Without their starting quarterback, the Vikings played even worse than the usual home-field tenant at Ford Field in Detroit.
With their game against the New York Giants rescheduled and relocated to Detroit after the collapse of the Metrodome roof, the Vikings' playoff hopes were officially buried by the New York Giants in a 21-3 loss.
The Giants' win was resounding. They dominated in total yards (395-164), rushing yards (213-61) and passing yards (182-103).
Brett Favre was rendered an observer, ending his NFL-record 297-game streak of consecutive starts in the regular season after suffering a sprained sternoclavicular joint in his throwing shoulder. The result was Tarvaris Jackson and his offensive line looking as overmatched as ever. Jackson completed only 15 of 30 passes for 118 yards, was sacked four times and pressured numerous other times and added an easy interception for linebacker Keith Bullucks.
But Jackson didn't get much help from pass protectors or his running game. The Giants had an answer for Adrian Peterson every time he touched the ball, limiting him to 26 yards on 14 carries with a long run of only 7 yards. Trailing by 18 points in third quarter, the Vikings didn't have the opportunity to stick with the running game, either.
On the other side, the Giants not only had two 100-yard rushers, they had two. Brandon Jacobs rushed 14 times for 116 yards, including breaking free for a 73-yard run when the Vikings lost contain, and Ahmad Bradshaw had 103 yards on 11 rushes, including a 48-yard run when his found a hole in the defensive line.
It wasn't all bad for the Vikings to start. Frank Walker intercepted Eli Manning on New York's first drive, returning it 10 yards to the Giants 34-yard line.
Jackson picked up the initial first down of the game with a 2-yard sneak, but eventually the drive stalled when Sidney Rice couldn't hang onto a fade in the end zone. Ryan Longwell gave the Vikings a 3-0 lead with a 21-yard field goal with 5:25 to play in the first quarter.
Those turned out to be the only points the Vikings got. They couldn't take advantage of an Asher Allen interception early in the second quarter as the offense started to misfire and the Giants offense found its groove. On New York's fourth drive, Brandon Jacobs ripped off a 73-yard run when he got around the corner and outran Madieu Williams. After Ahmad Bradshaw picked up another first down, Jacobs found a big hole on the right side and slid in from 1 yard out for a 7-3 lead with 8:11 left in the second quarter.
The Vikings failed to make anything more of their last two drives of the half, but the Giants weren't done yet. On their final drive of the first half, they got some assistance from cornerback Asher Allen. On the first play of the drive, Allen was flagged for unnecessary roughness at the end of a play for a helmet-to-helmet hit, and Manning went right back to picking on him when he hit Hakeem Nicks for 24 yards. Tight end Kevin Boss converted a first down and put the ball inside the red zone with an 8-yard catch. Four plays later, Boss was catching another pass, a 6-yard touchdown, to give the Giants a 14-3 lead they took to halftime.
It didn't get any better for the Vikings in the second half. Jackson started with an interception, and the Vikings next two drives ended with punts before Bradshaw found daylight on a 48-yard touchdown run with 2:46 to play in the third quarter for a 21-3 lead that held up the rest of the way as the Vikings managed only one more first down until less than two minutes remained the game.
The game that started out being all about relocation and the end of Favre's streak left Vikings fans with few positive distractions.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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