Comprehending Sunday Night’s Thriller

I only saw two games Sunday, and both turned out to be ones worth seeing.  Work screwed up my usual football day; I missed every early game and most of the afternoon slate.  However, since Cardinals games are big events in my household, we watched the game on a delay.

It was a really good win by Arizona.  We needed that after Week 1’s embarrassment.  It was evident that Jamies Winston was majorly affected by Arizona’s defensive looks as he threw four interceptions.  I was expecting this game to be a fight like Week 1.  But it turns out that, while Tampa Bay is still a very good team, they’re not on the same level as the best teams in the NFC.

Sunday night was a treat, and a strange one to.  I thought, since there was so many storylines coming out of that game, that I’d just do a whole column on it.

Here are some questions and observations from the game

There’s no way Sam Bradford gets better than that, right?

That was the best game of Bradford’s career.  It was mind boggling that he played well, but even more stunning against a defense as good as Green Bay’s.  Bradford threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns, with Stefan Diggs catching most of his passes.

We could be looking at a strange offensive scheme in Minnesota, one where the wide receivers and running backs actually make the quarterback better, not the other way around.  Good QBs always make their weapons better.  Just look at New England and New Orleans.  Bradford doesn’t make them worse, they make him better.  Its ballsy to say this after the best game of his career, but maybe this phenomena is a toast to Bradford’s crappiness.

I’m making fun of him too much.  He did make some really solid throws, but I wouldn’t say Green Bay’s defense was playing at their best.  Damarious Randall had numerous missed assignments, and gave up a massive penalty that essentially clinched the game for the Vikings.

What role did the football gods have in this game?

Quite a large one!  Part of my explanation for this game is just a theory at this point, its really not based on anything specific from the game itself.  Too much weird stuff happened.

As crappy as the Packers played, they still had a ton of bad luck.  Sam Bradford was lights out.  When has that ever happened?  Minnesota was opening a new stadium.  Tons of energy was in the building due to rowdy fans.  That can be attributed to some of the offensive issues.  Oh, and Aaron Rodgers made a mistake when it mattered most.  When has that ever happened?  Perhaps the other Green Bay turnovers were foreshadowing that one.  Its hard to change game trends in the NFL, at least without explanation, unlike college football.

It just wasn’t a good situation for the Packers Sunday night.  I think its one of those games where, if its played ten times, Green Bay wins seven of them.  Sunday night is one of the three that Minnesota wins.

Everything was going perfect for Minnesota until Adrian Peterson couldn’t put any weight on his right leg.  Turns out, AP’s absence didn’t affect Minnesota at all Sunday night.  I know, its amazing to think that Sam Bradford played that well.

But, its now known that Peterson has a torn meniscus.  Part of this theory is that, for the cost of AP, the Vikings were awarded a win against their biggest rival to open their stadium and were blessed with Sam Bradford’s best game ever.  So congrats, Vikings fans!

Is Minnesota this year’s Denver?

Its looking more and more likely.  But there’s a lot of teams who could be this year’s Denver.  In fact, Denver could be this year’s Denver!  The Broncos are getting around the same quality of quarterback play they did last year.  Still, the defense is winning them games.  Its that good.

The Patriots are in a similar situation, but we all know thats gonna change in two weeks.  Houston isn’t even getting average quarterback play (I’ve thought Brock Osweiler has been terrible so far this year.  He’s under throwing balls and making poor decisions.), but their defense is good enough to win them games.

Minnesota’s defense isn’t quite what Denver’s was last year, but its getting closer.  The Vikings defensive line is super underrated; they have gotten great push on almost every snap this season.  If they can disrupt Green Bay’s offense, then they can disrupt anyone’s.

I guess its becoming less inconceivable for them to make the playoffs.  The problem is that thats as good as Bradford is gonna get.  If anything, he’s gonna get injured or slowly decline throughout the rest of the season.

The good news though, is that its early and we know what this team is already.  Identity is key, and if you have it early, you’re in good shape.

Tampa Bay doesn’t have identity yet.  They’ve looked great and dreadful.

If these end up being the two teams for the last NFC playoff spot, then its gonna be a tossup.