The Minnesota Vikings had no chance against the Houston Texans on Sunday — until they started playing the game. Sunday’s trap game for the Texans was yet another example of why we should pay little attention to stats on paper and wait for the actual game to make our judgements.
Houston was looking to lock up home field advantage with a win, but they came out flat, stale and uninspired against Minnesota. The big story was all about Adrian Peterson and his quest for Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record. But even that was something on paper that we were looking forward to that didn’t pan out, as while Peterson didn’t have a bad day, he only managed 86 yards and was kept out of the end zone.
The game snapped a streak Peterson had of 8 straight games with 100 or more rushing yards.
But it was the guy no one gave credit to that stepped up and sucker punched the Texans in the mouth. Christian Ponder is the most polarizing figures in Minnesota, but he shrugged off the criticism and led the Vikings to a huge upset in his home state.
Houston kept Peterson in check, but lost the war by letting Ponder go for 174 yards and a touchdown. But more importantly they allowed Ponder to control the game and the time of possession, which ended up being a gigantic 10 minute difference.
The game quickly got out of hand as Minnesota jumped up to a 10-3 lead and everything snowballed from there. With the game 22-6 late in the fourth quarter, Matt Schaub was pulled in favor of T.J. Yates as Houston had clearly conceded the game and began looking to lock up home field in Indianapolis next week.
Major props go to the Vikings, who have now toppled the second Super Bowl contending team they’ve faced this year. Earlier this season they upset the San Francisco 49ers in Minneapolis and now have gone on the road to thrash the Texans in Houston. Minnesota now needs to win next week against the Packers and have the Giants lose to the Ravens this week to clinch a playoff berth.
And not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but the hype about the NFL playoffs is that all you need to do is get hot to win. If you don’t think the Vikings are white hot after winning their third straight game, you must be watching a different team.