We found out yesterday the difference between a team that beats the bad teams on its schedule and a good team. Sadly, the Vikings are the former, the Steelers the latter. The Steelers came in, followed the Vikings Victory Equation and went back to Pittsburgh in control of their playoff destiny, ending the "Brad Johnson for MVP" and "Mike Tice for Coach of the Year" talk in the process.
Throwing two interceptions in the red zone pretty much guarantees a loss. Luckily we have Brad "Game Manager" Johnson under center, so that we don't have to worry about things like that. Wait. You mean "The Efficient One" was the guy who throw those picks? You mean he wasn't able to produce a single touchdown in three opportunities in the red zone (two of which were 1st and Goal at the 3 yard line)? Well, I guess we can curb the "Trade Daunte" talk now that we know that Brad Johnson's "pedestrian, yet effective" performances had as much to do with his opponents as anything else.
And after that performance by the entire team, I think we can stop pretending that Mike Tice is a good coach. Let's see here, 185 yards of offense? Check. 13 penalties for 95 yards? Check. Blocked field goal? Check. Safety? Check. Failure to score, not once, but twice, when it's First and Goal from the 3 yard line? Check. 25 total yards in the second half? Check. I could go on, but I think that's enough evidence so that we can all agree that Mike Tice is not a good coach.
And the Vikings are not that good of a team. They are a mediocre one for the third straight year. They've beaten the bad teams on their schedule (which there are a lot of) and they've been manhandled by every .500 or better team, including the Giants. They can, and probably should, beat the Ravens next week. They aren't, however, likely to beat da NFC North leading Bears on New Year's Day. And then another promising season is going to end in mediocrity. And it's not going to be any different next year, unless Zygi replaces Tice with a real coach.