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Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The end of several eras, and the return to another

By Amanda Rykoff

Last night was all about streaks. No, I didn't see any naked guys dashing across the field. I also didn't do anything drastic to my hair. I did talk a blue streak on Twitter. Enough of the tease, let's talk About Last Night:

The streak is over: Two hours before the scheduled kickoff between the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants in Detroit, news flashed across my Twitter stream. "Brett Favre: INACTIVE." Our long national nightmare was over. Due to an ailing shoulder that even he, Mother Nature and a damaged Metrodome couldn't overcome, Vikings' quarterback Brett Favre would not suit up, ending his consecutive regular season games-started streak at an impressive 297. Favre's streak started 18 years ago, on September 27, 1992. Fun fact: Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" was the Billboard No. 1 song on that date. Rather fitting.

Giants win streak continues: Oh yes, there was a football game to be played in Detroit without Favre (though he was on the sidelines and the cameras showed him frequently). With Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback, the Vikings could not get anything going against a tough Giants defense (four sacks and one interception). After overcoming two early interceptions by quarterback Eli Manning (making his 100th consecutive start), the Giants won their third straight game, running roughshod over the Vikings 21-3. Both Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for more than 100 yards and one touchdown. The loss ended the Vikings' two-game win streak under interim head coach Leslie Frazier. For those of you who didn't get to see the game, don't worry; it was pretty ugly. For those of you who needed a big performance from Adrian Peterson in your fantasy football playoffs ... sorry. The Giants now have a short week of preparation for their NFC East showdown on Sunday against the Eagles.

Monday Night Football madness: Hope you didn't go to sleep early thinking the Ravens had that game wrapped up. If you did, you missed a stunning fourth-quarter comeback by the Texans, who trailed by 21 in the second half then tied the game at 28 behind an Andre Johnson touchdown and a two-point conversion to force overtime. After stopping the Ravens on their first possession, Houston got the ball back deep in its own territory. Moments later, the raucous home crowd fell silent as Matt Schaub's pass was intercepted by the Ravens' Josh Wilson and returned 11 yards for the walk-off touchdown to win it, 34-28. What a game. What a finish. By the way, the Ravens are now 4-0 all-time against the Texans and keeping pace with division-leading Pittsburgh.

Yankees free-agent signing streak ends: Late Monday night, reports surfaced that the Yankees were out of the Cliff Lee sweepstakes and the team's six-year, $138M deal with an option for a seventh year had been rejected. Shortly thereafter, we learned the coveted lefty pitcher had reached a preliminary agreement with the Philadelphia Phillies, the team he led to the World Series in 2009. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that the parties are working on a deal for five years and $100M-plus, plus a vesting option for a sixth year. Details about the contract are still to come. This is a stunning development. Assuming the deal proceeds, the Phillies will have a starting rotation of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt.

Mavericks win streak ends; Heat win streak continues: Behind Brandon Jennings (23 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds) and Andrew Bogut (22 points, 14 rebounds), the visiting Milwaukee Bucks snapped a seven-game losing streak in Dallas and won the fourth of their past five games. The Bucks came from 20 points behind and ended the Mavericks' 12-game winning streak with a 103-99 victory. The Bucks' victory marked the 1,800th in franchise history. Meanwhile, the red-hot Miami Heat won their ninth game in a row, defeating the New Orleans Hornets 96-84 behind Dwayne Wade's 32 points. LeBron & Co. are cruising and showing no signs of slowing down.