Brett Favre and Randy Moss Stole Headlines, But the New York Jets Stole The Game

John DurstCorrespondent IOctober 12, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 11:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts as he walks back to the sideline in the fourth quarter against the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 11, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

After the Vikings' acquisition of Randy Moss, there was a great deal of anticipation for the Monday night game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Jets.

As if waiting all week for the game wasn't a long enough wait, the good Lord made us wait a little bit longer due to a severe thunderstorm in New York.

The Jets didn't get a lot of coverage this week amidst the Minnesota circus. This wouldn't didn't matter much to the Jets though, as they came to play, not talk.

It was all about the Vikings in the media all week leading up to the game. Between Bret Favre's sexual harassment allegations and and Randy Moss being suddenly bounced out of the New England Patriots' clubhouse, much of the excitement was revolving around the Vikings.

Little attention was being paid to Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson's revitalization or the return of WR Santonio Holmes to the NFL after his four-game suspension.

A few times throughout the week the question of Jets QB Mark Sanchez's legitimacy as a passer was mentioned, but it was mostly quiet on the Jets front, which is unusual for the usually outspoken Jets and head coach Rex Ryan.

In Randy Moss's career, he has thrived on both Monday Night Football as well as in debuts with a new team. On this Monday Night, it was both for Moss.

He made his Vikings re-debut on Monday night, Oct. 11, 2010, and everyone in the stadium as well as the ones like myself who watched at home were on the edge of their seat to see what the aging future Hall of Fame wide receiver would do in this one.

Despite heavy rain, the field conditions were great. One sideline reporter, Suzy Kolbert, described the conditions with the following statement: "It doesn't even feel like it rained down here."

The conditions between the two teams, however, were not as favorable, as the Jets and Vikings had a dust up in the end zone before the game even started.

At 9:16 p.m. Eastern time, the Jets sent the game's opening kickoff sailing out of bounds, and the game was finally underway.

On the first play of the game, Randy Moss took a reverse from WR Percy Harvin and threw a 12-yard pass to Brett Favre, but it was negated due to an illegal man downfield.

However, after the Vikings third penalty in four snaps, they were looking at a second and 21. The handed the ball off to RB Adrian Peterson twice more for 15 yards and punted the ball away.

The Jets were a little more conventional with their first play call, a 31-yard pass from Mark Sanchez to Braylon Edwards over the middle. That was the only highlight of the drive though, and three plays later the Jets were kicking a punt that was fair-caught by the Vikings at their own 11-yard line.

After five offensive plays, the Vikings' stat line showed five Peterson runs for 22 yards. The sixth play was a Brett Favre sack, and the Vikings would once again have to punt.

The Jets were given great field position on their second drive, starting at Minnesota's 40 yard line. Tomlinson gained 12 yards on first down, and then two plays later LT struck again with a gain of 17, taking the Jets to the Vikings' 11-yard line.

The old man's magic would run out though, and three more LT touches resulted in a Jets 25-yard field goal by kicker Nick Folk. The first score of the game had the Jets leading 3-0.

Vikings WR Percy Harvin would return the ensuing kickoff across the Vikings 30-yard line, and so began the third try for Favre and Moss to get something going. On first down, a quick inside screen to Harvin went for 19 yards to the 50-yard line.

On the next play, Moss saw his first pass but couldn't come down with the jump ball over Jets CB Antonio Cromartie down the left sideline. Two plays later, we saw another Vikings punt.

Shonn Greene saw his first carry for three yards on the Jets first play of their third drive, but a Mark Sanchez sack on the next play set up an LT gain of 17 on third-and-long deep in Jets territory, yielding a Jets' first down.

After one more Jets' first down at the Vikings 36 yard line, the first quarter came to an end.

The first series of the second quarter brought Santonio Holmes his first catch on a third and long slant over the middle for a first down.

Two plays later, Sanchez went deep to Holmes in the end zone but overthrew him, bringing up a third and five for the Jets.

Sanchez threw a strike to Braylon's numbers on the sideline, but he couldn't haul it in—as usual—and the drive stalled just across midfield.

What would follow was a snore-fest of three three-and-outs, two of which came from the Vikings. On top of that, the Vikings had yielded only one first down all game.

Suddenly, with under seven minutes to go, the Jets offense started to open up after back to back passes of over ten yards—one to Edwards and one to Holmes—but two drops later the offense closed again.

The Jets were forced to settle for a 53 yard Nick Folk field goal, putting the Jets up 6-0.

On the Vikings next drive, the Vikings benefited from a face-mask penalty on a Favre sack that got them their second first down of the night.

Two plays later, Favre found Moss over the middle for another first down, but the next play brought a Favre snap bobble that resulted in a Vikings turnover.

The turnover put the Jets into Vikings territory for the fifth time in the first half, but out of all those trips they could only manage to score six points before the two minute warning.

Sanchez looked deep for Holmes again on the first play inside two minutes but overthrew him. Still, on third the Jets picked up a big first down through the air right before rain came back in full force.

It began raining so hard that it became tough to pick up the ball as it went through the air, but that didn't stop Sanchez from hanging in the pocket and delivering short throws over the middle to pick up first downs.

The Jets drove all the way down to the Vikings four yard line, but with time being a factor with less than a minute to play, Sanchez had to throw three straight times for three straight incompletions.

Another Jets field goal made the score 9-0 with 17 seconds left in the first half. After a nice return by the Vikings' Percy Harvin, Favre took a knee and the Vikings went in to the locker room down only nine in a game that seemed a lot more lopsided than that.

At halftime, the Jets had out gained the Vikings 206 yards to 51 yards, over four to one. The first down count was Jets 12 to the Vikings 3, also four to one.

Tomlinson had 61 yards on just ten carries to Peterson's 34 yards on eight carries. Sanchez outgained Favre 139 to 31, over four yards to one, but the Vikings were still in the game.

Both defenses played well in the first half, as both QBs had passer ratings under 60. LT and Braylon Edwards were really the only two guys who did anything individually in the first half, but that's why they play all four quarters.

By the start of the second half, the rain had lightened up a bit, but the defense didn't. Sanchez was sacked for a loss of ten on the first play of the third quarter, and two Tomlinson touches went nowhere, resulting in a Jets three and out.

Minnesota started with their best field position to start a drive of the night near midfield, but a botched handoff gave the ball right back to the Jets in Vikings territory. Favre just inexplicably dropped the ball.

Maybe it was wet and slipped out of his hands, but whatever the case, it's not the kind of play you expect to see from a professional QB.

Jets RB Shonn Greene started to get going, picking up 19 yards on his first two carries of the half, and Tomlinson came back in to get the Jets over 100 yards rushing for the day on the drive.

Nick Folk kicked his fourth field goal on the drive, giving the Jets a 12-0 lead. Somehow, the Vikings were still in the game.

The Vikings would try to get it going again. The third play of the drive left them three yards short of a first down after another incompletion, and the Vikings compilation of three-and-outs continued.

The Jets would follow suit with a three-and-out of their own, and once again the Vikings would get the ball back.

Favre looked deep for Moss over the middle againafter the Vikings picked up a first down, but Cromartie had good coverage downfield and Moss couldn't bring it in.

Favre went right back to Moss again on third down, and the team picked up their first third-down conversion of the night on the 15-yard pass play. Favre went back to Moss again, but Cromartie played the ball brilliantly again forcing an incompletion.

Still, on third and 12, Favre hung in the pocket and found Percy Harvin over the Middle for a big gain and another first down—the third of the drive, doubling their total for the night.

After a false start, the Vikings had a huge third and 17 play; Brett Favre let loose and finally found Moss in the end zone with a perfect rainbow throw to get Favre to 500 career TD passes. The Vikings were now on the board, trailing the Jets 12-7.

The Vikings couldn't catch a break though, as Jets return man Brad Smith ran the kickoff all the way down to the Vikings' 19-yard line. After a failed jump ball attempt to Edwards, the Jets had a huge third down but couldn't convert.

Folk came in to kick another short field goal—his fifth of the night—and extended the Jets' lead to 15-7.

It was still a one-score game, and the Vikings were in business. with the ball at their own 35 yard line. Adrian Peterson busted a run for 29 yards, taking the ball to the Jets' 35 yard line at the end of the third quarter.

Going into the fourth quarter, the question was what did "The Old Gunslinger" have left in the tank on the night. Peterson busted off another 10 yards to start things off in the fourth quarter, but a pass-interference penalty on Moss set up another long third down.

On this play, Favre reminded us why you never count him out. He hung in the pocket again, despite the blitzing Jets on third and 19, and found Harvin slanting over the middle. Harvin did the rest of the work, taking the ball into the end zone.

The Vikings would go for two, but the attempt failed, leaving the Vikings down 15-13.

This time, the Vikings defense was given a legitimate chance to set up the offense for a shot at the lead by getting a stop before the Jets could get across the 50-yard line. The Jets would start the drive from their own 20 yard line.

Three plays later, they moved the chains on a third and inches. Then it was back to the air to TE Dustin Keller to bring up a second and short.

Edwards would catch a pass for no gain, and the Jets were faced with another crucial third-down situation. Sanchez threw an errant pass to Keller that was a little high, and suddenly the Vikings were is the driver's seat.

The Jets pinned the Vikings deep in their own territory inside the ten, but Peterson would move his Vikings up passed the 20 on three carries. Moss had one on one coverage down the left side, but Favre just couldn't hook up with him on a 60 yard bomb.

One more incompletion over the middle would leave the Vikings looking for their sixth straight third down conversion, but he under threw Harvin in the seem, and the Vikings would be forced to punt with less than eight minutes to play in the game.

The Jets would get one more chance to close the game starting at their own 34 yard line, and two plays into the drive they were across midfield to the Vikings' 49 yard line.

Suddenly, the running game of the Jets came back and one big run by Tomlinson set up one big TD run by Shonn Greene, giving the Jets a 22-13 lead with just over 4:30 left to play.

Harvin ran the ball back to the Vikings' 46 yard line and set up the Vikings in a small window of hope, and Peterson got them across midfield inside the Jets 40 yard line.

Favre found TE Greg Lewis inside the 20, and he took it down to the six, but a false start penalty on first gave the Vikings a first and goal from the 11 yard line.

Favre found Harvin in the back of the end zone to cap off the five play 54 yard drive with a TD pass, and the Vikings had a little life left.

The Vikings opted to kick the ball deep and try to force a Jets' three and out to get the ball back for one more chance at the win.

The Jets would pick up a quick first down in two plays, but the Vikings weren't quite dead yet. The Jets needed to get one more first down to seal the deal.

First Down: LT runs for a one-yard loss.

Second Down: Incomplete pass stopping the clock before the two minute warning.

Third Down: Another incompletion, forcing a Jets punt with 1:54 remaining.

The Vikings' defense did their job, and Brett Favre had 1:48 to get his team into scoring range from their own 16 yard line with no timeouts remaining. Right away, Favre went deep to Moss but overthrew him.

On second down Favre had Harvin over the middle all by himself but overthrew him too. If he could've connected on that one, Harvin had nothing but green in front of him.

On third down, though, Favre went back to being Favre and threw a pick six to Lowery of the Jets to seal the game for the Jets. He scored with 1:30 remaining, and the rest of the game was just window dressing.

On a night when Brett Favre and Randy Moss gpt all of the public's attention, it was the Jets who got the win. Most of the credit goes to head coach Rex Ryan, who never took his foot off the gas.

The Jets just never stopped blitzing Favre, even when their backs were against the wall late. In a tale of two halves, the Jets outplayed the Vikings for 32 minutes, and none were bigger than the last two.

Mark Sanchez didn't throw any TDs, but he also didn't throw any picks in the contest. In fact, as a team the Jets haven't turned the ball over yet all season.

The Jets got big plays when they needed them, and LT's 20 carries for 94 yards highlighted a hard-nosed, hard fought victory.

The J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets did it once again, despite Brett Favre's three TD passes and Moss's big catch. The matchup of the night was Jets' cornerback Antonio Cromartie one on one versus Randy Moss.

Cromartie was thrown at a number of times downfield, but he had great coverage all night, even on Moss's TD catch.

The Jets have a Super Bowl berth on their mind, and on Monday night we all saw why. This is one of the most complete teams in the league.

They run well, they defend great, and they can even mix it up in the passing game when you don't think they will. They'll be fun to watch this year.

They're on everyone's radar now, but all that means is the audience for their success will be even bigger.


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