Thursday, 21 December 2006

Packers defeat Vikings

My goodness, what an ugly game. First off, my condolences to those neutral fans that watched the game, because it wasn't pretty. But rest assured knowing that you didn't suffer nearly as much as me. There is nothing I hate worse in sports, and very few things I hate worse in all of life than when the Vikings lose to the Packers. It's a physically painful feeling. Anyway, some thoughts from the game:

- Tarvaris Jackson wasn't overly impressive by any means in his first NFL start, but the conditions were pretty tough. On the road against an archrival, pumped up crowd, national TV, poor weather, etc. But still, he didn't play well.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg as far as offensive problems. First off, the Offensive Line was atrocious. Penalties, whiffed blocks, etc. Artis Hicks was getting used and abused all game, and whoever Aaron Kampan was going up against was getting beat consistently. Jackson very rarely had time to set his feet and throw, which is generally a problem. The poor Line play also caused the running game to suffer, as there was rarely holes.

When Tarvaris did have time to throw, sometimes it didn't matter where the ball was because the receivers could not get separation at all. Or when they did, something still went wrong, like in the first quarter, when Tarvaris threw a beautiful deep ball, and Troy Williamson overran it and made a terrible attempt at it.

There were problems with the whole offense up to and including the playcalling, and it showed obviously, as the Vikings mustered 3 first downs. Just simply atrocious all the way around.

- There's all this talk about Brett Favre rallying them in the 8th Annual "Brett Favre's Last Ever Home Game", but in reality Favre played a pretty awful game. Most of his completions came simply when there was no pass rush (which is certainly a common theme for the Vikings) and he could pick apart the zone, like most NFL QBs can do. (obviously he had a few solid throws in coverage, including the one on the final drive that got them in Vikings territory). When he threw into coverage, things usually didn't go as well. And in Favre Fashion, he threw 2 bad INTs. One was a pass that went right to Fred Smoot who had the clear path to the endzone for the game's lone TD. On his next pass he just threw it up and Darren Sharper picked it off. Let's not give Favre all the credit, because this game was one strictly by their defense.

- As usual, Pat Williams and Kevin Williams dominated in interior of the line on run plays. Just a couple of absolute dominators there.

- Antoine Winfield was also excellent. Solid in coverage (except for the long play on the final drive), absolutely awesome in run support, and even a big special teams hit. And this guy has never been to a Pro Bowl? That's a crime.

- The Vikings need to consider sending Bubba Franks a Christmas gift, because he was awful. I have never seen a TE play such an awful game.

- On the subject of the announcers, I do like Cris Collinsworth. Honestly, he may very well be the best color man I've heard all season. Though I'm not sure if that speaks to the quality of Collinsoworth's work or the lack of quality in everyone else's.

- Have I mentioned that I hate losing to the Packers? GAH!! As Brett Favre is known to do he practically gave this game to Minnesota, and they just didn't take it. Horrible offensive effort, but that's pretty much to be expected when a rookie is making his first start on the road. If this was Tarvaris' 3rd or 4th start I'm not sure things go that poorly. Hopefully Tarvaris can play well next week to bring momentum into next year and show the team that he can be the guy at QB. Not much else to play for at this point.

- For the record, I HATE THE PACKERS.