|Peterson, Vikings finally find offensive breakout against Bears|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 15 October 2007 14:32|
For the Vikings, it didn't matter. Sure, they punted nine times on Sunday and went three-and-out on seven possessions. Yes, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson completed only nine of his 23 passes.
But they finally found that breakout game, putting 34 points on the board - none by the defense and only three off a turnover. And Randy Moss was nowhere near Chicago in this 34-31 victory.
``I was pleased to see the explosives on the offensive side,'' coach Brad Childress said Monday in his usual understated manner.
Most of those ``explosives'' came from the amazing rookie running back, Peterson, who rushed for a team-record 224 yards on 20 attempts and touchdowns of 67, 73 and 35 yards. His total was also the most yards rushing allowed in Bears history.
Center Matt Birk couldn't come up with any adjectives when asked to describe Peterson's performance.
``I wasn't an English major,'' Birk said, ``but that was something else.''
The 34 points are the most since Childress became the coach before the 2006 season.
Peterson, who moved into first place in the NFL with 607 yards rushing through the first six games of his career, also set up the winning field goal with a 53-yard kickoff return he nearly took all the way.
``It gives you a boost, because you're trying to get on his level,'' Jackson said. ``You just want to be able to make plays, too. You don't want to be that guy that holds the team back.''
Though Jackson's completion percentage was poor, he hit Troy Williamson in stride for a 60-yard touchdown pass and didn't give the ball away - the first time the Vikings went turnover-free this season. That's precisely what the Vikings need their inexperienced quarterback to do with a running back capable of so much.
It's clear that Peterson is capable of even more.
He has 10 receptions for 175 yards, he's averaging 6.3 yards per rush, and he was on the sideline during key stretches of Minnesota's three losses in September. Childress has taken heat for not putting his best player on the field more and sticking with Chester Taylor as the starter, but Sunday's result gave the coach a stronger defense of his decision to rotate his backs and keep them both fresh throughout the game.
Taylor, who gained more than 1,200 yards with the backfield to himself last season, rushed 22 times for 83 yards against the Bears.
And, yes, Taylor is still the starter.
Peterson, again, said he doesn't care.
``Two horses are better than one,'' he said.
That's what the coach has said since the draft.
``He's number two, and that's how it is. It doesn't bother him. It doesn't bother me,'' Childress said.
The Vikings, however, did spend their bye week devising a better plan to take advantage of Peterson's skills. He lined up wide at a receiver spot to start the game, and his 12 second-half carries were the most he's had. Childress said the coaches kept an exact count of the amount of times he touched the ball, instead of ``ballparking'' like they did before.
After Peterson's big day, the obvious question for Childress was how much more he can expect to run it next time.
``Then we lose the element of surprise,'' Childress said, adding: ``If it's the end of a long run or if it's the end of a kickoff return, even though we might like to have him the next play, you still want to keep those guys fresh. Because that's where the fresh legs and the fresh looks give you a chance to have those explosions.''
The offensive line, in the coach's analysis, was ``totally in harmony.'' Though Peterson and Chicago's defense had a lot to do with the outcome, the front five played what was arguably its best game in two years.
``I got sacked one time, but that was probably my fault,'' Jackson said. ``I didn't get hit. Maybe like one time. I felt like I'm not sore at all. Adrian, after the game, he was saying he could play another quarter. The offensive line did a great job keeping the guys off us.''