For Randy Moss and Minnesota, it has been an exciting week. For Brett Favre and his faithful fans, it has been something else entirely.
The big question all week has been can Favre pull it together and play through the scandal? But the story shifted from the scandalized gunslinger to the gregarious crew of Hard Knocks.
The Vikings looked even more out of sync than usual, perhaps feeling the pressure of a very fixed critical lens on the NFL's biggest regular season stage. New York—admittedly with its own image problems with a number of scandals this season—played with purpose and seemed to be battling the elements more than the Vikings. They moved the ball well in the second quarter, but only managed a pair of field goals until the final drive; where Mark Sanchez was sending down lightening bolts in the rainy New Meadowlands Stadium.
The drive hit a wall at the goal line at the end of the half, with the sloppy conditions putting a damper on New York's running game and it ended with their third field goal, and a 9-0 lead. It was nothing but Jets momentum going into the tunnel, and left the Vikings looking disillusioned and every bit as distracted as they promised not to be.
It looked to be more of the same in the start of the second half, as Favre gained the dubious record of most fumbles in a career with their opening drive—ending the second play of the game in Jets territory. The Minnesota defense held firm in the first half, but things fell apart as the Jets backs lowered the boom and sent anyone wearing purple back on their heels. Field goals were the weapon of choice throughout the game, giving the Viking defense at least a moral victory, if nothing else.
Favre wasn't all bad of course, he garnered his 500th TD pass and 70,000 yards all-time late in the third, showing some old-school emotion and finesse in the process. It was in all rights a magical moment for the old quarterback.
It was the start of something big at the end of the game, as Favre hit Percy Harvin for a touchdown at the start of the fourth to bring it within two. After the play, a bit of confusion cost Minnesota a timeout in a botched two-point try. Minnesota was motivated on both sides of the ball, and began to look like the team they were supposed to be.
After a few faltering drives, it was up to Sanchez and company to cement their lead late in the fourth quarter. With poise and swagger equalling his historic counterpart, he deftly guided Gang Green down the field. Shonn Greene drove the point home with an untouched trot to the end zone, putting them up by nine points with four and a half minutes.
Favre gave it a great try with another touchdown to Percin Harvin to bring the Vikings within two. The Jets handed them a chance by mismanaging the clock, but a last minute drive ended in a familiar fashion this season—an interception returned for a touchdown.
The Jets won a hard fought game tonight, and proved they are a team to beat and a shining star in an inconsistent NFL season. Save for one touchdown reception, Cromartie kept Moss on a tight leash.
The Vikings leave with a lot of questions still lingering. Time will tell if Minnesota was minute wise and hour foolish with the Moss trade, along with the extra money and resources into bringing Favre back.
It was supposed to be a chance for Favre to move above the criticism and prove he's still got it; but it might have sunk him—and the Vikings' ship—even deeper into trouble.