The Vikings didn't do their playoff chances any favors, but somehow they remain in a muddled mix. Plus, get more than 35 game-day notes that detail the carnage.
The Vikings' season didn't end Sunday with their 26-13 loss to the Jets, but at best you have to consider the team on life support.
"This was a game we really needed," defensive tackle Kevin Williams
said. "We don't have a lot of time to dwell on it because we have to turn around and play again Thursday (vs. the Packers). But this wasn't what we needed."
After scoring the game's first points little more than two minutes into the game, the Jets rolled off the game's next 26 points – blowing the Vikings out.
The loss clouds the Vikings' playoff hopes. With losses from the Panthers and Falcons, the Vikings' chances looked to be improved, but this was another game the team simply gave away by being ineffective on offense and bending too often on defense.
If there was a positive to be taken from the loss it was that, of the three remaining games, losing to the Jets would do the least amount of damage to the Vikings' slim playoff hopes. The team remains 6-4 in the conference and, with wins over Green Bay and St. Louis, would finish 8-4 in the conference. To have a chance for the playoffs, the Vikings will need the teams from NFC East to lose at least one more game in the conference.
While the Vikings never fully had their playoff future in their own hands, now they are at the mercy of the scoreboard. They now have to win and hope for the best, because their future is out of their own hands.
With Sunday's loss, the Vikings are 3-4 at home. With the "loudest fans in the NFL," as the Vikings claim in their marketing efforts, Brad Childress said he had hoped the team could have been more dominant under the roof of the Metrodome.
"You want to be a lion's den in here," Childress said. "It hasn't been that."
With Sunday's loss, the Vikings finish the season 0-4 against AFC teams.
The tale of the game may well have been told on third down. The Vikings converted just two third-down plays on 13 attempts – one on the first quarter TD pass to Travis Taylor and the other on a completion to Troy Williamson in the final two minutes of the first half. The Vikings were 0-for-6 on third downs in the second half. Meanwhile, the Jets converted on 7-of-14 third-down attempts.
The Vikings held the Jets to just 68 yards rushing on 29 carries – with 20 of those yards coming on one third-and-22 draw play. But the story was the passing game, where Chad Pennington completed 29 of 39 passes for 339 yards (a career high) and one touchdown.
The Vikings are the most penalized team in the league and did little to change that Sunday, committing eight penalties for 56 yards, bringing their total to 108.
The Vikings came into the game leading the league in time of possession, but that may change dramatically, since the Jets held the ball for 36:26 of the game.
The Vikings defense allowed just one touchdown in four red zone trips by the Jets, but the Vikings only got into the red zone one time – and came away with no points.
The biggest cheer of the game came in the final minute of the third quarter when Brad Johnson was finally pulled and Tarvaris Jackson got into the game.
Despite playing just a little more than one quarter, Jackson threw 23 passes – completing 14 of them – for 177 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Johnson completed 10 of 17 passes for 96 yards with one TD.
Thanks to Jackson's interception, Johnson finished with a better passer rating (94.2) than Jackson (81.2).
Chester Taylor suffered a wrist injury in the second half and had X-rays following the game. He finished the game with just 11 rushes for 38 yards.
Laveranues Coles had his best game of the season, catching 12 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown. In the previous two games combined, Coles had just seven catches.
Seven different Vikings caught passes, led by Travis Taylor and Troy Williamson with six catches each.
E.J. Henderson put in a big effort days after signing his five-year contract extension. The Vikings' leading tackler entering the game, he added 13 more tackles to his total Sunday.
The Vikings continued their streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher – a streak that started in October 2005 after Warrick Dunn of the Falcons went off for 100 yards against the Vikings last season.
The Jets' first punt of the game came with 30 seconds to play in the third quarter.
With three minutes to play in the third quarter, the Jets had committed just one penalty. In the span of two plays – a punt and a first-down run, the Jets committed four penalties. They included a holding call and three false starts.
On their first possession of the second half, the Jets ran a 15-play, 86-yard drive that took more than half of the third quarter game clock (7:41).
Midway through the third quarter, Coles caught his 10th pass of the game. It not only put him over 100 yards for the game, but was the 500th catch of his career.
As would be expected with a 23-7 halftime lead, the Jets dominated the team statistics in the first half. They held the ball for 18:39 of the half, had 14 first downs as opposed to just four for the Vikings and led the yardage battle 260-91. The Vikings held a slim 22-21 advantage in the rushing 22-21, but the huge edge came in passing, where the Jets had 239 yards to just 69 for the Vikings.
Individually, Pennington was almost flawless after the first drive. He finished the half completing 22 of 28 passes for 247 yards with one TD and a passer rating of 115.3. Houston was the leading rusher, but had just 15 yards on seven carries. Coles was the leading receiver, catching eight passes for 86 yards.
For the Vikings, Johnson completed nine of 15 passes in the first half for 87 yards. Chester Taylor was the leading rusher with 18 yards on six carries and Travis Taylor was the leading receiver with three catches for 41 yards.
Pennington completed passes to seven different receivers in the first half.
The booing of Brad Johnson grew louder throughout the first half – to the point that a chant began late in the half saying "We want Jackson!"
In the first half, following the Jets' turnover on the first drive, on their next six drives, they scored two touchdowns, three field goals and had another drive end when a field goal attempt was botched with a bad hold.
The Jets dominated the first-quarter stats as well. Despite being tied 7-7, the Jets had 141 total yards, as opposed to 37 for the Vikings. The Jets had 20 offensive plays – 15 passes and five rushes. They gained 125 yards passing and 16 rushing. The Vikings ran just eight plays – four passes and four rushes. The Jets held the ball for 9:37 of the first quarter.
Individually in the first quarter, Pennington completed 11 of 15 passes for 133 yards. Coles was the leader with four receptions. Jerricho Cotchery had three catches for 24 yards, while Justin McCareins led the Jets in yardage with one catch for 50 yards. Houston had all of the running back carries, rushing four times for 14 yards.
For the Vikings, Johnson completed all four passes he attempted in the opening quarter for 38 yards, two of them going to Travis Taylor for 33 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown. In the rushing department, Chester Taylor had all four Vikings rushes for 11 yards.
Brad Johnson's touchdown on the Vikings' opening drive was the 164th of his career – tying him with Daryle Lamonica and Jim Plunkett for 50th on all-time passing touchdown list.
The Vikings posted their fastest score of the season, putting a touchdown on the board with 12:53 to play in the first quarter.
The Vikings scored on their first drive for the 11th time in 14 games.
Center Nick Mangold was injured on the game's second play and had to be assisted from the field with a hip injury. He returned on the Jets' next drive.
The Jets came out in a no-huddle offense Sunday, but on the second play, the Vikings came with a blitz that was unable to be blocked and resulted in a turnover.
The Vikings' captains for Sunday's game were Jeff Dugan, Ben Leber and Rod Davis.
Among the inactives Sunday were Marcus Robinson, Ciatrick Fason and Marcus Johnson – all of whom were considered "healthy" de-activations until Childress said Robinson was suffering from a "nagging" hip flexor, but he wasn't listed on the injury report.
The announced crowd was 63,677 – the 93rd straight sellout. However, it appeared to those in attendance that several thousand fans came disguised as empty seats.