Racketeering Bowl I — Vikings vs. Browns Sunday


Vikings lose again, this time a heartbreaker, 31-30 at Chicago last Sunday. Bears tight end Martellus Bennett grabbed the game-winning touchdown of 16 yards from quarterback Jay Cutler with 10 seconds left to push the Vikings into an 0-2 hole.

No team that started 0-2 has made the playoffs in the NFL since 2007, so the Vikings had better get busy. Not only are the Vikings 0-2, they are 0-2 in the Division to Detroit and Chicago,

The Bears celebrate their victory in the end zone. Photo by Steve Floyd
The Bears celebrate their victory in the end zone.
Photo by Steve Floyd

two teams that missed the playoffs and that they finished ahead of last year.

Leading 30-24 and settling for a Blair Walsh field goal with three minutes left after failing to finish the Bears off, the Vikings allowed the Bears to march 66 yards right down their throat to win it with 10 seconds left.

To finish first, you must first finish. The Vikings again did not finish. They did many good things Sunday: They started fast, got the lead, and won the turnover ratio 4-3. Adrian Peterson

ran for 100 yards. They made big plays.

They scored on the game’s opening kickoff when rookie Cordarrelle Patterson raced 105 yards for a touchdown. They even scored a 61-yard defensive touchdown when defensive end Brian Robison scooped up a fumble

forced by Jared Allen’s sack of Cutler. However, they just continue to make too many mistakes at critical times to win ball games.

If they figure that out sooner rather than later, maybe they can save their season. Quarterback Christian Ponder threw an interception for a touchdown of 44 yards; seldom do you win when that happens. It gave the Bears a 21-14 lead in the first half. Peterson had a costly fumble.

Also, the Vikings did not do enough on offense to win. When your Pro Bowl kicker Blair Walsh kicks three short field goals of 28, 28 and 22 yards, that means you failed in the red zone to score touchdowns. Drives stall. That’s what it means to finish — the Bears finished off the Vikings by driving with the game on the line to win it.

I can’t put my finger on it, but this team seems to keep waiting for something to happen. Maybe they expect Peterson, the MVP Mr. 2,000 yards, to take his cape off and save them. Maybe they expect Ponder to deliver more in the passing game. When you score 30 points and lose, you have big problems and you can’t just point fingers at Ponder.

This week, the final regular-season home-opener at Mall of America Field (the Metrodome), the 0-2 Cleveland Browns are coming to town. It’s also the much-anticipated embarrassment match-up of NFL owners Jimmy Haslem of Cleveland and Zygi, Mark and Leonard Wilf of the Vikings.

It’s could be called the Racketeering Bowl. Both owners have been charged and accused of fraud and racketeering either by the FBI or a district judge for shady, corrupt business practices. Get ready, this could get ugly — an NFL first.


Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.


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