On a rainy and stormy night that saw the start of the game delayed for about 45 minutes, the Jets held off a late Vikings rally to win their fourth game of the season Monday night.
Brett Favre, who played one season with the Jets as he orchestrated his way to Minnesota, had been embattled all week with allegations of sending inappropriate photographs to former Jet employee, and current Maxim model, Jenn Sterger.
A tearful Favre vowed to play "lights out" against the Jets on Monday night. For a while, it looked like the Jets would be putting Favre's lights out, but the old gunslinger nearly pulled off a magical fourth quarter against his old team.
The Jets defense dominated early, holding the Vikings without a point for the game's first 43 minutes. It seemed like the Jets were going to cruise to a matter-of-fact-type win indicative of a great defense.
Favre could barely move the ball, Peterson couldn't break a run and the Jets had scored four straight field goals to gain a 12-0 lead.
Nick Folk was spectacular connecting on 5-5 field goals including a 53-yarder that put the Jets up 6-0 midway through the second quarter.
While the inability to score touchdowns was frustrating for the Jets offense, as an observer, it seemed like if the Jets just continued to make field goals, they would walk away with the win.
With just under eight minutes to go in the third quarter, Favre and the Vikings offense finally awakened. Taking advantage of a hobbled Darrelle Revis, and a tiring Jets defense, the Vikes were able to move the ball more than 21 yards for the first time all evening.
Favre threw a perfect deep ball to his newest toy, Randy Moss, who secured the ball in the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown. All of a sudden, despite being physically dominated all night, the Vikings found themselves down just 12-7.
The Jets were in need of a big spark and they got one from their most versatile player, Brad Smith.
Smith took the ensuing kickoff 86 yards, and the Jets were in business at the Vikings 27-yard line. The Jets however would sputter, moving the ball just six yards on four plays. Folk made his fifth field goal, and the Jets had an eight-point advantage 15-7.
The defense, that had little time to rest, was once again tormented by the former Jet, Favre. He would convert a 3rd-and-long, drilling it to Percy Harvin on a crossing route. The speedy wideout raced through the middle of the field, past the hobbled Revis and up the sideline for a 34-yard touchdown.
Suddenly, the Vikings were a two-point conversion away from tying the game. Favre's rollout passing attempt was intercepted, a harbinger of things to come.
The Jets, now leading by two, got the ball back and got their running game going. Much like last year's playoff run, it was the fresh Shonn Greene who took advantage of a Vikings defense that had been gashed by LaDainian Tomlinson. After passing plays to Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery, Tomlinson gashed the Vikings for a 16-yard run that put the ball on the Vikings 23.
Greene entered the game, and with his fresh legs, raced past the Vikings defense for a 23-yard touchdown run. The Jets seemed in control with the 22-13 lead.
Favre however wasn't done. He took the ball and drove the Vikings down the field with two big plays. He hit Adrian Peterson for 20 yards and then after an incompletion, hit Greg Lewis for 33 yards down to the Jets 6-yard line.
Percy Harvin made an incredible acrobatic catch, tapping his toes in the end zone to get the Vikings within three.
The extra point got the Vikings to within 22-20, but the Jets had the ball with a chance to run out the clock. However, Mark Sanchez snapped the ball too early on second down, and his incompletion left time before the two-minute warning.
After the Vikings stopped the Jets on third down, the Jets had to punt the ball with over 1:30 seconds on the clock.
Could Favre possibly do it again?
After Weatherford's 50-yard punt put the ball on the Vikings 16, Favre had a chance to win the game with a field goal drive.
After two incompletions, a too- aggressive Shaun Ellis committed an encroachment penalty. Favre tried to hit Visanthe Shiancoe on a quick curl, but Dwight Lowery jumped the route. The second-year DB took the ball away from Shiancoe, and took the ball into the end zone for a 21-yard interception return that sealed the game for the Jets.
News and Notes
1. The Jets rushed for 155 yards. They are the first team to top 150 yards rushing against the Vikings this season.
2. Darrelle Revis was visibly hobbled in the second half of the game. Cromartie did much of the coverage of Randy Moss in the game.
3. Sanchez did not turn the ball over—his career best, fifth straight game without a turnover,
4. Favre appeared to have trouble with the slick ball, fumbling twice in the first half.