In re-watching the tape of the Vikings' 24-17 loss to San Diego on Sunday, it is clear that the defense played a very good game — for most of it, anyway. The special teams were excellent — no complaints there. And Adrian Peterson, facing eight-man boxes on first and second downs all day, was excellent in his limited touches.
Everyone else was bad. No other way to say it.
The easy and convenient place to start is Donovan McNabb. Fine, let's start with him. His first pass, a designed run, turned into a failed option route that was picked off. To say it was doomed from the start is understating it. He also underthrew Bernard Berrian on a deep pass, couldn't throw from within the pocket and completed one pass for two yards in the second half.
Yes, it was pretty ugly. But plenty of others failed to step up.
OTs Charlie Johnson and Phil Loadholt failed to protect McNabb or run-block effectively in the second half. The interior wasn't much better; it looked slow at times.
Berrian barely made his presence felt, outside of one nice block on Peterson's long run. Harvin was taken out of the game after his kick return. Michael Jenkins had a few grabs early but was forgotten thereafter. And where were the tight ends? This is supposed to be a team strength.
It was not just the offense, either.
Yes, the defense was game for three quarters. But there were mistakes, too.
DT Letroy Guion, filling in for Kevin Williams in his first start, did nothing until he cost his team a chance at the end with two silly penalties. The ends, Jared Allen and Brian Robison, were great, but where was the rest of this group?
There were some big plays in the back seven, but the tackling overall was not consistent. It's nice to see the Vikings blitzing more, but they have to finish plays off.
The Buccaneers are a young team with talent, but they are not unbeatable by any stretch. The Lions diced them up early with the passing game and beat them down in the second half with the run.
If the Vikings want to win Sunday, it will have to be more of a team effort. The defense, special teams and Peterson can't do the heavy lifting every week.