We've been breaking down this week's game against the Vikings. We wrap up today's analysis with a look at the special teams.
Let's review the key contributions...
Kicking game - I Greg your pardon?
Greg Zuerlein had an amazing performance on Sunday, as he made all five of his field goals and his only extra point. His 60-yarder was a franchise record and was comfortably good by some distance.
It wasn't all routine for Zuerlein though, as there was interior pressure on the long kick - albeit only as a result of a bad missed call by the officials who should have called a personal foul for leverage. There was also pressure on one other kick as Mike Remmers and Kenny Yeboah let a defensive player split them and he almost blocked it.
Zuerlein was also moved back onto kickoffs last week and since that time has 13 touchbacks on 13 kickoffs including seven yesterday.
Braden Mann only got to punt twice and got his angles wrong on one kick as it went out of bounds at the 26. That was just a 37 yarder. His other punt was a little better, 44 yards down inside the 15 where it was fair-caught.
Brandin Echols once again got close to blocking a kick, this time an extra point. He screamed out in exasperation, perhaps a sign that he knows he's getting closer. On another kick, he got a pretty good jump but the Vikings' edge protector repelled him impressively with one hand.
Kick coverage - Cover Zero
It must be frustrating for a guy like Hamsah Nasirildeen to finally get elevated to that active roster again (for the first time since week five, with this being his last allowed elevation of the year) only to not get any chances to make a play because everything is a touchback. On the positive side, Nasirildeen was tied for the lead in special teams tackles on Sunday...with zero.
On Mann's two punts, Justin Hardee and Brandin Echols got downfield well, with one being fair-caught and the other going out of bounds. Hardee felt he was held on one of these.
Return game - All Brax
The Vikings also kicked a touchback on all their kickoffs, so Braxton Berrios didn't get any chances to return those. He did return three punts for 37 yards though with Hardee blocking well on two of those.
Checking in on Berrios' numbers, he is averaging 12.4 yards per punt return and 23.6 yards per kickoff return. This would place him in the top five for each category, although he doesn't currently qualify for either.
You need 22 of either by the end of the season to qualify for the official leaderboard, so he will need eight of each over the last five games to achieve this.
DJ Reed, Sauce Gardner and Tony Adams all got beaten by the gunner to lead to fair catches. Berrios is comfortably leading the league in that category. This will be the third time in four years that he's led the league in fair catches (and he was second in the other year).
That wraps up today's analysis from the game, but we'll be back with more over the next few days...