Having had a little less than 24 hours to digest yesterday’s game, I present my 10 Monday points:
1. Yes, that is why you bring in Brett Favre. Because when he’s on your team you feel like you are never out of the game. Even with only a few seconds left on the clock and a bunch of field in front of you, you believe Favre can make something happen. That belief will continue to exist as long as he makes plays like yesterday’s.
I know it kills certain people, but, there’s a reason people make a big deal about Favre. That magic touch is real. It’s not luck or a fluke. Not after all these years. And yes, it does feel good to be on the right side of one of those last-second miracle plays. For once, it was the other guy’s defense taking a shit when it mattered most.
2. The circumstances leading to Favre’s miracle play should never have come about. The Vikings should never have been in such desperate straits. They thoroughly outplayed the 49ers in the first half and had no business being a point down at the half. They had no business letting Shaun Hill and Vernon Davis tear them up in the second half. They damn near gave the game away; Brett Favre, Greg Lewis and Percy Harvin bailed them out.
Of everyone who is rippable for the way the Vikings played Sunday, #1 on the list is Brad Childress. I have stated in the past that I think Chilly’s conservative, stubborn, “this is who we are” approach can be good for Favre – the mad dog needs to be kept on a leash – but I think there comes a moment when you have to set that aside and let Brett be Brett. What’s the point of having him if you’re not going to let him occasionally try to win a game for you? Yes, that’s what ended up happening anyway, but like I said before, the Vikings should never have gotten in that desperate situation to begin with.
It became pretty clear, about halfway through the third quarter, that Adrian Peterson was not going to have a huge second half against the Niners defense, was not going to bust the big play, was not going to do his magic. The Niners were just flat-out stuffing him. But what does Childress do? Stick with the plan. And it almost lost him the game. Sorry, but Chilly should’ve let the dog off the leash much, much sooner. Maybe coming out of halftime.
I hope Chilly has expressed his gratitude to Brett, possibly in the form of flowers, or a new Toro.
3. The pass protection has to get better or Brett Favre is going to die. The hero is going to be reduced to a quivering bag of broken bones and someone is going to have to come scoop him up and carry him off and I do not want to see that. Chester Taylor – no more missing blitzing corners, please. And Phil Loadholt – yikes.
4. Can we now all agree that Jim Kleinsasser is utterly useless in the pass game? I loved that sideline play where Brett threw it up to him and he had absolutely no chance of coming down in bounds. You could almost hear Brett saying in his head, “Okay, so the Kleinsasser fellow isn’t nimble. Got it.”
5. The “missed a lot of preseason” excuse only goes so far for Bernard Berrian. Dude is supposed to be an almost-Pro-Bowl type receiver and he was just flat dropping balls. I said on Twitter yesterday, half-jokingly, that Berrian liked those nice soft Gus Frerotte throws better than those Favre heaters; then, not long after, one of the announcers remarked that he thinks the Vikings receivers aren’t yet used to the ball coming at them so fast, hence the drops. Hopefully this will get worked out.
6. Percy Harvin is fast. Faster than your normal fast person. And unlike other fast guys we’ve had (Troy Williamson? Kelly Campbell?), he actually catches the ball and has moves. Wow. Cool.
7. The Vikings have had some problems in recent years covering tight ends. That came up again yesterday when Vernon Davis had a career game against us. It wasn’t quite Owen Daniels-from-last-year huge, but it was pretty big. Of course, Vernon is a physically talented player, and some of those Shaun Hill passes were just pretty passes. Like that one touchdown over three defenders. That was spectacular.
8. I don’t think we’re getting the push up the middle from our defensive line that we got last year and in previous years. Doesn’t seem like Fat Pat and K-Will are playing in the backfield as much as they used to. I wonder if Pat isn’t finally winding down a little. I think Chilly may have to mix in more Fred Evans and Jimmy Kennedy to keep Pat fresh.
9. I don’t want to become a broken record about this, but, why the hell don’t we throw more screens? Isn’t keeping the defense off-balance a good thing?
10. It doesn’t matter that Chilly isn’t an inspirational leader like Mike Singletary. The Vikings players just have to find their inspiration within.
Bonus Point: Someone tell the 49ers it’s okay to pass and try to get the first down to end the game when the other team has three time outs left and is tackling your running back in the backfield. I like to help out when I can.
Tags: Adrian Peterson Bernard Berrian Brad Childress Brett Favre Chester Taylor Fred Evans Greg Lewis Gus Frerotte Jimmy Kennedy Kelly Campbell Kevin Williams Mike Singletary Minnesota Vikings Owen Daniels Pat Williams Percy Harvin Phil Loadholt San Francisco 49ers Shaun Hill Troy Williamson Vernon Davis