I watched the complete Vikings-Cardinals game yesterday, and for three quarters the Vikings looked like they were determined to end their four game losing streak. Brad Johnson played one of his best game of the year, throwing 3 TDs, and Chester Taylor ran for 136 yards and also scored a TD.
It didn't get off to a good start, as J.J. Arrington returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a TD. "Here we go again," I thought to myself. But the Cardinals showed their true colors and turned the ball over five times. The Vikings built up a 31-13 lead early in the fourth, and intercepted a Matt Leinart pass and looked like they were ready to ice the win when Taylor fumbled on the one-yard line and Adrian Wilson returned it 99 yards for a TD to put Arizona back in the game. (It still looked like Taylor's knee was down before he fumbled, but the refs wouldn't overturn it.)
Arizona scored another TD with just 39 seconds to play, and it made it 31-26. They then recovered the onside kick and I couldn't believe what was happening. "Only the Vikings could let something like this happen," I said. (This was before yesterday's Giants debacle. More on that coming up.) With 2 seconds remaining, Leinart heaved a pass into the end zone that Darren Sharper intercepted to seal the win. Way too close for comfort, especially against a team that had just two wins all season.
The rush defense was again superb, holding Arizona to just 17 yards, but the pass defense was atrocious, as Leinart threw for 405 yards. The Vikings are now 5-6, with just faint hopes for a wild card berth, and a date with the Bears at Soldier Field next Sunday.
At least the Vikings won. I still can't believe what happened to the Giants yesterday. As my friends were watching the Patriots beat the Bears, an easy win against the 3-7 Tennessee Titans turned into one of the worst losses in Giants history, as a 21-0 lead evaporated as the Titans scored 24 points to win it.
This game should have at least been a 21-14 Giants win. With 2:44 left and a 4th and 10 for Tennessee, Giants rookie lineman Mathias Kiwanuka looked to have QB Vince Young sacked, but inexplicably let him go as Young scrambled for a first down that led to the tying TD. Kiwanuka later explained that he thought Young had thrown the ball, so he let up on him. It definitely cost the Giants the game.
Eli Manning poured more gasoline on the fire by throwing an ill-advised pass that was intercepted in the final 23 seconds that set up the winning field goal. Manning's been bashed really good the last few weeks, and this just gives his detractors more ammo against him.
The Giants need a win next Sunday against Dallas, or they will see their chances of a postseason berth slip away, as they have tough matchups with Carolina and New Orleans after that. And this whole debacle could very well end up costing Tom Coughlin his job as head coach.