December 14, 2009
Most fans will note the 20-point margin or the fact that "All Day" Peterson and the Vikes' offensive line were able to resuscitate the running game that was comatose the week before.
Considering that the Bengals were one of the best teams in the NFL in scoring and rushing defense coming into the game, those are no small feats.
But the most important achievement by the team this weekend was to reverse last week's flat performance against the Cardinals, during which the team suffered not only a loss on the scoreboard, but the emotional loss of MLB and defensive pillar EJ Henderson.
Bouncing back from adversity is not something that shows up in stat sheets or ESPN highlights. But it's one of the prerequisites for a team to go far in the postseason. As fans, we are drawn to freakish talent, offensive firepower, and devastating hits laid by defensive studs. But every team encounters difficulties and must be able to scrape itself off the pavement and move on.
Even the luckiest, most talent-laden team with the most impressive stats and a 16-0 record in the regular season, can't rely only on luck and talent in the postseason.
Every team that wants to go far in the playoffs has to be hot going into the postseason. The very last thing you want is a losing streak in December.
Prior to the loss to the Cards, Brad Childress had 14 losing "streaks," seven of which lasted exactly one game. That means seven of the streaks were 2 games or longer.
Based on history, we really did not know what to expect of the Vikings after going flat in Arizona. It was a 50-50 shot that the losing ways would end at one, or continue on to further depths.
One of the most overused truths in the NFL is to never look past an opponent,and to take it one game at a time. Certainly beating Cincinnati, going 1-0 this week, was better than losing. A record of 11-2 is better than 10-3.
But the real significance of the victory was to bounce back from adversity. In years past, Vikes fans really didn't know what to expect after a loss, or when to expect a turnaround. Dominating a likely playoff team in the Bengals, who'd won five of their previous six games, sends a clear message to fans: This year is different.
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