Another week, another decisive victory. My 10 points…
1. Brett Favre‘s performance was not his best of the season passer-rating wise, but it was his best in terms of spreading the ball around to his main receivers. Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice and Chester Taylor all caught 6 balls, and Visanthe Shiancoe caught 5 (would’ve been 6 if he hadn’t dropped that one smoking fastball Favre put right in the middle of his chest). Harvin was the top guy yardage-wise with 101, his first career 100 yard receiving game. Harvin, Taylor and Shiancoe caught touchdowns. You got the feeling that Favre could’ve thrown it to pretty much anyone on any play, and was deliberately trying to give each guy his turn. How Jeff Dugan got shut out is beyond me.
2. The story of the NFC North this year has been pass protection. The Bears don’t have any, and they have suffered. The Packers don’t have any and have been able to hold their own, except against the Vikings. The Vikings, meanwhile, have protected Brett Favre, and look where they are. It also helps when your quarterback is able to read the blitz and trusts his receivers enough to quickly throw it.
3. Orlando Pace needs to retire. What happened to him in the second half at the hands of Jared Allen reminded me of some old, worn-out pitcher just getting bombed. When it’s over, it’s over, and for Orlando Pace, it’s over.
4. Brad Childress‘s reaction when Bryant McKinnie got called for illegal man downfield on the negated Visanthe Shiancoe touchdown was priceless. Apparently, that play was just a matter of McKinnie’s momentum carrying him into the endzone after the guy he was blocking left him. Shiancoe hit the deck hard after he caught that one, only to see the TD taken away. Thankfully for him, he got another chance soon after, and this time there was no flag. But he did get folded in half on the tackle. So, he took a bit of a beating but at least he got the six.
5. Speaking of flags: There were a bunch of them. Again, I think the Vikings pretty much deserved the majority of those calls. The glaringly bad one was a holding call on Bernard Berrian near the goalline that took a TD away from Chester Taylor. The Vikings got a pretty big break when pass interference was not called on the second Cutler interception. Most of these penalties are just dumb things that you really hope don’t happen against a good team. Against the Bears, they mostly didn’t hurt.
6. After being pretty solid most of the season, the Vikings kick coverage did not distinguish itself yesterday. Yes they forced a turnover, but that was mostly on Johnny Knox for not taking care of the ball. There were two returns that came close to being housed in the first half, then the one at the start of the second half that Knox almost took all the way, that could’ve really helped turn the momentum had the Bears been able to do anything with the ball (they settled for a field goal and, frankly, I thought that was where the game ended for them). The Vikings generally have special teams misadventures against the Bears, but they usually involve Devin Hester. Yesterday, Hester was invisible (of course the Vikings only had to punt twice; another advantage to being offensively dominant).
7. Jared Allen is a fun player to watch, even when he’s doing dumb stuff like throwing the ball forward on an attempted lateral after snatching a tipped ball from the air for an interception. Again, that’s the sort of play you laugh off when you win 36-10. In a close game, you destroy the guy.
8. Jay Cutler may wonder why people root against him. I think I know why. It’s stuff like this. People get annoyed by Brett Favre because he’s over-hyped, but he never acts like a baby and slaps microphones after losses.
9. I said it all last season, and I will say it again now: This offense is at its best when Chester Taylor is involved. He had 33 rushing yards yesterday and 51 receiving yards. He had a touchdown reception, and would’ve scored a rushing TD on the play that was called back for Berrian’s hold. The man has skills.
10. Saved this for last, because I didn’t want to seem like I was being too negative in the wake of such a convincing victory. But, it needs to be addressed. I don’t really know how to say this politely so I’ll just say it this way:
ADRIAN PETERSON NEEDS TO STOP FUMBLING THE BALL RIGHT THE F**K NOW!
Seriously. Not cool. And yes, to the one or two of you who may have looked in on my tweets yesterday, I was serious when I said they should sit Adrian for the rest of the game after that second fumble. It was pretty obvious we were going to win, and didn’t really need Peterson. And yes, I know, Peterson’s presence forces defenses to play up which makes it easier to pass. I get all that. But, if a guy keeps fumbling, at some point you have no choice but to reduce his carries. For the good of the team. This situation needs to get fixed and it needs to get fixed fast.
Topics: Adrian Peterson, Bernard Berrian, Brad Childress, Brett Favre, Bryant Mckinnie, Chester Taylor, Chicago Bears, Devin Hester, Green Bay Packers, Jared Allen, Jay Cutler, Jeff Dugan, Johnny Knox, Minnesota Vikings, Orlando Pace, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Visanthe Shiancoe