Well, that was embarrassing.
Some NUGS THAT BUG after the 27-6 thrashing at the hands of the rookie QB-led Buffalo Bills.
-Per ESPN's Courtney Cronin (a Monday guest, by the way), referencing Elias, the 6 total rushing attempts by the Vikings offense ties a record for the FEWEST ever in a single game in NFL history....OK, so I know the game got negative early. I know that Dalvin was inactive...But Cousins was getting tee'd off on by the Bills defensive front, was under pressure all day, Bills DE Jerry Hughes DESTROYING Riley Reiff, etc...seems like trying to mix in some run plays might help relieve some pressure on a clearly struggling Oline...a total of 4 handoffs to RBs all day, the final one with about 6:30 left in the 2nd quarter, with a couple Kirk scrambles thrown in there as well......
-Another potentially O-Line related NUG THAT BUGs: Cousins was 40-55 for 296yds....5.4 yards per attempt...this screams 2016 and Sam Bradford...no time, no chance, no hope...72% completion is sweet for Kirk, and Bradford set a completion % record in 2016, while the team went 3-8 after the Bye to finish 8-8.
-How about one more O-Line related NUG THAT BUGs? Kirk has been sacked 9 times through 3 games, which sets a pace of 48 for the season (would be a career high for Cousins). Case Keenum was sacked 9 times in the first 11 games he played last season...I'm sure Kirk is having visions of the putrid OLine he played behind in Washington last year, when he was clobbered 41 times. I'd love to blame him for holding onto the ball, but he was getting no time.
-Josh Allen's 39 rushing yards? A NUG THAT BUGs. Last year, the Vikings defense was very good at containing mobile quarterbacks in the pocket...Danielle Hunter was employed to do this several times last year, and I look at the Tampa Bay Bucs game as an example...Jameis Winston liked to wander around, scramble a little bit, and Danielle spent most of the game pushing him back into the garbage and forcing him to win with perfect throws...Vikings picked him 3 times and it was 28-3 Vikings before Winston and Tampa found the endzone. It seems that while Allen certainly got smacked around today(sacked 3 times, hit a few more times), it was very easy for him to step up, allow the rush to be pushed by him, and grab a fat chunk on the ground...Two rushing scores for him as a cherry on top. Oh, and he bleeping hurdled Anthony Barr.
-Punter Matt Wile's stats in general (5 punts for 51.8 avg and a long of 70) ---- Those are simply misleading. He had a 31 yard punt (21 after a super-weird holding penalty on Kevin McDermott), he had a 39 yarder the next possession...the "70" yard punt he had was actually about 40, with the return man mistakenly letting it bounce and it traveled an extra 30ish yards(he had a 60yd boot later under similar circumstances)...he had a 58 yard punt, his BEST LOOKING kick of the day, and it was a touchback, so net 38. No offense to Matt, but the kicks aren't very good. So, I just can't imagine how bad Ryan Quigley must have looked in the preseason that the team let him go(had ZERO touchbacks in 2017 by the way) in favor of Mr Wile.............The Special Teams unit is just poor overall right now, from the kicker kerfuffle, to miscues in return game, the blocked punt last week, a muffed punt by Hughes today, etc. It's all bad.
-The list could be longer, but I'll end with this --- Bills TE Jason Croom had 4 catches for 25 yards coming into the game(his first season out of Tennessee). He reeled in his only target for a wide open 26 yard touchdown today. This defense isn't aggressive enough right now, and there are some massive communication clomps among what is supposed to be the elite of units in the league. It was George Kittle in the Niners game with 90 yards (FB Kyle Juszczyk had a catch n run for 50+ in that game, too). TE Jimmy Graham got loose uncovered a couple times in the Packers game last week....and now it's guys like Jason Croom and RB Chris Ivory today (Ivory went for 55 after leaking out of the backfield and was wide open in a spot as Eric Kendricks was vacating the space). Opposing pass catchers are running around with miles of space around them. That's a problem. My eyes tell me that rookie corner Mike Hughes is making a couple mistakes every game, and they might be big ones. Mac Alexander isn't getting better, Terence Newman retired and Trae Waynes suffered an injury today....have to dig deeper into this, but it's a NUG THAT BUGS!!!
Hopefully this is a wakeup call for a tremendously talented team. Excited for #92Noon tomorrow. But for now, goodnight.