Judging from the comments we received, people enjoyed my segment where I went toe to toe with a Niners fan prior to Sunday’s game. I had the pleasure of watching this game with Ryan, a very good friend and a very good sport, and couldn’t help but feel very bad for him. Brett Favre broke his heart in the exact way he has broken mine so many times over the years. I have pity for Ryan. I can relate.
And while some people are going to give me a good deal of flack (yes, even some writers on this site) about Favre pulling off a “W” when all hope was seemingly lost, I am not ready to anoint Favre as our savior.
I’ve predicted this from the beginning. Ever since April I have said that Favre would present the Vikings faithful with a mirage. I said that the Vikes schedule left us all open to blind optimism. I said that the Favre hype going into week four was going to be through the roof. And, most importantly, I said that I will not eat crow on this until much later in the season.
The true tests will come not against the Browns or the Lions. The true test will not even come against a Niners team missing their best player for 97% of the game. The true tests will come against good teams, my friends. The true tests will come against the Packers, Ravens, and Steelers. Plus the Giants, Cardinals and Bears. This whole thing has happened by design, and I have been aware of it since before the guy even signed with the team. If Favre wins this team a Super Bowl, then I will be happy to eat my words.
Now, onto some other points about the game:
The Favre We Were Waiting For
As expected, the Vikings unleashed Favre today. He threw a whopping 46 passes, completing 24. He became the first quarterback in the Childress era to toss a 300 yard game. He ended with 2 touchdowns and 1 pick.
Chester Gets Back On Track
Chester struggled against the Browns and Lions a bit, but rebounded in a big way today. He led the team with 7 catches for 70 yards. He also had 16 yards on the ground. Taylor showed why he is so valuable on third downs.
Good To See Sidney Doing Well
I am a huge Sidney Rice supporter. He scored the Vikings first touchdown today, and ended up with 4 catches for 56 yards. After a somewhat slow start to his career, Rice is on his way to being a productive member of this passing game. Not to mention his run blocking ability.
Percy Harvin didn’t practice at all this week. It didn’t matter. Harvin continued his one-touchdown-per-game streak today by returning a kick for 101 yards and a score. He also had 4 catches for 51 yards, a couple of which came at key times in the 4th quarter. Harvin is making a case for rookie of the year thus far.
Live And Die
The Vikings got a boost out of special teams when Harvin returned that kick. However, the blocked field goal for a touchdown provided the opponent with a ten point swing at half time. The line broke down so badly on this play that one has to wonder if this will continue to be an issue.
Glad Henderson Was In
I think the sole difference in this game was the availability of E.J. Henderson. He was all over the field and led the team with 8 solo tackles and 5 assists. Henderson is the leader of this defense, and while I have faith that Jasper Brinkley is a solid football player, I love watching E.J. do his thing.
What A Difference 3rd Downs Make
The Niners had a 0% success rate on third down. The Vikings had a 50% success rate. 50% is the highest I’ve seen that number in a long time. Also, credit the Vikings defense on holding them every single time on third. Think about it, the only reason we had that chance at the end was because our defense stopped the Niners three times in a row.
Improvement On The Line
Brett Favre was only sacked twice this week. That is pretty good improvement over the seven combined sacks in the previous two games. Phil Loadholt and John Sullivan looked completely comfortable today and did a nice job stepping up against a pretty solid defensive line.