Sunday, December 23, 2007

Second Verse, Same as the First

"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” This was true for Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part III and the same goes for yours truly in 2007. As I sat, slumped down in my couch, watching the disaster that was the Vikings-Redskins game tonight, the one thought that kept going through my head was, “I can’t believe I got sucked into the hype—again.” It was the same as 2003…only different.

For those of you that don’t remember, the 03 Vikes were knocked out of the playoffs by the Arizona Cardinals on the last play of the last game of the season. That play/loss hurt on a lot of levels. First, it wasn’t like it was a vaunted Manning to Harrison combination that did us in, but rather the unlikely Josh McCown to Nathan Poole (who?) duo that kept us out of the postseason.

Second, that loss allowed, of all teams, the Packers to get into the playoffs. Ouch. Third, everything happened so fast that it took a while for it to sink in and realize, “Fuck, we’re out of the playoffs!” Fourth, those idiots in Green Bay gave that douche Poole a key to the city and a damn day named in his honor. Just recalling these things makes my stomach turn.

Tonight’s loss was different in a lot of ways, but it still left Purple fans with that same queasy feeling. This Washington team is nowhere near as bad as that Cardinals team was. In fact, they’ll likely get the 6th seed in the NFC. The game also wasn’t on the road and it wasn’t one particular play that did us in. Rather, this was a slow, painful death of our playoff hopes.

Play after play, our offense looked anemic, the D was uncharacteristically shaky, and we did everything in our power to lose. It all started very ominously as Tarvaris Jackson’s first pass was picked off by The Captain, Fred Smoot.

That led to a fourth and goal from the one mmmmphhh line which, upon further review, the Vikes actually stopped. Good news, right? Not so much. On the ensuing play, Tony Richardson failed to get the ball out of the end zone, resulting in a safety. 2-0 Washington on a Dimitri Young homer off of Boof Bonser. Two more turnovers (one of which was yet another absolutely brutal throw/decision by Jackson) and absolutely no offense later, the Purple were down 22-0 at the half. Good times.

So we can close the book on this game at this point, right? Of course not. In true Vikings fashion, T Jack and the boys mount a mini comeback with a couple of scores and have us back in the game at 25-14 early in the 4th quarter. Do I get sucked back in and start calculating the scores and time necessary to make this miraculous comeback? Obviously. Then, about midway through the quarter, an odd play resulted in the end of all that. The Redskins get a completion to Santana Moss that looked like it could have been challenged. While Childress is trying to decide on whether or not to challenge the play, the Skins try to quick snap us, only to fumble the ball away. The Vikes recover and the miracle comeback is still in order. But hold on, Gibbs throws his little red hanky. Apparently we had 12 men on the field at the time of the snap. That gives Washington the ball back and 7 plays later, Portis walks into the endzone and the game is basically over.

Now, is it theoretically possible that the Vikes still get in to the postseason? Yes. We need to win in Denver next week AND have the Redskins somehow lose to a Dallas team that will be resting their starters for a majority of the game. Not exactly a dream scenario. The point is we had a chance to come out and place ourselves into that 6th seed with a win on national television. Instead, for the second week in a row, we stunk up the joint and now have to not only win on the road, but also rely on this man to get in…

Uh oh, here comes that sick feeling in my stomach again...

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