Notebook: Moss sparks second-half resurgence

Randy Moss was mostly quiet during the first half, but he sparked the team's second-half offensive output with key third-down pickups and a touchdown. That elicited a number of responses from coaches and Brett Favre. Plus, Favre deflected questions about the allegations against him and much more.

Randy Moss got off to a bit of a slow start, but his presence was felt by the end of the Vikings' 29-20 loss to the New York Jets Monday.

Moss started the game by taking a reverse pitch from Percy Harvin, rolling to the right and passing to Brett Favre for 9 yards, a play that was negated by a penalty.

The rest of the night, it was Favre tossing it to Moss, who was limited to one catch for 7 yards in the first half but would make a statement in the second half.

Favre targeted Moss 10 times, connecting with him four times for 81 yards and a touchdown, but it was the less-publicized Antonio Cromartie who drew the Moss assignment in coverage, not Darrell Revis.

Revis had called Moss a "slouch" and said he doesn't try if taken out of games early. That wasn't the case on Monday night. Cromartie blanketed Moss much of the night, but Moss still got his touches and big plays.

"They must have thrown 20 shots to Randy Moss. I thought Cromartie played outstanding, albeit that one touchdown, but you take that many shots downfield on one-on-one with Randy Moss, I thought he really did a tremendous job for us," Jets coach Rex Ryan said.

Favre didn't start targeting Moss until the third drive, and Cromartie kept Moss from catching either of those two passes. It wasn't until the sixth drive of the game that Moss and Favre finally connected, and even then it was only for 7 yards, although it was good for the Vikings' second first down of the game.

"I thought he was into the game very well," Vikings coach Brad Childress said of Moss. "Just very difficult obviously for us to establish any kind of a rhythm at all in the first half."

In third quarter, a sluggish offense finally awoke and it took Moss to get it started with a 16-yard reception for the team's first third-down conversion of the game. He was also responsible for the team's first touchdown of the game, a 37-yarder later in the drive that was vintage Moss.

Cromartie was in position throughout the go route, but Moss waited until the last moment of their arm-pushing match while running down the field to create enough separation and make the over-the-shoulder grab look effortless.

"I have to admit, when I threw the touchdown to Randy Moss, I've been thinking about that for eight to 10 years, if you didn't know that," Favre said. "I was a little excited about it, not to mention we needed a spark at the time. And talk about a spark, he can light a flame."

It was even sweeter for Favre, considering it was the 500th touchdown toss of his career and the first to Moss.

By the end of the game, Favre would have two more touchdowns, both of those going to Percy Harvin, who was able to return to his more natural slot position and was every bit as effective.

Favre admitted that Moss being on the outside benefited Harvin, as did Moss' pointers to Harvin throughout last week. But Harvin's success – he had five catches for 97 yards – was no surprise to Ryan, who said the Jets tried to trade up in last year's draft to select Harvin.

"That kid's a heck of a football player," Ryan said.

MILLION-DOLLAR GHOST

The acquisition of Moss pushed Bernard Berrian out of the starting lineup and made him largely invisible. Harvin and Moss were each targeted 10 times, Shiancoe seven times and Peterson three times. Greg Lewis was targeted twice, and Jim Kleinsasser and Toby Gerhart were also the object of Favre passes.

Not Berrian. He wasn't only shut out on receptions, he wasn't even targeted.

The man who signed a six-year, $43.4 million contract in 2008 appears to becoming a non-factor in the passing offense.

FAVRE-A-PALOOZA

Amid allegations that Favre has texted inappropriate pictures of himself to three women who were working for the Jets in 2008, when Favre played for the team, his return to New York could have created an incredibly tense atmosphere in his post-game news conference.

Indeed, Favre was asked about the allegations several times, but continued to deflect them even when asked how he was able to handle the distractions.

"No different than any other time. I concentrate on this game. I gave it my all. Wasn't good enough," he said. "… I played as hard as I always play. I was as prepared as I ever have been."

"I was focused on the New York Jets."

Several times he had to turn the conversation back to football when asked about the alleged incidents that the NFL is now investigating.

"If you want to talk about football, I can't say I'd love to talk about football, but once again disappointing that we lost," Favre said.

Favre reportedly apologized to the team a Monday morning meeting for the distractions surrounding the allegations against him, but he wouldn't divulge the details of what he said.

"That's between me and my teammates," Favre said.

However, Favre was in tears while addressing his teammates, according to what Ryan Longwell told ESPN.

NOTES

  • Rex Ryan on Moss: "We knew that they were going to run vertical after vertical after vertical. We put Cromartie out there and he did a great job against him when he was at New England in Week 2."

    Ryan said the sore hamstring of Revis played into the decision to match up Cromartie on Moss.

  • Childress took the blame for the Vikings not being prepared at the beginning of the game.

    "It starts with me. I didn't think we were ready coming out of the locker room to play this football game. At least offensively that was the case," he said. "I'm going take that long look and long plane ride back."

    Three of the Vikings' eight penalties were on the first drive, which went three-and-out.

  • The Vikings offense looked markedly better in the second half, but Childress said it wasn't due to any great halftime adjustments. "There's no magic at halftime. Just kind of shared where we were at and what we needed to get done," he said.

  • Childress said Favre was prepared for the game, despite the allegations against him. "I thought he was plenty prepared. I thought by and large he knew what was going on," Childress said. "We took a sack and missed a protection early that we had worked on all week long. One of our guys blocked the wrong guy, pointed the guy out that he was going to block and then didn't block him."

  • The Jets were 0-for-4 scoring touchdowns from inside the 20-yard line. "We've been sharp the last few weeks, but they're a stingy defense," quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "They're a bend-don't-break defense and they don't give up big plays."

  • Favre said the ball was just slick enough to cause his two fumbles.


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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