SML Bowl II
The SML Bowl between the NFC Champion Minnesota Vikings and the AFC's Baltimore Ravens was a fantastic contest for approximately 15 minutes and 20 seconds - thats exactly the time when Adrian Peterson ran in an 11 yard score, his 4th rushing TD and 5th of the game to give the Vikes a 42-14 lead and effectively ended this match as a contest. AP managed 7 TD's and 418 all purpose yards which was the only stat that mattered. Utterly fantastic, mesmerising performance, yes, there were mitigating circumstances but there always are in a ball game of this magnitude and lets face it - this will be remembered for one player, Adrian Peterson, and thats how it should be remembered!
But for a short while it looked like we were really going to have a Superbowl shoot-out - and the game went off big time after just 15 seconds - the 1st play from scrimmage. Running as if enchanted by Harry Potter's wand itself 'He Who Shall Not Be Tackled' took the handoff from Ponder and darted straight inside left tackle and weaved passed the all star linebacking crew of the Ravens (special mention for Ray Lewis, who played his last game) for an 83 yd score. How would Baltimore respond - perfectly - as Flacco marched 80 yards in 2 minutes aided by a couple of key runs by Kory Sheets and finally hitting Boldin from 5 yards out to tie the score.
How would the Vikes respond - a 107 yard kick-off return thats how! Harvin got outside and scored a memorable return that will probably sit in the dusty SML record room forever compared to the amazing feats of his team-mate. So - over to the Ravens - we had played a little over 2 mins and had 3 scores already with no-one (not even the players) knowing how this was going to turn out due to the explosive nature of what we were witnessing. Again, Flacco marched confidently, Minnesota struggling to stop Sanders, Boldin and co but then disaster - Boldin caught another 1st down pass but Antoine Winfield managed to prise the ball loose and the Vikings made a huge recovery, thwarting the Ravens inside scoring range and then delivered the killer blow within seconds with another long range run by AP.
Baltimore were still battling but were forced to punt on their next series - as were the Vikes as we finally got a glimpse of what defense means - and Flacco again moved the troops and hit Boldin for the 2nd time, this time from 9 yards and reduce the deficit to just 7 as the 1st, amazing quarter ended 21-14 Minnesota - game on!
Early in the 2nd Minnesota were on the move and on 2nd and 9 Ponder dumped a screen out to AP who had half of Minneapolis blocking for him as he danced into the paint from 69 yards out - Baltimore again guessing wrong with the defensive play call. Vikes back up by 14 but the Ravens were moving the chains when another 1st down catch by Boldin popped loose due to the close attention of LB Henderson - Minnesota recovered and guess what, within a minute AP was in again, this run from 32 yards. If that wasn't the death knell for Baltimore astonishingly a 3rd fumble - again by a WR with Cortland Finnegan getting a hand in took away all hope. Peterson finished from 11 yards and a Halftime score of 42-14 was on the board, game over.
The 2nd half was dull by comparison, another couple of 30 yarders by Peterson and Flacco forced a few more throws down Antoine Winfields throat - this may be a little ridiculous to even mention but Winfield would have got MVP on any other day with his 3 picks and 1 FF - but not today.
The Vikings were worthy winners, leaving Ray Lewis and co to wonder what might have been but today, of all days, the best performance by a HB you could wish for was duly delivered by superman Peterson - i make no apologies for not mentioning too many other Vikings who have played their part in a great season because while today belongs to Minnesota - SML history belongs to Adrian Peterson and Coach MeisterEder.
Congratulations from us here at the White Swan Public Bar!