Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/24/12

Christian Ponder, who helped lead the Minnesota Vikings to a 24-13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers yesterday, has finally started to get recognition for his strong play.  Ponder was 21-35 for 198 yards with two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown, but maybe more importantly, held a 90 QBR for the game, the highest in his career.

While this game, by passer rating standards, was his worst of the season, it was how he played the game that helped the Vikings win this game.  Many people believed that this was going to be the game that broke Ponder.  Ponder would be going against arguably the best defense in the league and people thought this would be the game that Ponder would throw his first interception of the season and give this game away.  Instead, Ponder made great plays throughout the game and proved that he is ready to play at this level.

One stat that really stuck out was that Ponder was 7-11 passing on third and fourth downs, and every completion resulted in a first down, or a touchdown.  What made this possible was Ponder's effective passing on first and second down that made a lot of thirds and manageable.  Ponder's accuracy has helped him a lot this season as he completing just over 70% of his passes and ranks only behind Matt Ryan for the most accurate (72%).

Christian Ponder showed great mobility as he avoided the strong 9ers' pass rush.  One of the greatest plays of the game was on a first and ten on the 9ers' 23 yard line.  Ponder took the snap and sat in the pocket for only a couple of seconds.  He then stepped up and looked up field.  Then, realizing that he had no options, he took off and ran.  Ponder eluded one tackle and then sprinted towards the end zone, got caught at about the three yard line, reached out, and got the ball in the end zone for a 23 yard rushing touchdown.  Ponder was also never sacked for the first time this season, which certainly helps.

Ponder's abilities are only going to improve and one thing that will really help him will be getting receiver Jerome Simpson back from suspension.  With another weapon in Simpson, it will only help Ponder in his passing game.  He will have more than just Kyle Rudolph and Percy Harvin as options, who are not bad options in all honesty.  Now we wait and see if Ponder improves against a weak Detroit Lions' defense, or suffers a hang over from playing so well against a strong 9ers' defense.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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