When Brett Favre announced earlier today that he thought he might have a cracked rib, the door was opened for a few cynics to suggest the veteran quarterback was merely lining up some handy excuses should he stink up the joint in his first (and likely only) extended preseason appearance of the year.
These cynics – I don’t know any of them personally, but I know they’re out there – owe Brett an apology after his performance on Monday night against the Houston Texans.
Favre, playing the entire first half with the first-team Vikings offense, quieted the naysayers by going 9-13 for 105 yards, 1 touchdown and, most importantly, no interceptions. He capped off the half by orchestrating an efficient and, by Vikings standards, professional-looking two minute drill, ending in a lovely Chester Taylor screen pass for a touchdown (To be fair, the drive likely would’ve stalled had the Texans not been called for a bogus roughing-the-passer penalty. I know the league wants to protect Favre but jeez.)
It wasn’t all pretty for Favre of course. He did hit the deck a lot more than he would’ve liked, and in between the two Vikings scoring drives, there was a whole lot of punting going on. There was also a blown scoring chance courtesy of Percy Harvin who failed to stretch out on a nice-looking toss into the corner of the endzone.
But, all-in-all, the fans have to be happy with what they saw Monday night from Favre. He threw some balls with zip. He showed touch. He demonstrated the command of the offense everyone assumed he’d have coming in. And, perhaps most importantly, he displayed a calm assurance and steady leadership that has been sorely lacking during most of the Tarvaris Jackson era.
Now he just has to do it all in the regular season, when the games actually count.
Update: Bonus Favre – Brett, obviously feeling frisky, stayed in the game in the third quarter, and in the midst of leading a failed drive, blocked Eugene Wilson low on a Wildcat play, knocking Wilson out of the game. And the most shocking thing about the play? He actually got ripped by the MNF announcers. Yes, Brett Favre can be criticized by ESPN employees.