Vikings vs. Jaguars Preseason 2018

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    Five Game-Changing Plays Saturday’s preseason tilt between the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars was an ugly affair in every sense of the word. The first team offense that looked so efficient a week ago in Denver was sloppy and disorganized. Yellow flags littered the field while players and fans alike tried to figure out whether tackling was still legal in the NFL.And the injuries—oh Mike Remmers Jersey , the injuries. Eric Sugarman was on the field more than the starting offense. There were more air casts than scoring plays for the Vikings. While none of the injuries were to players that looked to be getting a ton of playing time during the regular season, many of them were to players that have “blocking” in their job description. The Vikings have already made several roster moves related to the MASH unit that was Week 2 of the preseason.However, there were still a few rays of light among the storm clouds, and there is still some time to clean up what went wrong before the games start to count. Until then, let’s review the five game-changing plays from the 14-10 loss to the Jaguars.Play 1: Vikings ball, 1st & 10 at the Jacksonville 26. First quarter, 8:49 remaining. K.Cousins pass incomplete short right to A.Thielen.After Kirk Cousins nearly had his first attempt to Adam Thielen intercepted, his second pass to Thielen didn’t fare any better.Overall this was a pretty innocuous play in a preseason game that was riddled with mistakes. It was still indicative of just how of out of sync the Vikings first team offense looked throughout the first quarter. After the play, Cousins seemed to acknowledge that the pass was his fault. Which means he missed badly, misjudged where Thielen was going to be on the field, or a little of both.The Jaguars undoubtedly have one of the best defenses in the league, but plays like this show that there’s still lots of work to do before Cousins gets on the same page with all of his pass catchers.(All while a makeshift offensive line tries to keep him upright, of course.)Play 2: Jaguars ball. 2nd & 1 at the Jacksonville 26. First quarter, 6:40 remaining. (Shotgun) B.Bortles pass short middle intended for D.Westbrook INTERCEPTED by H.Smith at JAX 32. H.Smith to JAX 23 for 9 yards (J.O’Shaughnessy).The Vikings defense made Blake Bortles look…well Cheap Everson Griffen Jersey , a lot like Blake Bortles for most of the week. During Wednesday’s joint practice, Minnesota defenders dropped no fewer than five potential interceptions. Harrison Smith had two that definitely should have been caught. At the end of Jacksonville’s first drive on Saturday, Mackensie Alexander and a host of other Vikings let a pick fall to the turf.Finally, Smith said “enough is enough” on the Jaguars’ second drive.On a day where the offense didn’t do much of anything, it was nice to see so many standout performances on the defense. There could be a couple of games early on where the defense is relied upon to make big plays like this. It looks like the best safety in the league is ready to step up.Play 3: Jaguars ball, 1st & Goal at the Minnesota 10. First quarter, 1:12 remaining. B.Bortles sacked at MIN 15 for -5 yards (D.Hunter).Earlier in this drive, Danielle Hunter obliterated Cam Robinson and had Bortles dead to rights for an easy sack. Bortles was able to escape Hunter’s clutches with a quick shoulder fake and get the pass away unscathed.On this play, all Hunter needed was one hand to take down the 235-pound quarterback.Hunter answered the disrespect of being blocked by only a tight end with some disrespect of his own, dragging down Bortles with only his right hand. The Jaguars still scored on the drive, but plays like this are why the Vikings gave Hunter his big contract extension before the season. If he keeps finishing off pass rushes like this, watch out.Play 4: Vikings ball, 1st & 10 at the Minnesota 41. Second quarter, 12:25 remaining. M.Boone right guard pushed ob at JAX 40 for 19 yards (R.Harrison).So yeah Cheap Kyle Rudolph Jersey , looks like we shouldn’t call that competition for the third running back spot just yet. On his very first touch of the game, Mike Boone let everyone know that he wasn’t going down without a fight. While Boone was proficient with catching passes in Training Camp, he hadn’t shown as much running the ball until Saturday. Boone finished the game with 91 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. The competition between Boone and Roc Thomas over the final two preseason games should be fascinating. Mack Brown better get healthy in a hurry if he hopes to have any chance at making a dent in this race.Play 5: Jaguars ball, 1 & 10 at the Jacksonville 49. Fourth quarter, 5:18 remaining. C.Kessler sacked at JAX 42 for -7 yards (A.Williams). PENALTY on MIN-A.Williams, Roughing the Passer, 15 yards, enforced at JAX 49 – No Play.If we’re going to call this roughing the passer, just switch to two-hand touch.I honestly don’t know what Antwione Williams should have done differently there. It was an expertly timed blitz and a textbook form tackle to sack Cody Kessler. The NFL can harp on player safety all they want, and making improvements in that area should be welcome. But calling penalties like this threatens changing how defenders can play the game. Let’s hope the league and its referees can figure these things out in the coming weeks.Vote for the play you thought was most impactful in the poll below. If you think we missed a few others that should have been included, please add them in the comments. Some of the “honorable mention” plays that could have easily made this list were Kai Forbath’s fate-sealing 41-yard field goal miss, the usually sure-handed Latavius Murray fumbling twice, and special teams allowing yet another long punt return to set up the game-winning score. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster just wants to move on from last December’s physical primetime meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals.But the second-year wideout thrust himself into one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL last season with a memorable block against Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Smith-Schuster was reminded of the hit prior to Sunday’s game at Cincinnati.”I didn’t want to talk about it,” Smith-Schuster said. “I knew you guys were going to want to talk about this and make something out of it Andrew Sendejo Jersey , but I am just trying to get a “W” this weekend, that’s it.”Last December, Smith-Schuster delivered a punishing blindside block on Burfict, the Steeler agitator, who ended running back Le’Veon Bell’s season in 2015, and injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and receiver Antonio Brown in the same playoff game at Cincinnati later that year.Smith-Schuster got a 15-yard penalty for the block and another penalty for taunting when he stood over Burfict after the hit. He also was given a one-game suspension.Burfict served a four-game suspension to open the current season. He returned to the lineup last week without incident and helped the first-place Bengals beat Miami.Smith-Schuster said he’s not concerned about Burfict or the Bengals seeking revenge on Sunday.”I’m just worried about the game, playing focused and playing with my teammates,” Smith-Schuster said. “It’s the AFC North and the rivalry is very strong. It’s physical and it’s going to be a tough game.”Last December’s game featured a combined 20 penalties for 239 yards, including a team-record 173 yards by the Bengals. It was also the game where Steelers LB Ryan Shazier sustained a life-altering spinal injury following a tackle.”There were a lot of emotions on both sides of the ball, obviously with Shazier and what I did,” Smith-Schuster said. “But it’s just a physical game. That’s what you’re going to get out of it.”Brown sustained a concussion and was knocked from the game by safety George Iloka – no longer with the Bengals — following a touchdown reception. The score helped Pittsburgh overcome a 17-point deficit and win its sixth straight in the series on a last-second field goal.”They’re always trying to get the best of us, either physically, after the play or during plays,” Brown said. “That’s why they call it the jungle because you have to go in there and be ready to win.”Brown met with the media for the first time Friday since two lawsuits were filed against him stemming from an incident at a Florida apartment complex last spring.Ophir Sternberg is seeking damages against Brown Cheap Harrison Smith Jersey , claiming objects thrown by Brown from the 14th floor of an apartment building in April came close to striking Sternberg’s father and 22-month-old son. A second lawsuit filed by the owner of the apartment building is seeking more than $15,000 in damages from Brown.”I can’t discuss pending litigation,” Brown said. “I just look forward to my day in court.”Brown told police that the incidents occurred after a gun and $80,000 were stolen from his apartment. Brown said in a statement a day earlier that the lawsuits contained “false claims” against him.”It comes from being successful, it comes from being in the spotlight, it comes from having fame,” Brown said on Friday. “If I was a nobody, (the media) wouldn’t be here speculating to begin with.”Brown said he’s focused on the Bengals this week.”I’m a professional and I know what I’m here for,” Brown said. “I’m trying to win football games. It’s Cincinnati week … it’s a big week for us. Being in this position comes with a lot of distractions and you have to be able to narrow your focus and that’s what I’m able to do.”NOTES: Steelers’ S Morgan Burnett (groin) will miss his fourth straight game, while WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (ankle) will miss his second straight. LB L.J. Fort (ankle) is doubtful. LB Vince Williams fully practiced this week after missing against Atlanta with a hamstring injury.

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