seasons in which they lost their first two games, the team finished 6-10 (2002), 5-11 (2001), 3-13 (1984), 7-9 (1981), 3-8-3 (1967), 7-7 (1965) and 2-11-1 (1962).

While there is still plenty of time to straighten things out, the Vikings have dug themselves a hole few fans – much less the players and coaches – anticipated. If, like Tice, you find significance in statistics, the start to the 2005 season can't be seen as a positive sign.


  • The Vikings narrowly averted their first shutout in 222 games, dating back to Sept. 22, 1991, when the team was shut out by the Saints 26-0. Had the Vikings not scored with 3:18 left to play, it would have been the Bengals' first home shutout since Oct. 19, 1980, when they beat the Vikings 14-0.

  • In the last 25 regular-season games dating back to 2001, the Vikings have a 3-22 record in games played outdoors.

  • Daunte Culpepper had a career-worst five interceptions – three by CB Deltha O'Neal alone. For the game, the Vikings had seven turnovers, giving them 12 in their first two games.

  • Last season in 16 games, Culpepper had just 11 interceptions. He has eight picks in his first two games this season – the most in the NFL.

  • Injuries took a toll on the Vikings Sunday, as three star players were sidelined – Nate Burleson with a knee sprain, Darren Sharper with a knee injury and Antoine Winfield with a foot injury.

  • Michael Bennett, who has built a reputation on not fumbling, lost a fumble in the first drive of the game and was benched for a quarter. His first touch after that came in the second quarter when he took a screen pass and fumbled again. He was again taken out and didn't return to the game – Mewelde Moore became the primary back the rest of the game.

  • A lot can be said for where teams start drives. The Bengals had four drives that started in Vikings territory and another that began at the Cincy 47. For the games, the Vikings' starting points were all in their own territory – at the 10, 30, 20, 16, 17, 9, 37, 20, 15, 20, 34 and 18. For the Bengals, their drives began at C-28, M-48, C-14, C-16, M-15, C-47, C-10, C-23, C-35, M-16, C-20 and M-32.

  • For the game, the Vikings rushed just 14 times for 77 yards – 37 yards on the first drive and 40 yards the rest of the game.

  • The Vikings defense allowed the Bengals 504 yards of total offense.

  • LB Rod Davis got his first NFL start with Sam Cowart deactivated before the game.

  • Rookie DE Erasmus James made his NFL debut in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game.

  • The experiment to have Troy Williamson return kickoffs would appear to be a failed test early. He bobbled his first attempt and finished the first half with five returns – averaging just 13.2 yards a pop. In the second half, he was replaced by Mewelde Moore in that role.

  • For the second straight week, Tice pulled rookie guard Marcus Johnson and replaced him with Adam Goldberg.

  • The Bengals needed just 52 seconds to score the game's first points.

  • By the time Culpepper completed his first pass of the game, Carson Palmer had already gone 5-for-5 passing with 115 yards and two touchdowns.

  • For the second straight game, the Vikings allowed 17 or more unanswered points to an opponent in the first half.

  • The Bengals pressured Culpepper throughout the game, which wasn't expected since the team didn't have a sack the entire game against Cleveland in Week 1.

  • As bad as things were for the Vikings, it could have been even worse. A holding penalty on Cincinnati's Reggie Kelly negated an 86-yard touchdown by Chris Perry, and an offside on rookie David Pollack negated a Culpepper fumble on the Vikings 9-yard line. To add to that, Willie Offord had an interception in the end zone in the first half that saw a 15-play Bengals drive come up empty.

  • The Bengals committed 17 penalties Sunday – a franchise record.

  • The game was pretty much over by halftime. At the break, Palmer had completed 20 of 27 passes for 266 yards and three TDs. The Bengals held the ball for 20:11 of the game's first 30 minutes and outgained the Vikings 337-110.

  • In the first half, the Bengals ran 44 offensive plays, opposed to just 21 for the Vikings.

  • Marcus Robinson led the Vikings in receiving yards in the first half with 19. In contrast, five different Bengals receivers had 30 yards or more receiving in the first half.

  • The Bengals' first punt of the game didn't come until 12:38 remained in the third quarter.

  • The Vikings crossed midfield once in the first half – getting to the Bengals 49-yard line before Culpepper was sacked on the next play. The first time they crossed midfield in the second half, Culpepper was intercepted on the next play.

  • In the third quarter, Pat Williams brought down Rudi Johnson for a 1-yard loss – the first time in 45 carries this season that Johnson had negative yardage on a carry.

  • One of the few bright spots for the team continues to be punter Chris Kluwe, who had three punts for an average of 46.7 yards.

  • Mike Rosenthal had three penalties called on him in a five-play stretch during the third quarter.

  • As if things weren't pathetic enough Sunday, the Vikings tried an on-side kick apparently just to get practice at it. How did it work out? Not only were the Vikings offside on the play, but Paul Edinger's kick didn't even go the required 10 yards.

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