Favre, Childress sink the Vikings in 14-9 loss to Saints

MINNEAPOLIS - JANUARY 17: Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings points while playing against the Dallas Cowboys during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on January 17, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.The Vikings defeated the Cowboys 34-3. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

I can count on one hand how many throws Brett Favre made tonight that were even remotely impressive. Now, I understand he was on the road, playing in a tough environment and he didn’t have his best receiver.

But the guy just didn’t get it done tonight.

The Vikings started their season the same way they ended it last year – with a loss in New Orleans. Favre was 15-of-27 for 171 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, but the stat line doesn’t tell the whole story.

Outside of their only touchdown drive of the game (which took place midway through the second quarter), Favre was highly erratic passing, looked uncomfortable in the pocket and rarely appeared to be in sync with his receivers – especially Percy Harvin.

At the risk of sounding like the know-it-all sports blogger that makes statements after the fact, I’ll point out that this game is a prime example that training camp is vital – even to a quarterback like Favre who knows the system and doesn’t need the extra work. Instead of two-stepping training camp for the second straight year, he could have been in Minnesota building chemistry with his receivers. Instead, he used four quarters tonight to do that, and the result wound up being a loss for the Vikings to start the season.

Now, he also skipped training camp last year and the Vikings started off hot. But that’s also because he got to warm up against the Browns and Lions in the first two weeks. He wasn’t afforded the same luxury this year and you saw the effects.

Of course, all the blame doesn’t fall at Favre’s feet. Brad Childress played things too conservative early in the game by going run-heavy with Adrian Peterson, only to abandon the ground game when he saw the clock ticking away in the fourth quarter.

Down 14-9 with just over nine minutes remaining, Childress called seven straight pass plays. There was plenty of time for him to remain balanced with his playcalling, but he went pass-heavy and the result was a stalled drive at the New Orleans’ 44. He essentially made Gregg Williams’ job a hell of a lot easier once the Saints’ DC new he didn’t have to respect the running game.

Apparently all of the draw and screen plays fell out of Childress’ playbook on that drive.

That said, give credit to a motivated Saints’ defense, one that held the Vikings to 253 yards of total offense and forced a turnover in Minnesota territory. Of course, had Favre just taken the sack instead of trying to force the action like he’s so accustomed to doing, the Vikings wouldn’t have turned the ball over.

But enough on Favre – he’s had enough for one night.

All in all, this game certainly didn’t live up to the hype. The Saints were impressive on their opening drive, but couldn’t take advantage of Minnesota miscues the rest of the way. Still, it was a good opening night for a New Orleans team that is going to have a target on its back all season.

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