Week 8 Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings 13, Carolina Panthers 38
What you need to know
This Vikings’ season may have gone from bad to worse with the injury to Daunte Culpepper. After last week’s tremendous comeback by Minnesota led by Culpepper it appeared perhaps things were improving for the Vikings. Culpepper left the game in the final play of the first quarter after scrambling for an 18 yard gain. Carolina defensive backs’ Minter and Gamble simultaneously hit Culpepper at the knee and the shoulder/head area causing an awkward bend of the right knee. Coach Tice comments and post game reports are clear that the news isn’t good for Culpepper and Vikings fans. Fox Sports is reporting Monday that sources close to the team are saying Culpepper has suffered damage to his ACL, PCL, and MCL ligaments and his season is over.
Minnesota’s defensive woes continued this week with costly penalties, poor tackling, no turnovers plus an invisible pass rush. They had two defensive offside penalties on Carolina’s first drive, one of them was declined. Fred Smoot was called for four penalties in a game and was embarrassed throughout by Panthers WR Steve Smith. Minnesota was called for ten penalties in the game.
Mewelde Moore scored his first rushing touchdown of his career on a four yard burst over left guard. Moore saw most of the carries again this week over Bennett and Williams although his numbers were less than spectacular at 30 rushing and one receiving. He was taken out of the game with the Vikings falling behind early again and managed just three carries in the second half.
Minnesota’s wide receiver and kick returner, Koren Robinson suffered a concussion just before halftime on a kick return and was relieved by Troy Williamson. Robinson did not return to the game.
The Vikings dropped to 0-4 on the road this season and have been outscored by their opponents 133 to 34 in those games. Minnesota is 9-32 away from the Metrodome since October 2000 and has won just three times outdoors under head coach Mike Tice.
Steve Smith dominated the game from the outset on his way to a career game for the Carolina receiver. Smith set a career and franchise record with 201 receiving yards in a game. He beat Fred Smoot all over the field and was consistently open for Delhomme. Smith was able to juke away from Smoot at the line of scrimmage and pull away with his speed getting downfield for several of his receptions, including a 69 yard catch on a simple go route. He left Smoot hanging his head in the fourth quarter when Smoot left with an apparent shoulder injury.
Delhomme had plenty of time in the pocket and was able to pick apart the Vikings’ defense for 341 yards and three touchdowns. He was flawless in the game on his way to his seventh career 300 plus yard game. Delhomme completed six passes for 20 or more yards including a 25 yard touchdown to Keary Colbert. Even with his success passing to Smith, Delhomme managed to spread the ball around to eight different receivers.
Although Stephen Davis rushed for just 40 yards in the game he did find the end zone twice in the game. Davis now has nine rushing touchdown on the season, the most he has had since the 2000 season with the Redskins.
Carolina scored on a touchdown in each of their four possessions in the red zone. The Panthers dominated the time of possession aided by six possessions of more than eight plays in the game. The only blemish in the game for Carolina was a John Kasay 56 yard field goal attempt that fell short of the crossbar.
Carolina had an astounding 27 first downs in the game with 16 of those from the passing game. The Panthers tallied 452 total yards against a vulnerable Minnesota defense.
What you ought to know
|QB Brad Johnson, Pass: 13 - 28 - 162 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 30 - 0|
Johnson came in to start the second quarter after the injury to Culpepper. He looked rusty and it did not help that the offensive line provided him little time to find his targets. Several of his incomplete passes were caused by the defensive pressure and not allowing him to step and follow through with his arm, thus overthrowing his intended target. Johnson completed 13 of 28 passes for 162 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. He also managed to scramble for 30 yards when flushed from the pocket. With the season ending injury to Culpepper, Johnson will be expected to take over as quarterback and provide his veteran leadership.
After a remarkable turnaround last week in the second half for Culpepper and a come from behind win, it seemed he may have turned the corner on a disappointing season. Culpepper started the first series under pressure as Carolina blitzed on three straight plays and forced a punt. He got things going in the second possession completing three of four passes for 28 yards and into Panthers’ territory with the offense show signs of last week. Unfortunately, on his only rushing attempt of the game, Culpepper ran for 18 yards into the red zone and was hit by two Carolina defenders from opposite sides. Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble hit Culpepper on the right knee as safety Mike Minter up high coming from the left side awkwardly bending the right knee. Culpepper was helped off the field to the sidelines before being taken to the locker room to be examined. Fox Sports is reporting he suffered damage to his ACL, PCL and MCL ligaments and will have season ending surgery.
Moore’s numbers were way down from a week ago when he produced 105 total yards and a receiving touchdown. This week he finished with 30 rushing yards on nine carries, one catch for one yard and a rushing touchdown. Moore put Minnesota on the board with a four yard touchdown run on the opening possession of the second half. The touchdown by Moore was the first rushing touchdown of his young career.
|RB Moe Williams, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 3 - 16 - 0 (7 targets)|
Williams finished the game with three receptions for 16 yards and one carry for no gain. One of his catches was for a five yard loss.
Bennett was not used very often in the game for Minnesota as Moore saw most of the carries. He ended the day with just two carries for six yards. Bennett showed his quickness getting to the outside for a six yard gain but the play was nullified because of a holding penalty.
Robinson caught four passes for 77 yards and a touchdown and was by far the most productive receiver for the Vikings. For the second consecutive week Robinson has found the end zone. His longest catch of the game went for 45 yards before he was tackled at the Panthers’ four yard line. Robinson’s touchdown came on a fourth and one from the Carolina five as he broke open in the back of the end zone on a corner route for a five yard touchdown catch.
Taylor did not catch a pass until the second half and had just two catches in the game. He had a nice 15 yard reception that put the Vikings in a first a goal situation. His other reception was a short two yard completion in the third quarter.
Burleson caught his only pass of the game in the first quarter just prior to the Culpepper injury. He also had a rushing attempt on an end around that went for a loss of two yards.
Williamson caught his one and only reception for 36 yards from Johnson on the Vikings final drive of the game. Later on that same drive he was an end zone target for Johnson but the pass was well overthrown. Williamson replaced Koren Robinson on kick returns after Robinson suffered a concussion.
Wiggins struggled this week after a couple of productive games finishing with just 36 yards on three receptions. He did have an end zone target on fourth and goal but could not hold on to the ball as it defected off his hands.
Kleinsasser had just one catch for one yard in the game and spent most of the game as a blocker helping protect Culpepper and Johnson.
After last weeks heroic 56 yards game winner against Green Bay, Edinger failed to make his only field goal attempt from 33 yards away pushing the ball wide right. He did make his only extra point attempt as the Vikings elected to go for the two point conversion on their second touchdown.
The Vikings’ rush defense played very well considering they held Carolina to less than three yards per carry. They allowed a total of 111 yards and two short touchdown runs on 39 rushing attempts by Carolina.
The Minnesota pass defense was embarrassed and shredded for the second straight week allowing 341 yards passing and three touchdowns. Cornerback Fred Smoot was victimized by the passing combination of Delhomme to Smith throughout the game. The Vikings did not record a turnover or a sack for the second consecutive week.
|QB Jake Delhomme, Pass: 21 - 30 - 341 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0|
Delhomme had his way with the Vikings’ defense and made it look easy completing 21 of 30 pass attempts for 341 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. His offensive line gave him plenty of time in the pocket and eliminated the Vikings pass rush allowing him to find his receivers often wide open. Although Steve Smith was Delhomme’s favorite target throughout the game he did spread the ball around to eight different receivers. Delhomme’s touchdown passes were from 13, one and 25 yards away to Smith, Mangum and Colbert. His 341 passing yards marked the seventh time in his career he has thrown for over 300 yards in a game. Delhomme recorded six passes of 20 or more yards in the game. This was Delhomme’s best performance of the year as he prepares for next week’s division showdown at Tampa Bay.
|QB Chris Weinke, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - -4 - 0|
Weinke came in to relieve Delhomme with the game out of reach and threw one incomplete pass and took a knee three times to run of the clock.
Davis continued his very productive season with two touchdowns in the game. Despite rushing 17 times for just 40 yards Davis was effective on pounding the ball inside and third and short attempts for the first down. His touchdown runs of seven and one yard brought his season total to nine touchdowns the most in his career since the 2000 season. Davis did leave the field in the first quarter after Vikings’ nose tackle Pat Williams fell on Davis’ right knee. He was able to walk off the field and returned on the next Carolina possession.
Foster was back on the field for Carolina after missing the game against Detroit with a knee injury. He was the leading rusher for Carolina with 51 yards on 12 carries but no touchdowns. Foster had one catch for eight yards out of the backfield. He did have an end zone target in the second quarter but he was clearly covered by a Minnesota defender. Foster did show good speed and was not afraid to fight for extra yardage in the trenches despite playing with pain in his right knee.
Goings had five carries for 20 yards in the game. All of his rushing attempts came in the fourth quarter relieving Davis and Foster with the game in control.
Hoover had just one carry for two yards and was not a factor in the running game.
Smith set career and team records with 201 receiving yards in the game. He humiliated the Vikings’ pass defense, mostly cornerback Fred Smoot, on his was to the record setting afternoon. Smith beat Smoot on short passes, medium and deep attempts and left the Vikings’ defender shaking his head. He finished the game with 11 receptions for 201 and a touchdown. Smith’s touchdown went for 13 yards as he beat Smoot to the inside on a slant pattern that left him open for the score. He was close to scoring on two other opportunities, once when he was ruled down at the one yard line when his knee touched and a second when Smoot was called for a penalty and Smith was wide open with no defender in sight but the pass was overthrown.
Proehl saw limited action coming in to relieve Steve Smith for a few plays during the game. He did have two catches in the game for 18 yards, both going for Carolina first downs.
Colbert caught his first touchdown of the season on a 25 yard strike from Delhomme in the fourth quarter. He split two defenders on a slant pattern towards the post and Delhomme threw a perfect pass for the score. Colbert finished the game with two receptions for 32 yards and a score.
Gardner had just one catch in the first half for seven yards and was not a factor in the passing game.
Gaines, normally the third string tight end, had two receptions in the game for gains of 38 and 29 yards. Both times Gaines found himself in one-on-one coverage against a linebacker and was able to get behind the defender in both instances.
Mangum did not see a lot of action in the game and had just one target. However, that one target was a one yard touchdown catch in the third quarter that put the game out of reach.
Kasay was a perfect five for five on extra points in the game. He was one of two on field goal attempts missing on a 56 yards attempt that just did not have enough distance and fell short of the upright but he did make his 44 yard attempt.
The Panthers’ rush defense played decent allowing 82 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown. However, of those 82 yards rushing, 48 yards came from the Minnesota quarterback’s scrambling. The touchdown was just the four rushing touchdown allowed by Carolina this season.
The Panthers’ pass defense played solid allowing 190 yards and one touchdown. They held Minnesota to a 50% completion rate but were unable to record an interception. Carolina did record four sacks in the game. Defensive end Julius Peppers played with a broken right hand but was not effective and was noticeably unable to use his right hand while pass rushing and tackling.