Minnesota went into Houston last night and beat the Texans 17-10. Despite good play on both sides, the game was overshadowed by Brett Favre and one dirty play.
Even though everything I heard leading up to this game was about Brett Favre, I wrote earlier that the Vikings would attack the Texans with Adrian Peterson right up the middle of the field…and they wasted no time proving me right.
On the first play from scrimmage the best running back in football took the ball inside, bounced outside, turned the corner, and accelerated up the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown. In case you care, Mike Tirico said Purple Jesus toppped out at 22.7 mph while speeding up the field.
They say a great running game is one of a quarterback's best friends.
After AP's run, I'm sure Steve Slaton wanted to show he could do the same thing.
On Slaton's first play he was stood up by one of the Williams brothers and had Antoine Winfield come flying up from the defensive backfield, put his hat on the ball, and cause a fumble. Slaton was ruled down and Vikings head coach Brad Childress decided not to challenge, because it was not clear if his defense recovered the ball. The Texans proceeded to go three and out, including a sack of quarterback Matt Schaub on 3rd down.
The game could not have started differently for each team.
After that, things settled down. Minnesota's offense stalled on their next drive, which ended with a Mario Williams sack. Two drives later DeMeco Ryans sacked Favre on second down and then chased Chester Taylor down on 3rd down.
The next drive for Houston proved to be productive and costly. WR Kevin Walter tweaked his hamstring on the second play. A few plays later Schaub hurt his ankle on a scramble and came up limping. Houston kept moving the ball however and Steve Slaton pounded in a touchdown from 4 yards out. FB Vonta Leach got hurt on the touchdown play. After the drive Leach stayed out of the game until halftime and Schaub got looked at on a cart. Schaub came back in and led the Texans to a field goal on the last drive of the half, but was done after that.
Minnesota had added a field goal and Chester Taylor touchdown catch in between. The halftime score was 17-10 in favor of the Vikings.
If you've seen the box score you know that this was also the final score.
You might be thinking that not much of consequence happened after halftime, and for the most part you're right. The Texans' first drive in the 3rd quarter got inside the red zone but ended with a pick. Other drives, for both teams, stalled because of sacks, penalties, and good defensive play. It was a pretty uneventful second half, except for that one play in the third quarter.
With about 5 minutes left in the 3rd the Vikings lined up in a “wildcat” formation, with Percy Harvin in the backfield and Brett Favre split wide left. The play was a run and it came to Favre's side of the field. Favre threw a dirty cut block on Texans' safety Eugene Wilson, and was called for the penalty. Favre led with his throwing shoulder and went right at Wilson's knees. Wilson had his head facing the ball and couldn't see Favre. There is no other way to say this, it was a stupid and dangerous block that could have seriously injured Wilson. Favre could have also hurt himself and appeared to be grimacing after the play.
Miki Tirico said it best, “I don't care, Brett Favre or not, that's not cool. You're messing with a guy's career when you do that.”
Truthfully, until his block Favre had been good, but unremarkable. He had made a few nice plays, but had also been under pressure all game. The story of this game should have been the Texans' improving pass rush and pass defense, their struggling run defense, and that their offense was able to move the ball on one of the league's best defenses (despite their mental mistakes.) Instead, it is once again about Favre. Be it on purpose or accidental, he always seems to make the story about himself.
Notes: Some players made great plays Monday night. Among them, LB DeMeco Ryans tackled Adrian Peterson for a loss in the 1st quarter, sacked Favre in the 2nd, and laid a huge hit on Vikings RB Albert Young. DE Mario Williams had a sack and was constantly pressuring Favre. CB Brice McCain had a nice hit on a Vikings receiver in the 1st quarter. Connor Barwin continued his stand out play with a pass deflected at the line. Andre Johnson had a nice 46-yard catch up the sideline from QB Dan Orlovsky that would have gone for more yardage, but he stepped out of bounds.
Injury Notes: QB Matt Schaub is day-to-day according to Head Coach Gary Kubiak. Schaub will be done for the pre-season and they are hopeful he will be ready for the season opener against the Jets…WR Kevin Walter is also listed as day-to-day with his hamstring injury…FB Vonta Leach appeared hurt on the Texans' lone touchdown play, but was back in the game after halftime…S Eugene Wilson says his knee will be OK…the team expects LB Brian Cushing to come back and play in the last pre-season game this week.
About the Author
Written by Gabriel Rodriguez
Born in Germany, early childhood in NYC, raised in the D.C. area, currently reside in Charlottesville, VA. Big fan of the NY Giants and San Antonio Spurs.