Third and one: Vikings

December, 29, 2009
12/29/09
2:30
PM ET
After Minnesota’s 36-30 loss at Chicago, here are three (mostly) indisputable facts I feel relatively sure about:

  1. For all of the fuss we made about Brett Favre’s recent poor performances in cold weather, he warmed up pretty well Monday night. After halftime, Favre completed 21 of 31 passes for 285 yards. His use of the clock on the Vikings’ final drive of regulation was masterful, and his fourth-down touchdown pass to receiver Sidney Rice was both predictable and perfectly executed. Even if you judge with a curve based on the Bears’ injury-depleted secondary, you still can’t classify Favre’s performance as anything other than good. Favre, however, was a bit more cynical Monday night. “I thought I played about as good a game as I can play,” he said. “[But] we didn’t win, so I guess that will fall into the ‘Brett can’t play in the cold weather’ category.”
  2. Monday night marked the second time this season an opposing player has burst through the middle of the Vikings’ line to block a kick. Monday night, Israel Idonije blew past long-snapper Cullen Loeffler to block Ryan Longwell’s first extra-point attempt in the third quarter. You never know how the game would have progressed differently, but mathematically the block was the difference in the game. A similar instance occurred in Week 3 on a field goal attempt against San Francisco, resulting in a touchdown.
  3. We celebrated cornerback Antoine Winfield’s return two weeks ago against Cincinnati, but Monday night it appeared he was the culprit on at least two of Jay Cutler’s touchdown passes. Winfield had no defense for Bears tight end Greg Olsen’s 7-yard scoring reception, and receiver Devin Aromashodu simply ran past him on the game-winning 39-yard score. Winfield has mentioned that his sprained foot won’t be completely healthy until the offseason, and the Bears were wise to test him.
And here is one question I’m still asking:

Did Monday night’s game prove the points Favre reportedly made last week about freedom and opening up the offense? The Vikings threw nine passes and ran 14 times in the first half in falling behind 16-0. They threw 31 times and ran 16 running plays thereafter in outscoring the Bears 30-20. It was also notable that Favre twice tried to prevent a personnel substitution on the goal line so he could quick-count the Bears. He was successful on one of those two occasions. I’m not sure what this means in the context of the Favre-Brad Childress feud, but I think it means neither party was totally wrong.

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