Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/11/12

Starting quarterback Christian Ponder was 20-27 with 270 yards in the Minnesota Vikings overtime thriller against the Jacksonville Jaguars.  However, since Adrian Peterson's return to the team was so triumphant and he broke the Vikings' all-time rushing record, not many realized how well Ponder played.


Ponder started off the game quite poorly.  He misread his receivers routes and was under throwing them.  Ponder was hearing it from the crowd and it was obvious.  However, after a 3-7 start, Ponder completed 17 of his next 20 passes to finish out the game.  Ponder had a very quiet game, but was incredibly efficient.  Ponder's passer rating was 105.5, and his quarterback rating was 66.9.  Ponder's passer rating ranked in the top ten and out passed elite quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers (93.3) and Drew Brees (70.9).

Some people say that there is cause for concern because he didn't throw a touchdown.  Put yourself in Ponder's shoes.  You have quite possibly the best running back in the NFL.  Once you get down to the red zone, what are you going to do?  You are going to hand it off to your one hundred million dollar running back who, more often than not, will get into the end zone.  The Vikings' won the game, right?

Yes, they did, and it was thanks large in part to Ponder's late game presence.  After Blaine Gabbert connected with Cecil Shorts to take the lead 23-20, Ponder had the poise to throw two deep, yet accurate, passes to put the Vikings in position to tie the game.  Yes, it was still a long shot, but another unsung hero, rookie kicker Blair Walsh, nailed the 55 yard field goal to send it to overtime.

Once in overtime, Ponder was 3-3 for 28 yards to drive the Vikings down the field to put Walsh in position for the potential game winner.  This time, it would only be 38 yards, but Walsh and Ponder got the job done on that drive.

Yes, Peterson did have a great game, but it was not worth gushing over 100%.  People have to start showing Ponder some love for what he does.  Ponder reminds me of a younger Alex Smith.  Smith, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, is a game manager. He does not throw for many yards, nor does throw many touchdowns, but he gets the job done.  Smith knows that he has a solid running game and defense to back him up, so he doesn't have to make the crazy throws and plays.  Ponder seems to be in the same boat, minus the defense.  Ponder realizes that the game isn't solely up to him, so he'll make the throws he needs to make, and won't make the throws he doesn't need to make.  Once again, he has one of the best running backs in the league, why not hand the ball to him?

As long as Ponder can continue to improve on his accuracy and continue to drive the Vikings down the field and into scoring position, it doesn't matter how many touchdown passes he throws.  He just needs to prevent turnovers, make passes that are absolutely necessary, and hand the ball off Peterson.

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

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