Crowd Boos Moss; Moss Burns Colts
Sometimes in a game, an intangible can make a difference that isn't expected. Friday night, it happened to $75 million man Randy Moss and he reacted to it — showing that the last thing you want to do to the most dangerous receiver in the game is get him mad.
With 7 minutes to play in the first half, Moss didn't have a reception and had looked relatively invisible. When he got a chance on a wide-open flip from Daunte Culpepper, he dropped the pass — something he's done a little too often for the tastes of Vikings fans. For perhaps the first time in his career, Moss heard the boo birds from the Metrodome.
In the press box, Vikings media looked around in disbelief. Even Moss took a moment to look up at the crowd, not sure exactly what he was hearing from the home peeps. That wasn't a sound he liked and it helped create the turning point of the game.
The Vikings offense was struggling and being badly outplayed and Moss was storming the sidelines following the latest three-and-out drive. How did react? As only Moss can.
When the Vikings came back on the field for the next offensive drive, Moss raced out to the huddle before it formed, perhaps sensing something big. When Culpepper took the next snap, Moss broke over the middle, took a 15-yard pass and kicked in the afterburners. He raced to the right sideline, cut his route up the field, got a block from Andrew Jordan near midfield and a clogging block from Cris Carter downfield and was off to the races — a 74-yard touchdown catch and run to give the Vikings a 14-10 lead in a game that they had been pretty much dominated in up to that point.
Coming out of the locker room for the second half, Dennis Green let his starters stay in the game for a series and Moss saw it as another chance to silence his short-lived critics. After three plays that gained 19 yards, Moss was locked up in rare single coverage with third-year Colts cornerback Mustafah Muhammad. Moss made a silent hand signal to Culpepper and broke down the right sideline. Culpepper delivered the pass in stride and Moss was gone for a 54-yard touchdown to help turn a 10-7 deficit into a 21-10 lead in less than five-and-a-half minutes of clock time.
"We made some sloppy mistakes," Moss told VU of the Vikings' first-half offensive woes. "We needed a spark and I guess I was it."
A game's turning point can manifest itself in many forms, but this time it was simply a matter of irritating a superstar and watching what he would do after he got mad. VU
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