Falcons' offensive momentum derailed in loss to Vikings

Ruben Hill
December 7, 2017

After the Falcons' disappointing loss to the Vikings on Sunday, there was plenty of blame to go around.

With the win and Detroit's loss to Baltimore, the Vikings took a four-game lead in the NFC North. They're going to be where they need to be. They've won five straight road games, something they haven't done since 1974, when the Vikings went to the Super Bowl.

"Honestly I'd be fine with throwing 87 yards if we win them all", Hundley said. After holding Atlanta to one conversion in 10 attempts, the Vikings' defense is allowing conversions on only 27.21 percent of third-down plays. He's literally carrying the Seahawks offense on his own. "To come out here and do what we can and get it done is huge, especially for this team in the direction we're trying to go". While that typically means something bad is about to happen, this Vikings team has shown that it's capable of overcoming adversity and so little by little I'm starting to lose that feeling and I think that a lot of you are too.

The Vikings should believe in themselves. Lots and lots of them, just like those for the Purple People Eaters. They lost 28-23 to Philadelphia in a Week 6 Thursday night game at home and 31-21 to New Orleans on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Without the benefit of a sack to derail a possession or a turnover to end one, the Vikings kept the Falcons out of the end zone for the first time since December 13, 2015.

I'm watching "Good Morning Football" on the NFL Network and they seem to admit something that I've been talking about for awhile and that's that people have been not only sleeping on the Vikes this year, but basically ignoring them.

Back after missing three games with a right shoulder injury, Winston fumbled on a sack by Kenny Clark in the second quarter. That flipped the field, leading to a Falcons three-and-out and a 53-yard touchdown drive for the Vikings. Keenum has been sacked just nine times this season, and Zimmer said after Sunday's game he didn't know at the start of the season that Keenum was so mobile.

The entire Vikings Nation should believe in this defense, which is among the top few in the league. The Falcons were riding a three-game winning streak and coming off back-to-back 34-point games. Ryan was held to 173 yards passing and no touchdowns. Minnesota's top corner, held Jones to two catches for 24 yards and no touchdowns after he was targeted six times.

"Xavier did a great job", Zimmer said, "but I think all guys on the back end (the secondary) did a great job". Put another way: When you hold the league's fourth-best offense to 14 points, you've done your job. The Falcons converted just 1 of 10 third downs Sunday.

So. While this team has been getting credit on our site for awhile (I've only picked them to lose once and that was against the Packers earlier this year, after the Steelers game and after knowing Bradford was done (we picked the Steelers victor before hearing that Bradford was not going to play)), it is time to start talking about the playoffs and what we think of this team's chances. Take, for instance, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was last year's NFL Most Valuable Player, and he has flashed signs in recent weeks of resembling that guy again.

-Defensively, the Vikings also rank No. 1 on third down. But the defense couldn't hold up in overtime for the last-place Buccaneers (4-8).

Keenum completed his last 15 passes, including 13 in the second half.

Yes, Keenum, who is a legit MVP candidate, was his usual efficient self; he finished 25 of 30 for 227 yards with two scores and no turnovers.

The ground game, led by Latavius Murray, was also effective enough to spark the two Vikings scoring drives.

The ability of Rhodes and the Vikings to stifle the Falcons' passing attack helped keep Atlanta out of the end zone.

"We want to get this taste out of our mouth", Jones said.

What's next: The Vikings' three-game road stretch ends next week at Carolina, where they'll receive another test.

"It was a hard one", coach Mike Zimmer said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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