The Vikings' running game may not be gaining big yardage, but head coach Brad Childress referenced a statistician and one of his key markers to explain why the head coach isn't overly concerned. Plus, get 40 game-day notes and statistical insights from the Vikings' 30-7 win over Baltimore.
Vikings fans may not know who Bud Goode is, but coach Brad Childress does. Childress referenced Goode in his post-game press conference when asked about the early futility of the Vikings' first-team rushing stats when the team hands the ball to Chester Taylor
on first down.
It was pointed out that Taylor has 17 carries on first downs in the first three games. Of those carries, only two have gone for 4 yards or more. Of the other 15 rushes, Taylor has gained 3 yards on three carries, 2 yards five times, 1 yard six times and zero yards once. When asked if he felt that this problem, which has left the Vikings in several poor down-and-distance situations, would self-correct, Childress quoted Goode.
For more than three decades, Goode has provided a stat service that has been used by several NFL teams, such as his proven theory about combining rushing attempts and completions – stating that teams that rush 30 times in a game and complete 20 passes win 95 percent of the time. So it was a "Goodeism" that had Childress explaining the Vikings' lack of consistent gains on first downs in the rushing game.
"This is one of the Goodeisms that he's known for," Childress said. "It's not the quality of the rush, it's the quantity of the rush. It's not the quantity of the pass, it's the quality of the pass."
While it may still be troubling to fans that the Vikings haven't been able to establish the power rushing game with its first team, Childress remains unphased. As long as the quantity remains strong, the quality wins will follow.
Jason Carter and Tarvaris Jackson have been a popular hookup tandem in practice and have come to calling themselves 7-11 – after their respective jersey numbers. When asked what he thought about their nickname, Childress asked, "Did they come up with that themselves? They've got a lot of spare time."
TE Jim Kleinsasser caught his first two passes of the preseason Friday night.
Coming into Friday's game, Carter was second on the team in receiving yardage with 48 yards. He more than doubled that by catching two passes for 107 yards, a 30-yarder from Mike McMahon and 77-yard touchdown from Jackson. Carter has scored two of the Vikings' three passing TDs in the preseason. With three catches Friday night, Troy Williamson leads the team with six receptions. Carter is one of five players tied with four receptions.
McMahon's woes continue. He has completed just four of 16 passes in the preseason, while Brad Johnson has completed 24 of 32 passes, Jackson has completed 18 of 28 and J.T. O'Sullivan has completed 10 of 20 – making McMahon's ineffectiveness stand out. At least he improved from his single-digit passer rating with which he entered the game. He finished with a 65.4 rating for Friday night's performance, which was still the worst of the four quarterbacks.
This will be the final game for several players. The first cut-down date is set for next Tuesday.
Chester Taylor's hold on the team rushing lead just about got usurped Friday. Through three games, Taylor has carried 29 times for 81 yards, while Wendell Mathis has 18 carries for 77 yards.
The Vikings have outscored their opponents 30-13 in the second half of their preseason games.
Three Vikings were cited for injuries following the game, but none were viewed as serious. Ciatrick Fason left the game with a shoulder injury and will get a MRI Saturday. Fred Smoot sustained a rib contusion and Chester Taylor was poked in the eye on his final carry of the game.
Neither team established much of a running game Friday. The Ravens ran 25 times for 85 yards, while the Vikings had a nearly identical 24 carries for 86 yards. No Ravens rusher had more than 23 yards, while the Vikings were led by Mathis with 10 carries for 41 yards.
Twelve different Ravens caught passes, led by Mark Clayton with five. Eleven Vikings caught passes, led by Troy Williamson with three and Carter with 107 yards.
Through three games, the Vikings have five interceptions, as opposed to just two by their opponents.
In their careers, Ryan Longwell and Matt Stover have both been among the all-time leaders in field goal accuracy, but both missed kicks Friday they should have made. Longwell missed a 40-yarder and Stover missed a 46-yarder.
Friday was the first preseason game this season that the Vikings didn't turn the ball over.
Heath Farwell once again was a tackling machine, registering nine tackles, including eight solo tackles. Aside from E.J. Henderson (four tackles), nobody else for the Vikings had more than three tackles.
The Vikings defense turned up the heat on the Ravens offense in the fourth quarter. On the Ravens' final three drives before time ran out on them, the Vikings had a fumble recovery by Ronyell Whitaker on a forced fumble by Farwell, an interception by Willie Offord that was returned to the Ravens' 26-yard line and a fumble recovery by Khreem Smith that he brought back for a touchdown – which put the game over on points for degenerate gamblers.
The Ravens got into Vikings territory four times before finally putting up their first points in the final minute of the third quarter.
The staff at the Metrodome understood that the Twins were playing a crucial American League North series with the Chicago White Sox. The public address announcer waited until the Twins took a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning before making the in-house announcement.
The fans let their feelings be known when the Vikings opted to let McMahon start the second half with the first-unit players for one series. A moderate smattering of boos came out, as opposed to a generous ovation when Tarvaris Jackson came into the game later.
The Ravens closed the gap in the stats department in the second quarter, holding the ball for 11:32 of the quarter to take a 15:42 to 14:18 advantage in time of possession for the half. The Ravens had eight first downs in the first half, as opposed to seven for the Vikings. The Vikings held the advantage in total yards with 122 (32 rushing, 90 passing), while the Ravens had 86 total yards (20 rushing and 66 passing). The Vikings were called for five penalties, as opposed to just two for the Ravens.
Individually, Brad Johnson finished the night with nine completions on 15 attempts for 95 yards. Chester Taylor was the leading rusher with 10 carries for 25 yards and Troy Williamson led the team with three catches for 43 yards.
McNair, after a shaky start, completed 13 of 17 passes for 80 yards. Mike Anderson and Musa Smith each gained just seven yards rushing – Anderson on five carries and Smith with four. Mark Clayton was the big offensive threat, catching five passes for 33 yards.
E.J. Henderson led the Vikings with four tackles (three solos) in the first half, while Terrell Suggs had seven tackles (all solos) and Ray Lewis added five tackles for the Ravens.
As has become habit, the Vikings dominated the statistical categories. The Vikings had a mammoth 10:50 to 4:10 advantage in time of possession in the first quarter, as well as net yards (95-12). The Vikings had 75 yards passing and 20 rushing, while the Ravens managed just 2 yards rushing and 10 yards passing.
In the first quarter, the Vikings ran 19 plays, as opposed to just eight plays for Baltimore.
Individually in the first quarter, Johnson completed seven of 10 passes for 75 yards. Chester Taylor ran nine times for 20 yards, and Williamson (29 yards) and Kleinsasser (23 yards) led the team with two receptions. For the Ravens, Musa Smith led the team with two carries for 4 yards, Steve McNair completed three of five passes for just 10 yards and tight end Daniel Wilcox led all receivers with two catches for six yards.
There was no questioning the strength of the Ravens defense are Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs. Both of them had four tackles in the first quarter.
For the second straight week, Childress lost a challenge. He may have been persuaded by boisterous fans who thought Marcus Robinson got both feet down for a 32-yard touchdown. The referees upheld the out-of-bounds call made on the field and the Vikings would eventually come away empty on the drive when Longwell missed a 40-yard field goal.
Fason sustained a collarbone injury in the first quarter on his first play of the game – a five-yard reception on a screen pass. He was hit by safety Dawan Landry. He didn't return and has an MRI scheduled for today.
The Vikings crowd noise, despite thousands of fans disguised as blue seats, was loud enough to force the Ravens to burn a time out on their first drive. McNair followed up the stoppage of play with an incompletion and killed the first drive of the game for Baltimore. Confusion and noise also contributed to the Ravens having to take a time out on their second drive as well. Childress said of the noise, "That's the Metrodome I've come to know over the years."
With Jamal Lewis shut down for the remainder of the preseason, the Ravens rewarded the strong training camp of Musa Smith by leapfrogging him above Mike Anderson and making him the starter.
On the Ravens' first drive of the game, Vikings linebacker Napoleon Harris was flagged for a taunting penalty – the first penalty against the Vikings defense during the entire preseason. The first legitimate penalty on the defense came on a 19-yard pass interference penalty on Antoine Winfield in the second quarter with three minutes to play.
Ryan Longwell's field goal in the game's first four minutes was the first time the Vikings have scored first during the preseason.
The Vikings have won the coin toss in each of their three preseason games.
Three Vikings did not dress for the game — Mewelde Moore (knee), Kevin Kasper (ankle) and Charles Gordon (knee).
Five Ravens were de-activated for the game – running back Jamal Lewis, safeties Gerome Sapp and B.J. Ward, guard Brian Rimpf and wide receiver Matt Cherry.
Friday's game was the first preseason meeting in the history of the Vikings and Ravens.
Former Viking Walker Lee Ashley was part of the pregame introductions, driving a snowmobile onto the field as the player representative for the ceremonial introductions. After a harrowing ride for an unlucky Vikings cheerleader with VU's own Bob Lurtsema during the Oakland game, Ashley took the field sans cheerleader in tow.
The Vikings captains for the game were Chester Taylor, Marcus Robinson and Antoine Winfield.
The Vikings refrained from the standard player introductions; instead, the team opted to announce the entire team without individuals being highlighted.
The announced paid attendance was 63,257 – the 86th straight sellout at the Metrodome dating back to 1998.