As a member of the audience for this game, you wouldn’t be faulted if you looked at the field and felt completely underwhelmed by the matchup. For the Patriots, starting QB Taleb Zaidi found himself hindered by car issues. So who would find themselves in the Jimmy Garropolo (or in this case, Jacoby Brissett) role? None other than captain Muhammad Ali. Having not attempted a pass this season, it looked like the Patriots would struggle to obtain their second win of the season. For the Vikings, starting QB Hisham Ali was off adventuring somewhere in the Caribbean… And once again, you find the team captain stepping up to the challenge. While Ali Haroon, whose last attempt at QB resulted in a stat line of 24/28 and 10 passing touchdowns, lined up at WR, captain Mujtaba Abidi thought his season 11.1% completion percentage could will the Vikings to victory.
As for the first half of this game, apart from a few great plays by our makeshift QBs, I won’t waste your time with a recap. Just picture the Cleveland Browns facing the Jacksonville Jaguars.
On the other hand, the last few drives of this game compacted the excitement of a Warriors-Cavaliers series into the span of three minutes. After an injury put Mujtaba Abidi on the bench, QB Ali Haroon took control of the offense as he should’ve from the start. The scoring connection of Muhammad Ali to Shabbir Rizvi kept the Patriots’ lead at one with the clock rapidly approaching zero. But a laser dart to Shoaib Mamdani brought the score to even once again. Showing his worth, as he earned himself the Offensive Player of the Week, Shabbir Rizvi took a short route to the house after the Vikings continue on their season-long trend of missing flags. Four Vikings’ games this season have been decided by a point or less (2-1-1 record), so a close game doesn’t come as a surprise to them. Many expected another quick dart and a tie for the standings. All that changed when Ahmed Goralwalla hauled in a majestic one-handed interception, which looked like it should be gracing the cover of Madden NFL 18, and propelled the Patriots back into third place.
In what could have easily been labeled as a “trap” game for the 1st place Colts, especially against the surging Texans, this game turned out the exact way most people expected it to. The Colts came up with a lead, steadily continued building the lead, and the Texans didn’t have enough firepower to match.
The most telling stat of the season for the Texans comes down to this: against all other teams, the team averages almost 7 points a game; in three matchups against the Colts, this Texans team has averaged almost THREE points a game. Offensively, even though the Colts couldn’t force QB Salim Ladha to commit a turnover, the Texans struggled to put the ball in the zone. Although, it seemed like they passed midfield on every drive, they could only muster up three touchdowns, including one ricochet off a defender that landed in Omar Khamissa’s hands. While it was tough enough for them to score, it seemed just as tough to keep the Colts out of the end zone.
On the other hand, the Colts were scoring with relative ease. QB Kumail Meghani continued on his MVP campaign, spreading the love to all of his receivers as has been his M.O. for the year. Receivers Farhan Ratansi, Murtaza Shah, and Mujahid Hemani each caught two touchdowns with captain Imran Ebrahim hauling in one of his own. The Colts are clicking on all cylinders, tied for the most points in the league but allowing the fewest. It’s not surprising that they have the top two flag grabbers in the league (Farhan Ratansi and Imran Ebrahim). Their rematch against the Vikings this weekend should really be another major test on their road to 9-0.