Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE
For the third consecutive week, the statistics didn't do Christian Ponder justice. While this has generally has meant that he either performed better than or worse than his statistics would imply, it means both in this case. His positives weren't represented in the traditional statistics, but his negatives aren't captured by the gamebooks.
Once again, Christian Ponder got lucky with a few "almost interceptions" where the ball hit the defender's hands and should have been returned, but was not. Vikings fans have seen this of Ponder from the first week.
Along with two near-misses, Ponder also threw two interceptions, both of which seemed uglier than they actually were. Christian Ponder claims that his interceptions were not a result of bad decisions, just bad throws.
He's right—both passes could have gone in for touchdowns. One needed to be thrown higher over the defender to hit the receiver on the crossing route, and the other was too high and behind Kyle Rudolph before being tipped.
A near miss to Jerome Simpson could be interpreted as a forced ball, but the window was there; he just didn't put enough zip on the ball.
The reason this is important is because poor decision making is a difficult thing to correct, but better throws are not. Ponder has shown the ability to make these throws before, and just needs to make sure that he improves ball placement and corrects for proper arm strength.
He led several drives into the red zone, something he didn't do against the Lions. Two of them ended with touchdowns, including one gutsy throw to Kyle Rudolph to finish off the game in the fourth quarter.
Ponder did what he had to do in order to win the game, even if it looked ugly sometimes. While he got away with more than he should have, he still keeps making better decisions from game to game, and is a critical part of the team winning.