October 25th, 2010
I don’t like watching the Vikings lose any game, so watching them lose to the Packers Sunday night, when the game was definitely winnable, was especially difficult. As in their previous three losses, they were one-to-two plays away from winning the game by 10 or more. Alas, they’re now 2-4, staring at a promising season slowly going south.
Fans will rip Brett Favre for the interceptions in the 2nd half, which weren’t pretty, but I see that he and Randy Moss still aren’t clicking through almost four weeks of being together. It looks like Moss isn’t quite clear, yet, on where he’s supposed to be, and the timing on their routes, when Favre looks to his side, is off.
Usually, with Moss, the team would want to take two or three shots down the field with him. The only one I remember, outside of the two on the last drive where they were just a couple jump balls that went out of bounds, was the pass interference at the end of the first half. Otherwise, no fades, no quick slants or any other quick hitters to try to get him into open space.
On the flip side, Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson have been electric the last couple weeks. They are a great duo and two weapons I am convinced the Vikings will utilize more in the coming weeks. They can get into open space and not many defenders will bring them down on first contact. These guys are the real deal, and the Vikings offense needs to continue to revolve around them to try to turn the Vikings season around.
It was good to see Favre get Visanthe Shiancoe more involved in the game, as well. He caught a couple big passes in the first half to keep drives alive. And no one will convince me that his catch in the end zone was not a touchdown. He had possession throughout the catch, and it doesn’t matter that the tip of the ball hit the ground in the “process” of the catch. He didn’t mishandle the football at all, and the refs missed one there, costing the Vikings four points.
The refs actually missed four end zone calls, correcting two with replay (Harvin on the sideline and in the back of the end zone), missing the Shiancoe catch after replay and giving the Packers tight end the touchdown early in the game when replay would have overturned it. Vikings coaches missed throwing the challenge flag on that, but the Packers were given seven points.
I loved hearing Coach Childress with fire in his voice after the game in the press conference and in the locker room talking with Greg Coleman on KFAN-AM 1130. He knew how important the game was, saw his players throw it away, not make one more play, and not getting any favors from the guys in stripes, which shouldn’t be expected on the road at Lambeau. But we at least expect them to get the easy calls correct, whether it’s right in front of them or upon review.
The two penalties when the Vikings had 1st and 10 at the Packers 15 with about a minute left in the 4th quarter were killer. They were moving the ball, and they had so many options – I was convinced Percy was getting his third touchdown of the game. Alas, Favre’s pass to him in the back of the end zone was just a few inches out, and I think he just missed Moss on 4th down. Part of me thinks Moss had alligator arms on it, and if he would have (could have??) extended more, he catches it. I will have to watch it again, but a little more effort might have made the difference.
A little more effort in a few areas would have made the difference, actually. The defense played pretty well after the first quarter, but they didn’t sack Aaron Rodgers once. He heard some footsteps, leading to some really bad throws that were not close to his receivers. It would have been nice to see one of the Vikings’ defensive backs run the other way with it. Jared Allen made the nice pick early, but disappeared again.
The Packers showed nothing that convinces me they will make a run as the season progresses and in the playoffs. As a Vikings fan, this gives me hope, even with the 2-4 record. They have three road losses (Saints, Jets & now Packers), and have made each of those Super Bowl-hopeful teams look pretty pedestrian. The NFC is down with no team wanting to take control.
And the Vikings don’t have the same magic they had last year. They win each of these three games last year, and I guess they win Sunday night if the Packers touchdown is overturned and Shiancoe gets his. That’s a ten-point swing, and when Favre is making one-to-two decisions each game that go the other way, it’s too much to overcome.
If they are 2-5 after next week’s game at New England, the season is about over. Sure, the Vikings could win seven of eight in the second half of the season versus the teams on the schedule, and they will need to in order to make the playoffs. I thought they’d win 10 or 11 and win the NFC North, but at this point, I’ll take 9-7, sneak into the playoffs, and go from there.
The team is talented, so they just need to win some of these close games, instead of being on the wrong end and needing one more play. Hopefully it starts on Halloween in New England.