Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 10/26/12
MINNEAPOLIS Jared Allen stood near his locker, a nasty gash across his nose from having his helmet pushed off during Thursday's game, looking every bit like he took the full brunt of a punishing fight. Allen talked about a complete defensive letdown the likes of which Minnesota hadn't had this season. He gave credit to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Thursday's 36-17 win and setting the tone by running the ball at the Vikings' once-proud run-defense. "Hats off to them, they came in here and kicked our butts," Allen said. "Just top to bottom, I don't know if we overlooked them or not, but it's an embarrassing game for us." Minnesota's defense, which keyed the team's surprising start, had been shredded by little-known rookie running back Doug Martin. Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman hit just enough big passes, especially on third downs, to leave the Vikings (5-3) scratching their heads for answers into a long break following the Thursday night game, the only scheduled national TV appearance for them this season. The Buccaneers, who had two of the top-10 offensive-yardage performances in team history the past two weeks, added 416 yards against Minnesota's ninth-ranked defense, the most yards allowed by the Vikings this season. Minnesota entered Thursday allowing 319.7 yards-per-game and 18.3 points-per-game. Martin, the 5-foot-9, 215-pound rookie back selected in the first round in April, was the one doling out the punishment Thursday with 29 carries for 135 yards and added an explosive 64-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass. The Vikings, who were once ranked in the top five in run-defense, have allowed Martin and Arizona's LaRod Stephens-Howling to each surpass 100 yards rushing in back-to-back games and left defenders on the ground from missed tackle after missed tackle. The Buccaneers (3-4) ran for 159 total yards Thursday. "These little backs are killing us," Minnesota defensive end Brian Robison said. "I mean, short stature, I don't know if guys are trying to tackle high and getting stiff-armed or what it is. We have to look at the film obviously. Last two weeks is not where we want to be in the run game, not where we've been this year, just not pretty, not pretty football at all." The inability to corral Martin kept Allen and Robison from doing what they do best get after the quarterback. And Freeman was calm in the pocket, finishing 19 of 36 for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He was sacked once and was on point as Tampa Bay finished off Minnesota with a 16-play, 87-yard drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown run for Martin with just over seven minutes left in the game. Freeman was 4 of 5 on the drive, connecting on all of his four third-down passes as the Buccaneers were 5 of 5 on third-downs. Road teams were the ones that had struggled on Thursday nights this season. Minnesota was the lethargic team this Thursday. This wasn't the physical, aggressive Vikings' defense that led the team to a three-game winning streak earlier this season when Minnesota tackled everything in sight and played its own punishing brand of defensive football. Instead, the Vikings came out of Thursday bloodied and overwhelmed. "Bottom line is they did a good job of pretty much beating our brains in," Robison said. The Vikings' defense was put in bad spots early on Thursday as Tampa Bay's first three-scoring drives all started from the Buccaneers 42-yard line or in Vikings' territory following two poor punts and a turnover. Allen, the defensive star, tried to resurrect Minnesota late in the third quarter. After an altercation with Tampa Bay left tackle Donald Penn that left Allen bloodied and fired up, Allen followed through with a sack and the Metrodome was as loud as it's been since 2009. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the emotion and motivation didn't come three quarters earlier. And after Allen's sack, which was his seventh in six games, Minnesota's offense ended up with yet another three-and-out, sapping the energy out of the home crowd. "You think, 'Alright, here we go. We got some momentum on our side,' " Allen said. "And then something happens. Credit them. They weathered our storms." Now the Vikings try to weather their biggest storm of the season, losses in two of the last three weeks, surrendering the most yardage and second-most points all season with four extra days to think about Thursday's loss. "It's just bad fundamental football from top to bottom," Allen said. "There's not one person that's responsible for this. Everybody will own it, get better, tighten the ship up and we'll get back to work." Said linebacker Chad Greenway: "You can't panic." But you sure can wonder which Vikings team will show up on Nov. 4 when it travels to Seattle the tough, defensive-led squad that racked up three quality wins earlier this season, or the team that hasn't been able to gain rhythm, offensively or defensively, in the past three weeks. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kevin Love: Kyrie Irving was ‘special’ in Game 4

Mike Trout explains why he doesn’t look at advanced stats

Reds’ Joey Votto shuts down heckler with “I remember when you used to be thin”

Rob Gronkowski gets new contract, chance to double salary

Padres offering $99 ticket plan for five June wins or 16 June games – whatever happens first

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Former Jets WR Devin Smith found out he was cut via Twitter

Roger Goodell tweets ‘Key & Peele’ joke about relaxed celebration rules

Martavis Bryant: ‘I know this is my last chance’

Glennon: ‘This is my year and I’m not worried about the future’

Durant apologizes for response to fans complaining about blowouts

Sheldon Richardson says Jets locker room is better without Brandon Marshall

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker