Originally written on Pro Football Spot  |  Last updated 11/15/14
In my week 6 preview, I said the Vikings had to do three things well in order to win on Sunday; get great play from their offensive line, get good pressure on Cam Newton while containing his running game, and get good play from Matt Cassel at quarterback with an emphasis on zero turnovers. None of these three things happened, and it led to a long day for the team in purple.The Vikings offensive line, so good at run blocking just a season ago, has not hit their stride yet this season. Before his final carry of 31 yards, Adrian Peterson had a total of 31 yards on his previous nine carries. Not surprisingly, the lack of running game resulted in the Vikings losing the time of possession battle badly, 36:27 - 23:33. In addition to the poor run blocking, the Vikings offensive line also allowed three sacks in what may be their worst performance all season.The Vikings defense also did not play well, especially in regards to containing Newton. On the Panthers very first drive, Newton converted a crucial third-and-one by running for six yards after Jared Allen failed to keep containment on the left side of the line. On that very same drive, the Vikings defense committed a penalty on third-and-nine, a play where the Vikings defense actually sacked Newton but was negated due to the penalty, which allowed the Panthers to pick up a first down, as well as allowed the Panthers to convert two fourth downs, one of which was a touchdown. All-in-all, the Panthers first drive consisted of 15 plays over nine-and-a-half minutes, which really set the tone for the afternoon. Newton finished the day with a very efficient 20 for 26 passing for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns, as well as 30 yards rushing on 9 attempts and 1 touchdown.Here is a breakdown of Cam Newton's rushing attempts and how they played a role in the Panthers drives:Rush 1: Picks up 6 yards on third-and-one, Panthers eventually score a touchdown.Rush 2: Runs for 6 yards on third-and-seven, and the Panthers pick up the fourth down conversion on their first touchdown driveRush 3: Newton loses 5 yards, Vikings for a puntRush 4: 9 yard rush on first down to set up second and short, and the Panthers score another touchdown on their driveRush 5: Kneel to end the first halfRush 6: 7 yard run to set up third down and three yards to go, and throws a touchdown to Brandon Lafell the next playRush 7: 3 yard run on third and two, Panthers score a touchdown again on this driveRush 8: Two yard loss on first and goal, but Panthers eventually score on Cam's final rush of the gameRush 9: 7 yard touchdown runCam's ability to keep drives alive with his legs was a major factor in his team's success on offense. The Vikings could not get off the field, and he almost always made them pay.Finally, the Viking quarterback play was dismal. Matt Cassel threw an interception on the Vikings first drive, which led to the Panthers first touchdown of the game, and it did not get better from there. Cassel finished the day with a QBR of 28.5, aided in large part by the late touchdown pass he threw to Kyle Rudolph. On the 44 passes Cassel threw, he averaged just 5.5 yards, and his two interceptions led to Panther touchdowns. All in all, it was an awful game played by the most important player on the field.The Vikings got flat-out out played yesterday. They need to improve in all aspects of the game if they want their season to turn around next week against the winless Giants.
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