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Why Josh Dobbs Wasn’t Good Enough Monday Night

Josh Dobbs was one of the best stories in the NFL over the last few weeks. Now the passtronaut has come back down to earth.

The Minnesota Vikings fell to the Chicago Bears 12-10 on Monday night in a game where they had plenty of chances to finally get that big play they needed, but that just never came. Those chances didn’t come to fruition in large part due to the quarterback play. Josh Dobbs has been one of the best stories in football ever since he made his Vikings debut, but this game was one that has head coach Kevin O’Connell considering a quarterbacking change, and it’s not hard to see why. He threw four interceptions and missed a couple of key throws, and in a two-point game, every play matters. Obviously, the loss isn’t entirely on him, but you could easily argue that with average quarterback play the Vikings win this game-handedly.

Why Josh Dobbs Wasn’t Good Enough Monday Night

Interception Woes

The first interception was on a smash concept intended for Jordan Addison but was underthrown and jumped by Jaylon Johnson. Johnson bit on the curl underneath and made a great play to recover, but that’s a throw that has to be made. It hangs in the air forever and allows Johnson to make an easy play on the ball. One of those throws where you really miss Kirk Cousins, because those throws are second nature for him.

The second interception was the one that was by far the least on Dobbs. It’s third down and man-to-man across the field, and Dobbs targets Addison again (sure seems like their chemistry needs some work!) Addison runs a great route creating more than enough separation, and Dobbs puts it right on him with great anticipation. Addison can’t get his hands up in time and it bounces straight up, and into the arms of Jaquan Brisker.

On the next drive on third down, Dobbs throws what should have been a pick-six to Johnson but was dropped. The Bears showed two-high pressure looks but rotated to cover 3. Dobbs feels the pressure while staring T.J. Hockenson down the entire time. What makes a play like this so frustrating (besides the pick-six part) is that if Dobbs gets a second longer in pass protection, or moves in the pocket and looks off his first read, he has K.J. Osborn wide open for a huge gain. Instead, it’s another punt.

The most successful drive of the first half was their last one. Dobbs had a couple of nice throws to Brandon Powell and Osborn, and a pass interference call on a deep shot to Hockenson put the Vikings in the red zone for the first time. On first and 10, Dobbs held the ball too long and instead of hitting his checkdown, which he’d done well all game, he tried to escape and took a drive-killing intentional grounding penalty.

Halftime Act

On the drive to open the half, the Vikings stalled out at midfield and decided to go for it on fourth and 6. Going for it here is something I 100% agree with and love the aggression (something the Vikings haven’t done a lot this year, and frustratingly wouldn’t do throughout this game.) The Bears are in cover three, and with Powell clearing out the deep third corner Hockenson is one-on-one with Kyler Gordon and beats him. A good throw and Hockenson easily runs for a first down, but it doesn’t have enough juice behind it. Hockenson has to go back to the ball, allowing Gordon to make a play and the Bears get off the field on fourth down and take momentum right back.

Of all the prime opportunities the Vikings couldn’t cash in on, this one was the most frustrating. It’s a perfect play call to your best offensive player, and the quarterback doesn’t make the play. You can’t win in the NFL if you can’t convert easy throws, and especially on third and fourth down.

The third interception was kind of everyone’s fault. It was fourth and 3, going for it again at around midfield. Man coverage all over, and nobody wins on their route. Dobbs tries to force one into Osborn and it’s tipped up and picked off. This one wasn’t really on Dobbs, but you’d like to see him try and escape the pocket and make a play. It’s what he’s done the last few games, and it’s that playmaking ability that sets him apart from the other quarterbacks on the roster. He didn’t use it on that play, and it hurt them. Wouldn’t have been an easy play, and that’s why it wasn’t really on Dobbs there, but to not even try and escape and get the first with your feet is a bad decision.

The fourth interception was the worst one and was the one that got backup Nick Mullens warming up on the sideline. First and ten, it’s a quick game concept with mirrored routes on each side, a flat and a curl, with a checkdown. Nothing was open so Dobbs went to the checkdown. It was a panicky throw directly at a defensive lineman, who bobbled it and tipped it right to a Bears defender. An inexcusable play, and it if it wasn’t for a Vikings defense that played out of its mind, it’s a game-sealing play.

After forcing a Justin Field fumble, the Vikings offense was back out there with a chance to finally put a drive together. A couple of nice throws and the Vikings were driving. On a first and 10 at around midfield, Jordan Addison goes into motion and it causes a mismatch. He’s one-on-one with safety Jaquan Brisker and beats him badly on a double move. Even a decent throw and he walks into the end zone. Instead, it trails out of bounds, and Addison can’t keep his feet in. An unacceptable play for a starting quarterback to make, and in my opinion is the play that sends Dobbs to the bench when the Vikings travel to Las Vegas.

Where do the Vikings go from here?

Whether Dobbs is starting two weeks from now or not is a decision O’Connell will be thinking about a lot. Jaren Hall and Nick Mullens are both are viable options if they decide to go in a different direction, especially having the bye week to give those guys extra time. If Dobbs does start again, he’ll be on a very short leash and will be under a lot of pressure.

You never want to lose in the NFL. If the Vikings win that game Monday it would’ve been the most disgusting victory of the year, a moral defeat, if those are even a thing. Sometimes losing shines on what you need to change most. Whether it’s play calling and how aggressive that play calling is at times (Minnesota had a chance to ice the game after another Fields fumble, and opted to run twice and throw a screen, then punting.) Or if there’s a new face needed in the huddle, whatever that change may be, it’s clear it has to be something.

Main Photo: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports


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