Tis a sad day to be a Vikings fan. With a 2-3 record and a matchup against a hurting Packers squad, the Vikings had a shot to get to .500 for the first time this season. Then Brett Favre happened. I said it last week and I’ll say it again, as it rings ever true: live by the Favre, die by the Favre. The Packers won this game 28-24 on the whim of Favre’s gimpy left ankle and the ensuing desperation that spawned from it.
After consecutive three-and-outs for the Vikings offense, Favre and the boys finally got it going, as Favre finally completed some passes. The drive culminated in a Percy Harvin touchdown run. The two offenses performed evenly in the first half, as the Vikings led at halftime 17-14.
The second half is where everything fell apart for Favre. He could not overcome three drive killing interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. After two touchdowns in one minute, the Vikings had lost their halftime lead and found themselves down 28-17.
The Vikings had one more comeback bid down 28-24, but Favre’s follies proved to be too much in the end, including the final two throws of the game that were intended for Harvin and Randy Moss but were overthrown. Another close one and another letdown.
Some observations from the game:
Adrian Peterson ran like an animal possessed, as usual, gaining 131 yards on 28 carries to go along with a touchdown. He also caught a little dump-off pass for 26 yards on the final drive. He totaled 41 yards receiving. The Packers had no answer for AP and the Vikings could a great job of capitalizing.
Brad Childress never had a place in my heart, but after this game, I think he does; and for all of the wrong reasons. First of all, why, in all that is good in the game of football, did he not challenge Andrew Quarless’ touchdown catch in the back of the end zone in the second quarter? He was clearly out of bounds! That was on third down! They could have been held to a field goal had he challenged the catch! Unbelievable. The score gave the Packers a 14-7 lead, which ended up being crucial.
Secondly, what are you doing running the clock out on the first half with a chance to increase the lead? You have two timeouts to use; AP just ran the ball 14 yards to the Vikings 38 yard line with about 20 seconds left; Moss just caught a bomb downfield, albeit it was called back (still not sure if that little nudge Moss gave warranted offensive pass interference)… So what is the point of running out the clock?!?! 20 more yards and Ryan Longwell could have attempted a field goal. Watching the game, I had my hands spread to the side, wondering what Childress was thinking. Then I see the camera shift to Moss, who is doing the same thing I was. Those were two golden opportunities to improve the Vikings’ chances, but they were wasted.
The secondary was shaky all game long. They gave up 107 yards on just four catches to a third or fourth option in James Jones. Greg Jennings caught his fair share of balls, one for a touchdown. On the other hand, the pick in the end zone at the end of the first half by Madieu Williams that started with a tip by backup corner Frank Walker was huge. Too bad they chose not to get anything going afterwards…
The Vikings defense went sackless. Aaron Rodgers was untouched the whole game. The Packer offensive line did a spectacular job on Jared Allen and Co. After a while, the Vikings lineman just dropped back to play the pass after failing to get to Rodgers. That proved to be successful. Allen got an intreception and two pass deflections utilizing this strategy.
Harvin was huge again. With the right quarterback, he can be explosive. He had 41 rushing yards and a touchdown as well as 65 yards receiving on five catches. He also gained 81 yards on kickoff returns, giving the Vikings good field position on a couple occasions. Moss’ presence continues to have a positive impact on Harvin. The Packers safeties played 15-16 yards back from the line of scrimmage on a number of plays to prevent the deep ball, which opened up the middle of the field. Harvin is making the case for MVP of this team. That is, after Adrian Peterson of course.
Bernard Berrian caught a pass for 30 yards!!! Bernard Berrian caught a pass for 30 yards!!! Bernard Berrian caught a pass for 30 yards!!!
All three of Favre’s picks were costly. The first one where he re-injured his left ankle is understandable because he was getting hit from behind. The hit changed the trajectory of the ball right into the hands of A.J. Hawk. The second one was just awful. As he was about to get hit, he panicked and through it right into the waiting arms of Desmond Bishop. Take the sack and move on to the next play. This was the worst one of them all, as it was returned for a touchdown. The third one came in the fourth quarter after the Vikings stopped Brandon Jackson on fourth inches. Nick Collins simply leaped in front of Harvin to make the airborne pick.
Visanthe Shiancoe’s diving catch in the end zone was ruled a touchdown, then was overturned because he apparently used the ground to catch the ball. The Vikings settled for a field goal. But check this out. This is absolutely awesome. Childress called the vice president of officiating Carl Johnson specifically about the call (among others). He acknowledged the call was a mistake, stating that he was disappointed that the call was reversed. Excellent.
Allow me to rant here for a little bit. I seem to recall this happening before, such as Calvin Johnson’s overturned touchdown catch in their last second defeat in Week 1. How about the Dolphins-Steelers situation this week? What about the other calls on the field of the Vikings and Packers game? What is going on with officiating? It’s a good thing replays have been implemented into today’s game. Half of the calls being made on the field are horrible ones. Something has to be done! The Vikings, based on Quarless’ “touchdown” and Shiancoe’s called back touchdown, should have won this game. And imagine if Harvin’s touchdown catch at the end of the game actually stood, despite clearly having one foot out of bounds? Replays have saved officials in the NFL. Officials in the NFL either need to be fired or get a new pair of glasses. They truly are the worst in the four major sports.
The Vikings had the ball for the final six minutes. Penalties and errant throws doomed their comeback bid. Phil Loadholt’s 15-yard facemask penalty on Shiancoe’s reception in Green Bay territory was killer. Favre put the icing on the cake with the two overthrows, although he did his best to stay on his own two feet. He played pretty much the entire second half on one leg.
I clapped and carried on the loudest I have when watching a football game since the NFC Championship Game after Harvin made that miraculous catch after Favre fell down. If only replay didn’t exist! The Vikings would have won this game!
Regarding all of this backlash from Childress supposedly trowing his quarterback under the bus: that’s bull crap. Childress had every right to do that. He, coupled with the officials, lost the game for them (oh, and don’t leave out coach). You can’t always be Mr. Sunshine when your hall of fame quarterback costs you a winnable game. Childress expressed his frustration, unmasked and unfiltered.
Tarvaris Jackson should start next week against the Patriots. I don’t care what Favre says, he is not playing next week. Childress needs to take a stand and announce the starter immediately. I can’t take this anymore. Favre is ruining my drinking habits (but not really)!
By Josh Delp of the Sports Fan Blog Network