Tonight the Minnesota Vikings dropped to 1-3 with a close loss to the New York Jets. The Vikings had a drive to win the game, but through an interception making the final score 29-20.
I can think of three things instantly.
Moss added another dimension to the offense that it was severely lacking. Not only did Randy catch 4 passes for 81 YDS and a TD, but he also opened up the field for Harvin who finished the night with 5 REC, 97 YDS, and 2TD. As will be discussed more later, the offense was only able to move the ball for one and a half quarters.
The defense. Look at the scoreboard and see 29 points? Looks are deceiving. Take away three short fields (2 on turnovers, 1 on kickoff return) and a pick six by Favre that led to a total of 16 points, and the defense gave up just 13 points. On the other hand, there were no turnovers, a lot of running yards (155 to be exact), and a handful of would-be interceptions dropped.
It was also nice to see the offense look threatening, even if it was for only the last 20 minutes of the game. It was the first time I saw our playmakers in the passing game actually make plays. Harvin had 2 TD, Moss impressed with chances for more, and the O-Line starting picking up the blitz. Oh, and Favre actually smiled and jumped around a couple times.
The ground game could not get going. There are numerous reasons for this. Probably the greatest reason being the Jets are the best in the NFL against the run. Peterson finished the night with 88 YDS on only 18 CAR. Coach Childress may have abandoned the run to early again, but the Vikings were digging a hole to deep for the running game to dig them out of.
Even though Moss and Harvin put up good numbers, sometimes the Vikings receivers looked to be on different pages with Favre as seen throughout the first three games. Too many passes were just out of the reach of the receivers or into traffic. Now that lands on Favre, but not everything did. The best example of this was Randy Moss running a go route in the first quarter into double coverage. If Moss had broken the route off short, like Favre thought he would, he would have caught a 20 yard pass that instead fell incomplete. It is an understandable mistake being as it is only Moss’ first game, but plays like that could have got the offense into rhythm much earlier.
And The Ugly:
You can not play good football for 20 minutes and expect to win, especially against a top five team. Those 20 great minutes of offense produced 20 points. The offense was MIA, no make it AWOL, for the other 40 minutes. The first nine drives consisted of 58 total yards, 6 punts, and 2 turnovers. Unacceptable. The final six drives went for 247 yards and 20 points. A Monday Night Football broadcaster compared this game to last years game against the Bears at Soldier Field. At first my eyes rolled, but by the end of the game I felt the exact same way. Truth is we had a chance to win in both games, but we only played good football for half the games.
I do not think the Jets were thrilled with how they played either, especially late. If I have to give out a game ball it should go to the offensive line and maybe throw in LT and Shonn Greene. They ran for 155 YDS and a huge TD. The O-Line also protected Sanchez quite well all day, but they made their money on the blocking seen on all those counter running plays.
On the Vikings side, I will give a game towel to Randy Moss. He has given us some hope in just one week, even if we did lose tonight.
I should finally be returning to Winter Park this week. Check back throughout the week for NFL Power Rankings, Preview of next weekends game at Lambeau, and more.