How fast can jubilation turn to despair? About as fast as Ray Rice can slice through a crippled, shell-shocked Vikings defense.
About as fast as Joe Flacco can fire the ball down the field for a touchdown pass against a woefully over-matched back-up corner.
As fast as Adrian Peterson can get his ankle rolled up on, forcing him to limp off. As fast as Percy Harvin can get his bad shoulder banged into the turf, sending him to the showers early.
As fast as Ray Lewis can come unblocked and plant Brett Favre into the ground.
It was all going so well for the Vikings. They held a 20-10 lead going into the fourth, and looked well on their way to a 6-0 record.
And then the fourth quarter happened. One of the craziest fourth quarters you’re ever going to see.
Baltimore put up 21 points on a Vikings defense that went into the game rated among the best in the league. Meanwhile, that proud Ravens defense recovered itself after being battered early in the game.
It would take some heroism from Brett Favre for the Vikings to avert a stunning loss. Luckily, as has been the case for much of his career, Favre was up to the challenge. He hit Sidney Rice on a 58-yard bomb to put the Vikings in position for a field goal that left the Ravens behind with less than two minutes to play.
The Ravens would need some magic of their own from Joe Flacco, who spent much of the second half peeling himself off the Metrodome turf. Flacco did lead Baltimore into field goal range, but they didn’t get close enough for Steven Hauschka who missed a 44-yarder with 2 seconds on the clock.
So, in the end, the Vikings did go to 6-0. But it was ugly. Actually, it was more than ugly – it was hideous. The defensive performance in the fourth quarter was an embarrassment to the entire proud history of the Vikings and all the greats who have lined up on that side of the ball.
A victory is a victory, but this game leaves Vikings fans with a sour taste in their mouth nonetheless.