I am thrilled with my decision to make the drive from Green Bay to Minneapolis. This was an ugly, nerve racking game that was a whole lot of fun to watch in person. Our tickets were in the nosebleeds and we had about 1000 steps to go up to get to them but it turned out to be the area with the most Raider fans. It was really a great experience for me, and I was very impressed with the hospitality of the Viking fans. I am thrilled to not have to make the drive back home with the sour taste of a loss though.
The game itself we were obviously lucky to come out of with a win. Adrian Peterson getting hurt was the saving grace for us, and that really sucks to have to depend on their best player getting injured. With that being said, our best player in Darren McFadden did not play either so I guess it made it a level playing field. However ugly it was we still came out with the W and that's all that matters in the end. First place in the AFC West at 6-4 with only 6 games to go feels pretty damn good, no matter how you slice it.
Michael Bush had another well played game with 30 carries for 109 yards rushing the ball but had a nearly costly fumble. Carson Palmer had a very quietly efficient game completing 17 of 23 passes for 166 yards. Neither of them were our best offensive player today. The game ball in my opinion has got to go to Jared Veldheer who hands down won the battle of the Jareds. I honestly can not recall a single play where I thought "Wow, Jared Allen is amazing" and that is something special. I can't remember ever watching a game of Allen's that lacked his signature lasso moment and I couldn't be more thrilled that it was a Raider LT that shut him down. We have a franchise LT, which is something I have been saying for a long time about Veldheer, and I think that is now something that can not be argued.
Our defense made some very key plays that saved this victory but also bent to within a millimeter of their breaking point. I was very upset with their lack of containment on the very talented Christian Ponder. His largest asset is his athleticism and we decided to not guard the edges on several large scrambles from Ponder. They made up for that with 2 great interceptions in the endzone. The 2nd endzone int was by far the most exciting play to see for me, even if Bush decided to immediately give the ball back by fumbling. When it came to the end of the game our defense came up with enough plays to win. The last 4 plays by the Vikings, Ponder had absolutely no time to make any plays and never had a real chance to do anything. Its nice to have beat another team we should have, which is something we have been known to fail at.
As ugly as this game was, the Raiders made just enough plays to win. It looked like we were on pace to finally have a big win going into the 4th with a 20 point lead but apparently these Raiders prefer to keep it more interesting. Anymore interesting and we would not have survived this game. Lets gameplan and execute a whole lot better next week when the streaking hot Bears come to Oakland. If we play like we did this week we don't have a chance, but this team is so unpredictable that it might end up with a surprisingly dominating win. Who knows? Lets worry about that tomorrow, tonight lets celebrate a victory. No matter how hard we tried to lose we didn't and still lead the AFC West. Cheers everyone!!