EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Even as Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was struggling in the first half of the team's 31-30 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday, coach Leslie Frazier said he didn't think about benching Ponder.
The quarterback rebounded by going 10-for-16 for 146 yards in the second half, directing three scoring drives and shaking off the interception that Tim Jennings returned for a touchdown in the first half. Even after that play, which came in a 6-for-14 first half, Frazier said he didn't contemplate a switch at quarterback.
"I wasn't thinking that," Frazier said. "After the interception, I just wanted to make sure that he was right mentally -- not concerned or just going over and over that interception. I wasn't thinking we needed to take him out. I just wanted to make sure he settled down."
Just like he did in the Vikings' final four games last season, Ponder played his best football on Sunday when the criticism around him was at its loudest. What's somewhat perplexing about the third-year quarterback is why he doesn't play at that level when the pressure's off. But in all likelihood, Ponder bought himself more time as the starting quarterback with how he played in the second half on Sunday, and he'll have another chance at consistency this week in the Vikings' home opener against Cleveland.
"A lot of guys in our sport are like that: When you tell them they can't do something, they raise up and show you they can," Frazier said. "I think it was important for our team. If he doesn't play well late in that game, we're probably going to be in a bad situation in the fourth quarter. It was just good for our team."