Sunday, November 3, 2013
Ponder will start again after uneven game
By Ben Goessling
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It appears the Minnesota Vikings will have the same quarterback for the third straight game for just the second time this year when they face the Washington Redskins on Thursday night. And both times the Vikings have had that much consistency at quarterback, the starter has been Christian Ponder.
Coach Leslie Frazier said after Sunday's 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys that "I don't see why we would make a change" before Thursday's game. Ponder went 25-for-37 for 236 yards on Sunday, throwing a 31-yard touchdown to Kyle Rudolph and running for another one, but was hit as he threw a fourth-quarter interception, fumbled in the end zone as he was sacked and missed Greg Jennings on a deep shot after A.J. Jefferson intercepted Tony Romo with 4:29 left. The Vikings wound up holding the ball for just 1:44 and punting back to the Cowboys, who scored the winning touchdown on a nine-play, 90-yard drive.
"I thought we had a good play called," Ponder said of the incomplete pass to Jennings. "For us, we were just short of hitting it. If he catches that, he either scores or we're down on the goal line getting points."
That's a familiar lament for the third-year quarterback, who still hasn't been able to make the kind of clutch throws to help the Vikings win games and solidify his status as the starter.
"He's got to make some good decisions in key situations," Frazier said. "He did some good things, but he will tell you, he can do better."
At times, Ponder looked more comfortable in the Vikings' game plan than he had for most of the season, again running a hurry-up offense effectively and making some of his best throws out of the shotgun, where the Vikings have put him more often so he can make quicker reads.
But the Vikings were just 5-for-13 on third downs, and couldn't overcome two Ponder turnovers.
"To have the lead at halftime and play decent, it was disappointing to lose that," Ponder said. "We've got to understand there were a couple of plays here and there in drives, the first half and the second half, that we could have made."