1/17/2010

EGG ON MY FACE

Apparently the rumors spread by me of Brett Favre's impending demise as a football player were ill-founded. Please disregard. I can't say I was shocked to see the Vikings win (this is the NFL), but I really thought Favre would revert to form and force balls into coverage. I was wrong. They were better, and they deserved to win. Sigh.

I especially have to extend my congratulations to the defensive line of the Minnesota Vikings, who made big plays over and over again to completely frustrate Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys offense, which quickly became one-dimensional. Scouts say that there plenty of mismatches to be had with the Minnesota secondary and Dallas skill players, but none of that happened because Jared Allen and the Williams boy applied so much pressure up front. While I'm sure there probably was one, I don't recall a single pass play of more than 15 yards. Minnesota's front four simply did not allow enough time for anything to develop, and their secondary denied the Cowboys much yardage after the catch.

It's a bittersweet ending for me as far as the NFL was concerned. The Cowboys' overall play since the Thanksgiving weekend was their best stretch since 1994. Their defense was particularly sensational during that time, and I wanted their hot streak to continue.

But the defense, this game? Not terrible, but definitely not at the same caliber as the previous month. Gerald Sensabaugh gave up a long score with Favre on his back even though he kept toe-to-toe with Sidney Rice. Seems Sensabaugh couldn't bring himself to look for the ball and one gets the impression he was shocked to actually see it arrive in Rice's hands. Rice later got inside on Mike Jenkins, who at least fought for the ball but lost out to Rice, who has a half-foot on him.

The front four of the Cowboys got to Favre plenty of times in the first half, with two sacks and multiple hits, but they were unable to deliver a turnover or affect Favre's concentration. He played great, and the 40-year-old will now take his act to New Orleans, the penultimate step in completing a fantasy that seems him, in effect, sticking it to everyone who doubted him.

Including me. Good luck with that, Mr. Favre. Meanwhile, I and the rest of the Cowboys fans who were so buoyed by the rise of this club and the elevated play of Tony Romo will begin the long post-mortem. I think we will get better, but then, so will everyone else in that NFC East.

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