This game boiled down to who would make the least amount of mistakes and unfortunately, it wasn’t us. Upon first watch, the game looked like a mess but the second viewing changed that completely.
Here’s what I saw:
Running game: Dunn (22/55), Norwood (5/33) and Harrington (1/8). Impact Runs (4 yards or more)-Dunn, 6; Norwood, 2 and Harrington, 1. Dunn also had 4 catches for 26 yards and Norwood had 2 for 24 late in the game.
Breakdown of passes:
Harrington: 23/32, 199 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 6 bad passes, 2 drops and 1 pass defended. Joey missed some opportunities at the line to use play action to his advantage and also missed on a couple of passes that could have extended drives. His last INT was a result of a dropped pass. All in all, not horrible but a solid mediocre if there can be such a thing.
Drops (2): Jenkins 2 (2).
Run blocking: Upon first watch, it’s very hard to understand why the backs aren’t getting yards and the natural tendency would be to blame the back. The second viewing showed that often times the short gains or losses were a result of a missed block, a bad choice (example would be Forney having a choice between 2 LBs and choosing the wrong one), or a missed opportunity to change the play by Harrington. There were a couple of opportunities that Harrington had 9 in the box in front of him and a play action deep pass would either get 6 points or at least back them off the line a bit.
Pass blocking: Protection was very inconsistent. Sometimes it was good and others downright horrible. This definitely has to improve.
Sack responsibility (6): First sack was a scheme sack. There were a couple of double teams and Gandy was left with two guys. He chose the inside man and the outside man got the sack. Had he chosen the outside guy, the inside guy would have gotten there quicker as he had a straight line. Second sack was a result of Norwood not picking up Henderson on a delayed LB blitz. The third sack goes to Gandy getting beat off the edge. The fourth was a result of Forney getting beat by an inside move. The fifth sack was on Harrington for holding it too long and the final sack was on Weiner.
YTD Sacks (6):
Note: QB responsible sacks are those that he has at least 3 seconds and either chose to try to scramble or stayed in the pocket when the better decision would be to throw it away. Also includes those rushing attempts that go for 0 or negative yardage that for some reason are counted as a sack.
Run defense: The line was really gashed up the middle. Babineaux and Jackson got pushed into Brooking consistently all day. Fortunately, the defense stepped up to prevent points for 3 and a half quarters.
Pass Defense: Overall not bad but Williams was late in over the top help on at least 2 plays, 1 of which was a big completion. The biggest breakdown in coverage falls on Boley and the screen pass that broke the game wide open. There was also an unfortunate no call for holding on D. Hall on that play. Rice clearly was holding Hall’s arm and preventing him from making an attempted tackle.
Sacks: NONE. There was pressure at times but no official hurries either.
Jennings had 5 kickoff returns: 1. from the 1, 21 yards; 2. from the 1, 32 yards; 3. from the 3, 23 yards; 4. from the 4, 20 yards; and 5. from the 11, 3 yards. 1 really nice return, 3 average returns and the 3 yard return was on a squib kick. Solid day.
Jennings also had punt returns for -1 and for 2 yards. The -1 was on the 4 and shouldn’t have been fielded as it most likely would have made it to the endzone. Not good on the limited opportunties.
Koenen had 5 punts: 1-53 yards to the MIN 9, 13 yard return. 2-51 yards to the MIN 36, 7 yard return. 3-46 yards to MIN 13, no return. 4-40 yards to the MIN 9, no return. 5-44 yards to the MIN 42, no return. Very nice day punting. It could have been better but Harris downed punt #4 a bit early.
Kickoffs: Prater had 2 kickoffs: 1- to the 3, 22 yard return. 2- to the back of the endzone, touchback. No complaints at all.
Field Goals: Prater hit 1/2. Good from 45 and missed a 44 yarder. If he gets consistent, he’ll be a very good kicker for a long time.
Special Teams coverage: For the most part was good but did breakdown somewhat on the opening kickoff and the first punt. Chris Houston led the way with 2 tackles.
Things that really need improvement:
1. Offensive line needs to make correct reads in who they block in run blocking and pass blocking.
2. Harrington needs to be more consistent.
3. Middle rush defense has to be able to hold at point of attack.
Offensive MVP: Jerious Norwood
Defensive MVP: Deangelo Hall (1 tackle, 1 INT, 1 Pass defended) and Lewis Sanders (4 tackles, 1 pass defended)
Special Teams MVP: Michael Koenen
Goat of the Week: Offensive line as everyone messed up at some point or another.
Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:
Next up: AT Jacksonville, September 16th!