"After looking at the game from yesterday, it was definitely a tale of two halves. When you look at the first half, the Vikings ran 42 plays to our 18. Of course, we're down 14-0 at the half. We come out and really start the second half the same way. We're backed up, we run three plays for a couple of yards and punted to them. They took over at the 49 and went down in three plays and scored. With less than three minutes gone in the second half, we're down 21-0. From that point on, I thought our guys did a tremendous job. I thought they showed a lot of heart, a lot of competitiveness. The way they battled back, I haven't been around too many games where a team has been that far down and battled back to give themselves a real, legitimate chance to win the game. After that first series, our defense forced them to punt six out of the next seven series. This was a team that had punted five times in three games coming in. We knew there was a reason why they were ranked the number one offense in the National Football League. People had had a hard time forcing them to punt in every game.
After our first series of the half, offensively we scored four touchdowns on our next six series. Then, of course, in the overtime, we held them to three and out. We got one first down and out. Then, of course, they got the three first downs and hit the big play to win the game. I thought what we were able to do in that second half, we outgained them by close to 100 yards and really outscored them, 28-7 in the second half. It was definitely a tale of two halves. Once you look at the game, I think every phase of our team was very positive. Every phase of our team has some areas where we have to improve to take the next step. We had some good things on special teams. Our net punt was more than 38 yards, our punt return was over 11 yards. Their drive start, our kickoff coverage team did an outstanding job. Their drive start was the 18-yard line on five kickoffs. We had a couple big plays in timely situations. The kickoff coverage we had where we lined up and gave them the impression we were going to onside kick late in the game. Kris Brown did a tremendous job of kicking the ball down. They key there is not to kick the ball into the end zone. Get it as close so where they have to go down and field it. For us to be able to go down there and cover and back them up. The punt return, we took the ball over on the 42-yard line after a 15-yard punt return, to setup our last touchdown. I think those were two key plays. We still have to work and improve our kickoff return. We weren't as good in kickoff return. We had three special teams penalties and we'd only had one the prior two weeks. We have to make sure we get that cleaned up.
Offensively there were some excellent things. We scored 28 points. In our first down situations, we won 18 of 26, in terms of four yards or more. Sixty-nine percent win percentage on first down. We didn't turn the ball over, so that's big. We've turned it over two times in the last three weeks, which is major improvement over the seven times in the first two weeks. We had the three big pass plays. They all came at timely situations in the game.
We were three and three in the red zone. We felt going in that that was the best thing the Vikings did. They were fifth in the NFL in red zone defense. Again, we averaged over seven or seven –and-half yards per pass. We had two good two minute drives to score the 14 points in the fourth quarter.
The things we have to get cleaned up: We had more penalties. We had five offensive penalties. We have to get that cleaned up. We had five three-and-out series. Against a team like the Vikings, you don't ever want to go out there and go three-and-out because it puts their offense back out on the field and gives them another opportunity. In the first half, we only converted one of our four third-down situations. That was really our Achilles' Heel the first half. That's why we only ran 18 plays. They had four sacks. In our third down, we were much better in the second half. I think we had nine third-and-five or less' and we only converted three of those. We have to do better in those situations.
Defensively, we forced the Vikings to punt eight times and they had only punted five times in the previous three games. After the first series of the second half, in the next seven series, they had four first downs. We ended up with three sacks and we had four three-and-out series in the second half. We played very well in the fourth quarter, other than the touchdown pass to Moss. Things we have to get squared away on: We aren't tackling as well as we need to on defense right now. They got four big plays on us. The 17-yard run was their long run. They had the three pass plays. There was Moss' play in the fourth quarter and the 50-yarder in the overtime period. Two of the three big pass plays came late in the game. We had done a decent job, in terms of limiting the big plays up to that point in time. We didn't get any takeaways. There is a significant difference in our third down defense in the first half and the second half. We were much, much more effective in the second half.
When you have a game like yesterday, and you fought like our guys fought, it's always disappointing when you come up on the short end. We battled back from way down and gave ourselves a chance. We had legitimate chances to win the game. You're always going to respond one of two ways after a disappointing loss like this. You can give into it, you can let it cripple you, you can get down. Or, you can battle back and fight through it and become stronger. I really believe this about this team. I don't thing anyone can question the heart and competitiveness of this football team. I've seen it over the last three weeks in the second half, where we had to battle back in Kansas City from being down at halftime. We were tied here against the Raiders and went out and clearly won the second half. You could tell in the locker room yesterday at halftime. We were frustrated, we hadn't played as well as we wanted to, but the guys went out and did something about it. There are not a lot of teams that can come back from a 21-0 deficit when everything is going against you the way it did yesterday.
To me, that's what gives us a chance. We have to build on the positives because there were a large number of positives in this game. I think our guys know we are very capable of playing and winning games like these. We just have to line up and do it.
We have a big game this week in Nashville. It's our opening Division game. It's an important game. We have to come back in on Wednesday and get back to work to get ready to go up to Nashville and play better this next week."