Monday, October 12, 2009
2009 WEEK 4: THE JARED ALLEN SHOW, NO ANTOINE STOLE IT
Once the game started, all football fans got a real treat (except Packers fans of course). Brett Favre facing off against his old team drew in 21.8 million viewers tuning in to the Monday night affair, the highest rating ever in ESPN's 30 year broadcast history.
This was an old fashion shoot out with both teams putting 7 points on the board in the first quarter. Favre threw another touch down pass across his body to his very talented and large tight end Visante Shancoe. Unfortunately our defense let up a huge 65 yard score when Tyrell Johnson broke a cardinal rule on defense: when you are the only player in space between an offensive player and the end zone, wrap your arms around him. Johnson tried to throw down a vicious hit and over ran Jermichael Finley. Wrap your arms around him, even if he doesn't go down your teammates can come help bring him down. Poor play by Tyrell Johnson.
The second quarter was when Vikings fans realized that it was indeed Favre's night. With the running game hitting a wall, Favre made so many veteran reads finding any open target and sometimes "looking" defenders away with his eyes. This lead the Vikings back to the red zone where Favre hit another one of his favorite targets Sidney Rice for the 18 yard touchdown when it was 3rd and 11. Well done old man.
The Vikings defense then pummeled the Packers offense and caused them to punt the ball right back to us, causing everything to roll in our favor. But then rookie Packers LB Clay Matthews made one of the plays of the night ripping the ball out of AP's grasp as he was being gang tackled. Clay took the ball down the sideline to the house to tie the game at 14 a piece. Though AP has been criticized for his fumbling fingers, this fumble was definitely not his fault. Sometimes in the NFL, players make plays. Just like you cannot blame the Browns for trying and failing to tackle AP in Week 1. Clay Matthews made a big play.
However, the Vikings offensive unit continued to roll on as Favre continued his assault on the Packers aging secondary. By this I mean finally getting Bernard Berrian into the end zone. Al Harris has been overrated in my book for a couple of years now because of his aging body slowing him down, and his vulnerability was displayed in the second half. Bernard and Farve picked on the slow dread locked Packer.
A really good sign for the Vikings was the pass rush our purple combatants put on Aaron Rodgers the entire game. The Vikings front four especially worked well to force the issue by notching 7 of the 8 sacks on Rodgers. Jared Allen was in Aaron Rodgers mind's eye whether he was in the backfield or not because he put Rodgers on the turf 4.5 times of the course of the game. Allen also notched 6 tackles, a safety and a forced fumble. It was one of the greatest performances by a defensive end I have seen in football.
Both Jennings and Driver for the most part were shut down amidst the Packers 384 yards of passing. That says a lot about our two stud corners Antoine Winfiled and Cedric Griffin. It also says a lot about our zone passing coverage and nickel packages. The Packer formula of dump passes, quick routes, and screens could spell disaster for the Vikings if they cannot consistently stop small passing plays turning into huge ones.
AP had yet another quite game against the 3-4 defensive scheme. He was never established because he never showed any flashes of light to make the coaches even want to continue handing the ball off to him. It was obvious early that it was Farve's night so the offense was structured around him. While I understand great backs have sub par games, the last two have been a far cry from the domination fans saw in Week 1.