OK, so more info after I watched the 2 big runs:Falcons34 wrote: I agree that the injuries on the offensive line may be a key worry but maybe those guys will bounce back soon.
- On the Newton run the defensive end in the area where Newton ran is Griffen. He blew it. He walked it inside against the guy blocking him and then went for Stewart, who didn't have the ball. The guy blocking him released him inside and let him take himself right out of the play. Great ball fake on the part of Newton to sell that, but Griffen is normally much more disciplined than that. It was that sort of day for the defense across the board to be honest - guys who normally don't get out of position and make a lot of mental errors got out of position and made mental errors.
- On the Stewart run, the Vikes stayed in their base defense while the Panthers loaded it up with big boys in basically a goal line lineup. I don't think the Vikings were necessarily outmatched because of this, but it sure would have been nice had Zimmer's defense put a safety in reserve. It is 3rd-and-1 and I understand why they'd want to be aggressive, but it should be a lot more difficult than that for any offense to score a TD on what is designed to be a short yardage run.
I said it during and after the game, but from where I sat it looked like the Vikings defensive players just weren't prepared. I suppose that sort of thing can happen after 3 weeks on the road against good teams, but that was not the defense I've come to expect from this team over the course of the season. Even more frustrating, they didn't play terrible the entire game - they just had a few lapses that really killed them.
This Vikings team has never staked this season on the offense. What they've gotten from the offense has been gravy, but this season started with that defense and will end with it. Hopefully getting back to Minneapolis will help them settle down and get back to playing fundamentally sound for 60 minutes.