History is being made every day by these talented young athletes who are playing large and taking charge. Carolina is 14-0 and is chasing history — over the last two years they have won 18 straight games. That’s the third longest winning streak in NFL history. Quarterback Cam Newton, the son of a Baptist preacher, is orchestrating this remarkable season.
For the third time in five weeks, Newton threw five touchdown passes Sunday in a game mired by Giant Odell Beckham, Jr.’s over-the-top confrontation with Carolina’s cornerback Josh Norman and a complete loss of poise and respect for the game. Newton, after watching his Panthers collapse in the second half and blow a 35-7 lead, delivered his team to victory 38-35 over the New York Giants.
Those same Giants (6-8) will be in Minneapolis for a critical Sunday Night NFL Prime Time game on NBC against the Vikings.
Newton is the clear leader in the NFL MVP race with 33 touchdown passes, 19 in the last five weeks. The Seattle Seahawks, the back-to-back NFC Champions, have won five straight, and quarterback Russell Wilson has been incredible also.
Wilson is the first quarterback in NFL history to throw three or more touchdown passes in five straight games without an interception. He has 29 touchdown passes this year, and his team, the Seahawks, have clinched a playoff spot for the fourth-straight season.
The Vikings Sunday scored a season-high 38 points and dominated the Chicago Bears 38-17. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was sensational after being criticized by some for not delivering enough down-the-field passes. He threw four touchdown passes and ran for another. It was a magical day for Bridgewater — he completed 17 of 20 passes for 241 yards.
The Vikings are now 9-5 after ending a two-game losing skid. Bridgewater’s quarterback rating was a career-best 154.4! He has the Vikings on the brink of clinching a playoff spot with two games to play.
Five Black starting quarterbacks for Carolina, the Vikings, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Buffalo have combined to boast a 44-24 record. Newton, Wilson, Bridgewater, Jameis Winston, and Tyrod Taylor are all Black quarterbacks. All have been labeled running quarterbacks.
These guys are proving they can be athletic, mobile quarterbacks. That can produce like the great ones. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer and Phillip Rivers are White and have all been great and certainly get the credit for their career success.
However, Newton is marching on a perfect season pursuit only achieved by one team, and it took two quarterbacks, Bob Griece and Earl Morall with the 17-0 1972 Miami Dolphins, to achieve the only perfect season. We have a long way to go, two weeks in the regular season and then the playoffs. But these young quarterbacks have proven that they matter also.
Three of Minnesota’s top professional sports teams all lost in their respective games over a three-day span last week. The NFL Vikings, the NHL Wild, and NBA Timberwolves all had road games in Arizona on Thursday, December 10, Friday, December 11, and Sunday, December 13. Unfortunately they all lost.
A large group of Minnesotans made the trip to Arizona with hope of seeing all three of theirhopefuls win. But it was not to be. First, the Vikings on Thursday in prime time dropped a tough last-second 23-20 game to the playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw for 335 yards and a touchdown, and Adrian Peterson scored his career 100th touchdown in the hard-fought loss. The Vikings slipped to 8-5 and trail the Green Bay Packers by one game with three left to play.
Turnovers were the story: The Vikings committed three costly fumbles and the Cardinals had no turnovers. Arizona clinched a playoff spot with the win and is one of the hottest teams in the league at 11-2 and winners of seven straight games.
The Vikings with three games left can still clinch a playoff spot. In fact, with wins in their last three games over Chicago, New York and Green Bay, the Vikings would clinch the NFC North Division. At 8-5, the Vikings are in the sixth playoff spot currently and need to finish strong at home outside at TCF vs. Chicago Sunday and New York the following week.
Last Friday the Minnesota Wild dropped an overtime thriller to Arizona at Gila River Arena in Glendale 2-1.The Coyotes were playing only their 10th home game of the year. The victory evened their record to 14-14. The Wild are 14-6-6 and have lostfive of six in overtime.
Last Sunday the Timberwolves played the worst of the three Minnesota teams, falling behind big while committing 24 turnovers in a very sloppy effort. The 108-101 final score does not tell the story; the 24 turnovers led to lots of easy baskets for the Suns.
The Wolves are home to Denver on Tuesday. All three teams — the Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild — have previously all been solid on the road this year. It was rare indeed to catch all three Minnesota teams taking losses in the desert.
The NFL’s leading rusher, Adrian Peterson, again carried the Vikings to victory over the Atlanta Falcons 20-10. It was the Vikings’ sixth win in their last seven games, and they have regained sole possession of first place in the NFC North. The Packers, now 7-4, are a game back after losing to the Bears on Thanksgiving.
The Vikings are 8-3 and return home Sunday at high noon to play Seattle, the NFC defending champions. Are the Vikings playoff contenders? Absolutely!
With that rugged 9th-rated defense, the Vikings are in every game. Only one team has scored 30 points on this Vikings defense — that’s Green Bay in last week’s 30-13 setback.
Peterson ran for 158 yards on 29 carries and scored two touchdowns. He is moving up the NFL all-time rushing list. Since 2007, Peterson’s rookie season, he has run for 11,354 yards and 94 touchdowns. Sunday Peterson passed three all-time greats — Corey Dillon, O.J. Simpson and John Riggins — for 18th place all-time.
Peterson, with 1,164 yards, also is now fourth all-time with 18 games of 150 yards rushing or more in his career. Only Barry Sanders (25), Jim Brown (22), and Walter Payton (20) are ahead of Peterson, and they are all in the Hall of Fame.
With five games left and the Vikings leading the NFC North, Peterson is on fire. At age 30 he is gaining momentum with every carry. That means he’s doing exactly what the Vikings need him to do. Peterson has eight touchdowns so far this season, and the Vikings have eight wins. Is that coincidence?
Peterson needs 10 rushing touchdowns to join Emmitt Smith (eight) and LaDainian Tomlinson (nine) as the only players in NFL history to rush for 10 touchdowns in at least eight different seasons. The Vikings have games the next two weeks against 2014 playoff teams Seattle (6-5) and their famous Legion of Boom defense, and 9-2 Arizona in prime time Thursday, December 10.
The Vikings are hot, and they are in a position to answer everybody’s questions about their legitimacy. Stay tuned.