Shutdown Corner - NFL

Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith had an outstanding game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football -- he caught nine passes for 157 yards and a touchdown in Carolina's surprising 26-7 victory over the Vikings. But as commendable as his on-field exploits were, his post-game interview with NBC Sports Andrea Kremer was far more memorable. Kremer asked Smith what the win meant to the 5-8 Panthers.

"You know, first, you know, I just gotta thank my Lord Jesus Christ, you know, without him we wouldn't be here. But, 5-8 or 8-5, you gotta play. This is why I feed my family. This is why I grew up on the B. You know, I wanna be on this field, I play for keeps. And so, it's just an opportunity to display my God-given ability, and also, uh, the whole team, and, uh, what our fans mean to us. That's our job, and we gotta play no matter what the score is or what the record."

Kremer then asked Smith about the root cause of his fired-up nature on the field -- he seemed more demonstrative than usual.

"You know, uh... You know, #22 [Vikings cornerback Benny Sapp(notes)] had something to say to me on the field. So, little youngster (note: Sapp is 28) ... (he was) just telling me who he is, so I had to establish the rules and regulations of the game."

When asked what the "rules of the game" were, Smith was succinct: "89." Dramatic pause. "Bottom line. That's why he going home."

What were Smith's thoughts about the need to run to win this game? "You still gotta run to win this game, you know, you gotta have runs after the catch, and the bottom line is, is team with the most, most points at the end or the most yards. The team that makes the least amount of mistakes."

This makes more sense than anything I've heard since Jared Allen(notes) insisted that any real mullet-carrier must ask for extra mayonnaise at all times. The key to victory is indeed to have the most points, or the most yards, or the fewest mistakes. Or a combination thereof. Steve Smith is a veritable kaleidoscope of thought.

(H/T to Football Outsiders compadre Bill Barnwell for transcribing the interview. We'll try to get video, or a link to video, up as soon as possible.)

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