Sacks and takeaways now missing for Vikings defense
NOV 19, 2013 4:00a ET
Robison and his teammates were putting pressure on Wilson, who would ultimately make a move and evade the rush. Minnesota finished with plenty of pressure but only one sack on one of the most elusive quarterbacks in the NFL.
"We were putting a lot of pressure on him, but he's a smart quarterback," Robison said Monday. "You could see every time he stepped back, he was looking at me or Kevin (Williams) and just kind of seeing where we were. It's unreal to me that he can sit there and look at us and still find receivers downfield.
"He's a smart kid. He was looking at us to see where he could step up. He could step up in the 'B' gap or step out, get on the edge. We had to be smart on that left side, definitely."
A week after disrupting another mobile, agile quarterback in Washington's Robert Griffin III because of a strong pass rush, the Vikings couldn't get to Wilson or get him on the ground. Wilson completed 13 of the 18 passes he attempted for 230 yards and two touchdowns.
Minnesota held Seattle to 323 yards, and limited Marshawn Lynch to 54 yards rushing. But four offensive turnovers put the defense in bad spots and the Vikings defense couldn't build on the momentum gained in the second half of last week's win against Washington. The Seahawks scored 20 points off turnovers, 17 in a 3 minutes, 54 second span in the fourth quarter, for a 41-20 win.
"We're not playing good ball right now, and at times we do and it's like we fall apart," Robison said. "We have yet to put together a four-quarter game. So, we got to try and find a way to eliminate the mistakes, execute the calls that are made and capitalize on opportunities that are given to us."
Through four weeks, Minnesota was amongst the league leaders in takeaways, a consolation for a defense that had suffered letdowns in the final minute in losing two games.
The Vikings had 12 turnovers in the first four weeks, going plus-2 in turnover-differential in their first win of the season in Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the six games since, following their bye, Minnesota has two takeaways on defense and has been unable to bail out a defense that has bled yardage against opponents and an offense that has continued giving the ball away.
"They sometimes come in bunches," coach Leslie Frazier said of the lack of takeaways. "It happens that way. It can be cyclical and we're in a rut a little bit now. We got the ball out yesterday with Lynch, who's a very good back, and the defense held him to 54 yards rushing, 3-yard average.
"The ball was out. We weren't able to come up with it. Ball comes out against us, they were able to come up with it. That happens sometimes. Hopefully this will be the week that we'll get back on a roll again as far as taking the ball away. But sometimes it happens in bunches."
The Vikings were minus-4 on Sunday in turnover differential. Lynch, the league's second-leading rusher, fumbled on the second offensive play for Seattle after the Seahawks recovered a Christian Ponder fumble.
Defensive tackle Fred Evans, playing his first game in three weeks, was quick inside and hit Lynch immediately and caused a fumble. But Seattle recovered the ball in the scrum and ended up kicking a field goal for the first of its 20 points off turnovers.
"Man, I guess we're just not taking advantage of the opportunities we're given," Robison said of the lack of turnovers the past six games. "You look at it; we had an opportunity at one yesterday and was unable to come up with it. Those are the type of things we're talking about. You get an opportunity to get a ball out of a guy's hands like Marshawn Lynch, you've got to get on the ball and give it back to your offense. We weren't able to do that yesterday."
Offensively, Minnesota was turning the ball over too much in a three-game losing streak to start the season, but the defense was making up for it, partially, by being opportunistic. The Vikings 10 turnovers in the first four games, but were plus-2 in turnover differential.
Minnesota has continued to turn the ball over -- 12 in the past six games -- but have just two takeaways during that time: one on a fumbled punt return and the other on an interception by A.J. Jefferson. Jefferson has the only interception by a Vikings cornerback this season and Harrison Smith is the only other defensive back with an interception.
Minnesota has been with Smith, the playmaking safety who is tied for the team lead with two interceptions and has one fumble recovery in the past five games. He is out with a toe injury suffered in Week 6 against the Carolina Panthers and isn't eligible to return until Week 15.
Even with Robison, Jared Allen, Everson Griffen and Kevin Williams along the defensive line, Minnesota is tied for 24th in the league in sacks with 22 total sacks this season as a team. Allen has a team-high five sacks and Robison has four.
Meanwhile, Minnesota has allowed a league-high 32 points a game and is 30th in the league, giving up 391.7 yards per game.
"You're always evaluating your scheme and see what you can do better," Frazier said. "I thought yesterday our defense did a lot of good things in that ballgame they really did. One of the reasons we were right there going into that fourth quarter, and even in yesterday's ballgame, some of those points weren't necessarily directly attributable to the defense, but it does go on the defensive stats. But yeah, you're always trying to evaluate your defensive schemes, always trying to improve what you're doing, always looking at your personnel. So you are always trying to do those things that help you get better, and we'll continue that as we get ready for this next ballgame."
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