4 takeaways from Vikings' 31-24 loss to Panthers

Adjust Comment Print

Keenum also performed with a much higher degree of difficulty: He needed to lift his team because a lot of the things that usually work for it, didn't.

With center Pat Elflein and right tackle Mike Remmers also out with injuries, there are suddenly significant question marks on the offensive line. He had three giveaways himself, along with getting sacked six times. Carolina rushed for 216 yards against Minnesota on Sunday.

During the eight-game streak, what was most impressive was the effectiveness on the road.

The Panthers first drive took just 1:35 and three plays and set the tone for the entire game as they were able to capitalize, mainly, on the league's second-ranked rush defense. It was the first of three turnovers, an area Carolina has struggled with all season, but greatly benefited from on Sunday. But Carolina's defense had a huge stop, holding the Vikings to a field goal leaving the game tied with 3:07 left.

Later in the third quarter, Kyle Love took Keenum down for a 7-yard loss, driving the Vikings out of field-goal range and forcing a punt. It was a well-thrown pass that wide receiver Stefon Diggs should have caught and taken into the end zone. "I just think the whole thing is messed up", he said. "I dropped the ball, and I gave it to them". We don't care if we're right guard, center, left guard, across the board.

The strengths, discipline and fundamentals Minnesota is known for let the team down.

Jets' Josh McCown out for season after breaking hand
Both of those teams' numbers are pretty mediocre but there's no denying the fact that Denver's are slightly better. With three weeks left in the season, the Broncos have already been eliminated from playoff competition.

The offensive line is banged-up and could not keep Case Keenum clean.

The Panthers are actually just OK at running the football traditionally, but the threat of Cam Newton to create with his legs as a passer and on designed runs make them a nightmare to defend. Keenum kept his calm and kept grinding.

"That's part of the job description though, guys bounce around", Easton said. "You have to forget about the last play and focus on the next, something that I have learned, continue and try to learn and do today".

Offensive line changes aren't anything new for the Vikings this season; they've played seven consecutive games without one of their starting offensive linemen from the beginning of the season in the lineup. Keenum had rallied the Vikings to knot the game at 24 when the Panthers had the ball at their own 30 on second-and-5. Now, they need a little bit of help.

Only four minutes were remaining in the game and the Vikings were down three, points were inevitable but another touchdown could have spelled disaster. He got too many times for us to say. "For me as a quarterback, I want to be in that position with the ball in my hand", he said.

The Vikes have been fairly healthy, but Sunday saw scary moments as Xavier Rhodes get rolled into his legs by Harrison Smith, but thankfully returned.

Comments