The Vikings beat the Lions as they always do. That's 10 straight victories. During these five years of dominance, the Vikes have hardly been a dominant team overall--their best record during this period was 9-7. It's just that the Lions are SO awful.
But that's not what really matters. What really matters is that the Timberwolves do everything in their power to acquire Allen Iverson. That would make my decade. Seriously. I wouldn't complain about anything anymore until 2010. There are only two local teams I care about, and I've never even seen one of them play in a championship round. All I want is to see KG-AI.
Anyway, on to the nuggets of wonderment.
FOX and Matt Millen
My dad, who could not watch the game, later called to discuss it. He asked about any fan expressions against Matt Millen. And I suddenly realized: I'm not sure I heard Millen's name mentioned during the Broadcast.
Later on the local Fox 9 broadcast Dawn Mitchell said there were halftime chants of "Fire Millen." I'm sure some signs were up. But FOX neither showed nor discussed any fan displeasure with Millen. When discussing Detroit's hideousness, no reference was made to the man responsible for this hideousness. The announcers even talked about how some of the pieces are in place for future success (something I've been hearing about Detroit for five years).
Are the people at FOX protecting their former employee, co-worker, and friend? Matt Millen has been (rightly) ripped up and down by all sorts of sources--but not really by FOX. I don't know how much of it is conscious or unconscious (some of the announcers and commentators may just lay off somebody who is their friend and they empathize with). But I find FOX's coverage of Matt Millen severely lacking--and I wonder if it doesn't destroy their credibility.
Skol: Vikings 30, Lions 20
When the Vikings finally do lose to the Lions again, I'll cry. I'll know either that Detroit is a reasonable competitor, or that the Vikings are so awful as to be beyond redemption or hope.
A lot of the local coverage of the game is focused on former Lion Artose Pinner's big game against his former team (125 yards, 3 TDs). Well, I'm happy for Pinner (who along with Jericho Cotchery and Kassim Osgood is a sort of cult hero among our fantasy league). But I don't think he was critical. He had some good, nifty, fun runs. But the offensive line was opening up hopes, and Mewelde Moore probably could have done the same thing.
Detroit's 6 turnovers were the deciding factor. Brad Johnson again proved the Vikes are 6-7 right now despite a viable pro passing game. He wasn't noticably better Sunday than he has been any other day. But because Detroit kept dropping the ball (Roy Williams, who do you think you are!) the Vikes kept getting the ball in good field position and built up a nice little cushion. The Vikings deserve some credit for the turnovers (Cedric Griffin played a VERY good game), but really, Detroit deserves more of the blame for them.
Minnesota had another 4th down conversion Sunday, this one on their first drive. The Vikes are now 14-19 on 4th down--I think Childress has become convinced by the various internet statisticians that find teams should go for it on 4th down more often.
Detroit coaching was terrible. They made two INCOMPREHENSIBLE decisions late in the game. First, down by 10 points with about 3:40 left in the game and 2 times out, they went for it on 4th and goal. I have no idea why. Kicking a FG would put them down 7, and the way the Viking offense was playing (ultra-conservatively, perhaps rightly), the Lions likely would have got the ball back and had an attempt to tie it. Instead they put it all on one play that resulted in a sack, and the game was effectively over.
Then, the Vikes ran their obligatory three plays and got ready to punt. Detroit called a timeout with 2:02 left in the game. 2:02! So they stopped the clock, the Vikes punted, and after Detroit was done returning the punt the clock stopped. If Detroit would have let the clock go down to 2:00, the Vikes would have punted, and after Detroit was done returning the punt the clock would have stopped. So the Lions wasted a timeout in order to save two seconds. Are we entirely sure Mike Tice is in Jacksonville and not in Detroit (oh, wait, I saw Mike Tice on the sidelines for Jacksonville and screamed in terror).
Brad Johnson's awful INT (on first down, no less) in the red zone allowed the Lions to make the score 20-7, which they cut to 20-10 by halftime. Had Johnson not thrown that awful pass, the Vikes likely would have taken a 23-0 or 27-0 lead, and there would be no more suspense. Johnson had a few nice completions, but the Vikes showed again they're playing with a QB with no zip on his short passes and no distance on his long passes.
I'm now taking the Viking run defense for granted. -3 yards? What do you expect? Before the game I really doubted a team like Detroit would have any significant rushing yards (Mike Martz, people). I now just assume the Vikings are going to put up defensive performances like this and I'm barely fazed when it happens.
But now I'm told that Prince is performing at halftime of the Super Bowl, and I now believe that it is destiny. The Vikings will be in the Super Bowl. The Purple One will be there to celebrate it. I've always wondered if Prince likes the Vikings (he's from MN, and he's clearly fixated on purple). I want to thank Prince for assuring the Vikes a trip to the Super Bowl. DESTINY!
Actually, if I had to guess, the Vikes will lose to the Jets (since when do the Vikes beat a 3-4 defense?), Green Bay (Brad Johnson in the cold--maybe Favre can throw a bunch of INTs), then beat St. Louis at home in a meaningless game (though maybe Tarvaris Jackson plays). But my hopes involve three more regular season wins, a trip to the playoffs, and some lucky bounces in the playoff games combined with an historic run defense.
For some reason, this weekend Possible Flurries and I were fixated on watching TPT's pledge drive. Possible Flurries came up with a devestating insult: "She looks like the sort of person that supports Public Television."
I've waiting all season to try comment on what it means to me to see Pink performing before Sunday night football...and I'm still not ready to do so.
Michael Strahan and Jared in a Subway commercial together. Yelling at each other. I don't even know what to say; I just want to mention it.
What's Jerome Bettis' appeal? He provides no insights, says nothing entertaining, and shows no originality.
Al Michaels sure hates halftime shows that involve pyrotechnics.
Fun Things Around the League
Sean Payton's offense in New Orleans (after watching every Viking play this year, it is thrilling and refreshing to see an offense with some creativity to it. Payton really shows something with that offense, though clearly he's got good personnel to run it).
Vince Young (He's going to be everything Michael Vick is not able to be--that OT TD run was a poor man's version of Vick's OT TD run against the Vikes in '02. But Young is probably ALREADY a better passer, right now, than Vick is).
Reggie Bush's long catch and run for TD (slow-motion replay doesn't do it justice. full-speed replay doesn't do it justice. Watching it live was utterly thrilling. Let's hope Bush can provide more of that. Payton, by the way, is using Bush wonderfully--doing creativing things to try get him open in space).
Drew Brees' turtleneck
I wish I could say more about the Vikings beating the Lions, but that's a little like blogging about scraping ice off my windshield this morning: it's happened often before, it will happen often again, and the most recent occurance was a typically mundane exercise in inevitability.