The shot was priceless. NBC was in the middle of showing the Vikings’ opening touchdown drive against the Cards last week when cameras caught running back Tim Hightower — who had lost a fumble moments before to give the Vikings possession — looking out on the field, by himself, holding a football tight in the crook of his arm.
What exactly does happen in the moments after a fumble like that? Beanie Wells went through it early in the game against both St. Louis and Tennessee (the Cards kept the drop against the Titans). Then Hightower.
“You can’t ignore him because then he’ll think he’s done something wrong,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “You can’t go over and jump on him. Listen, Tim is as conscious as anybody on our team. He understands what’s happened and it’s killing him. You certainly have to be supportive, but you also have to say, ‘You understand we can’t have that.’ ”
Hightower has fumbled four times this season, losing three. Technically, Wells has only been credited with three fumbles this season — losing one — but he was never credited with a clear fumble in Seattle (that the Cards kept) and his dropped pitch plays in St. Louis and Tennessee (lost, kept) aren’t officially given to Beanie either.
Regardless, they are plays that can’t happen. Hightower, as Whisenhunt said, knows this and doesn’t need to hear from people on the subject.
“I like to be left alone,” Hightower said. “I just need to think. You don’t need to overthink but I don’t need a whole bunch of people in my ear telling me I put the ball on the ground. I go to my coach and ask, Did you see, was it a certain way I was carrying?’ I go to Beanie, because as running backs we look for that on a fumble. He may see the tip was down or it was away from you at a certain point. I see what could I have done better. From there, I am moving forward.
“But I will say, I appreciate and have a great deal of respect in the head coach, he came to me and told me they have confidence in me and they were going to come right back to you. That means a lot coming from the head coach. And the offensive line, Anquan, even the defense, that is a sign of this team, guys rallied around me. That makes you feel appreciated and respected. You feel almost more determined. You know you have to make a play for them.”
Tags: Beanie Wells, Ken Whisenhunt, Tim Hightower
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