Minnesota has never seen a performance at the quarterback postition like the one Brett Favre gave them Sunday. They'll likely never see another one like it after Number Four is finally retired for good, either.
I'm not talking about the stat line, even though it wasn't bad—26-46 / 301 yards / two TDs/ 1 INT. I'm not talking about his yardage, his QB rating, his TD/INT ratio, or even his team's total offensive production against the San Fransisco 49ers.
I'm talking about the punishment he absorbed from the first series to the last, and the resolve he showed to win. Brett Favre left his guts on the field last Sunday. They were seemingly knocked clean out of his torso at times.
On the Vikings first possession on third and nine, Michael Lewis came on a delayed saftey blitz and blasted Brett to the turf, forcing an incompletion. Second series: Manny Lawson slobber-knocked him on third and seven, although the drive kept going because of a defensive holding call.
The game would go on like this until the final play, when he was jack-slapped a half second after he delivered the game winning pass with two seconds left in regulation.
Favre got his own revenge in the fourth, running down field and taking out the biggest, baddest mother on the field. After completing an absolute bullet to Bernard Berrian from their own four yard line, Brett sprinted exactly 45 yards in traffic, lined a bead on Patrick Willis, and blasted him out of the play.
Time and time again, Brett Favre took shots from the Niners while trying to make a completion.
Mark Roman came untouched on a corner blitz and flattenend him late second quarter. The next series, Justin Smith was flagged for coming low on Favre. His helmet hit the side of his knee sending him immediately down to the turf.
That hit was the same hit put on Tom Brady and Carson Palmer in the years past.
At first look, it didn't seem Brett would get back up on his own power. And yet when it counted the most in the final series, he was still trying harder than anyone else on the filed.
Favre went six-for-eight in forward pass attempts in just over a minute, and completed the 32-yard game-winner on a rope.
But it wasn't as if Brett was the only player that mattered on the field sunday. The special teams units for both squads made significant contributions in scoring plays. Darius Reynuad returned a second quarter punt that set up the Vikings' first field goal and a ten point lead.
The 49ers, before half time, blocked the Vikings' long field goal attempt and returned it for a touchdown, shocking the Vikings and the crowd.
Before that play, San Fransisco had been badly outplayed in all phases of the game. Yet after they took a one-point lead into the locker room.
After the half, Percy Harvin scored his first return TD on a kickoff—and the first return allowed in the league since the new wedge rule—that swung the momentum back to the Vikings.
But in all sense of reality, this game was all about Brett Favre and his will to win.
Brett not only battled the Niners defense, he also outlived numerous dropped and deflected balls by his own teammates.
Berrian, Shiancoe and even Percy Harvin had the ball riccochet wildy off their hands, numbers, and facemasks throughout most the game.
Brett's only interception of the year came off Bernard Berrian's chest. Not only did "B-Twice" muff it, but he knocked the ball up in the air creating an easy tip drill for the Forty Niners defense.
Clearly, his recievers are still getting acclimated to a 15 ounce, slick, brown, cowhide, oblong missle traveling 70 miles per hour into the center of their chests.
The play? The "Metrodome Miracle"? While the one you're thinking was incredible on its own merits, the play I refer to is Brett's play during the game in general.
Brett Favre was clearly the player trying the hardest, had the most will to win on the field, took the hardest beating, and still showed the exuberence of an 18-year-old playing for the high school state championship.
If Tarvaris Jackson has a brain, he'll have learned more from watching Brett play this game than he could have ever learned playing in it himself.
With the Vikings bringing in Brett, it not only wins you games, but it gives your QB unit a clue on how to compete, enjoy, and win in the NFL.
Here's to hoping "T-Jack's" gray matter was paying attention Sunday. If so, he'll be a hell of a quarterback in this league from watching Number Four show him how to be a champion.
Tarvaris needs to remember what he saw this last Sunday. Instead of sulking, he should be taking very detailed notes.
If he does, perhaps we'll see Jackson in a few years, in purple or another color, sprint 50 yards after a completion and get some revenge on Ray Lewis.
Sadly, I doubt it.
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