Favre's new favorite receiver just keeps fighting through the
contact and coming up with the ball, perhaps finally making
Minnesota fans forget Randy Moss.
Favre passed for a season-high 344 yards, 201 to Rice, and the
Vikings overcame several self-inflicted setbacks to beat the
Detroit Lions 27-10 on Sunday.
"Sidney never surprises me," said Adrian Peterson, who rushed
for 133 yards and two touchdowns. "I have a nickname for him, and
it's 'Showtime.' He's got it tattooed on his arm. It fits him
Thanks to Favre's arrival at quarterback and a summer spent
working out with some of the game's greatest receivers, Rice has
emerged as quite a threat for the surging Vikings (8-1). What he
lacks in speed he has made up for with precision, position and
"It seems like each game he's getting better and better," said
left tackle Bryant McKinnie. "Some of those catches are definitely
The Lions (1-8) joined the Houston Oilers, from Nov. 21, 1982
through Nov. 4, 1984, as the only NFL teams to lose 31 games in a
33-game stretch, according to STATS.
"You see the progress and see that we're improving,"
linebacker Julian Peterson said. "We just can't get over that
After a slew of injuries and more poor pass coverage, the Lions
dropped their 12th straight at the Metrodome despite keeping
another game close for three quarters.
"We came in with our first goal, which was to stop Adrian
Peterson, but with Favre landing bombs like he did it was kind of
hard," linebacker DeAndre Levy said. "It throws off everyone,
from the D-line to the cornerbacks."
Peterson lost a fumble and threw a bad pitch to Percy Harvin for
another turnover, both inside the Detroit 20 in the first half. The
Vikings committed a season-most 13 penalties, totaling 91 yards.
"We're not here to try to impress people," linebacker Ben Leber said. "We're here to get some wins."
The Favre-Rice combination has been impressive, particularly in
the past month. In the past four games, Rice has 27 receptions for
"Anyone can be stopped, but he sure is difficult to cover,"
Favre said. "The type of plays he makes I think is what we all
expect him to do."
Rice wasn't healthy much of last season, but he never found that
connection with Tarvaris Jackson. Fittingly, when Jackson relieved
Favre late in the game, Rice dropped his first throw.
Rice compared jockeying for the ball to boxing out for a rebound
in basketball, a sport he considers his second favorite. Beyond
that, what's the secret to his success with Favre?
"Just communication and trust," Rice said.
Matthew Stafford has had a rough rookie season, learning on the
go with the Lions still dogged by glaring weaknesses a year after
becoming the first 0-16 team in NFL history. This was his second
game without an interception even against a fierce Vikings pass
rush, though, and his receivers dropped a handful of passes.
"I'm not worried about Matt," coach Jim Schwartz said. "Good
gracious. We don't need to sit there and worry about him every
single time. It's about this team, and we didn't handle their
Kevin Smith's fumble - forced and recovered by Ray Edwards, who
was all over the field - on the first play of the third quarter set
up Peterson for a 27-yard run and a 1-yard score to stretch the
lead to 17-3.
Stafford finished 29 for 51 for 224 yards and one touchdown,
which brought the Lions within 17-10. They were going for it on
fourth-and-1 at the Minnesota 48 late in the third quarter, but
with the crowd roaring they called timeout to talk it over and then
decided to punt.
Early in the fourth, Favre found Rice open for a 56-yard pass to
set up a short touchdown toss to Jeff Dugan, essentially sealing
the victory and moving the Vikings closer to clinching the NFC
Rice's drop cost him the team single-game record, set by
Sammy White with 210 yards against the Lions in 1976. He punished
himself on the sideline afterward with 25 pushups. ... The Lions
held FS Louis Delmas out with an infected tooth, and his
replacement Marquand Manuel left later after hurting his shoulder.
... Edwards was flagged for unnecessary roughness after hurdling a
cut block with a Superman-style leap to take down Stafford and
force an incompletion on third down at the 13, leading to Detroit's
only TD. Childress called NFL officiating VP Mike Pereira after the
game to complain about that call, and he said Pereira agreed with
him that it wasn't a penalty.