CHICKIE'S & PETE'S, South Philadelphia -- I was curious to see the Giants, to see the Brett Favre-less Vikings and to take part in the Minnesota "home" in Detroit on Monday night. So three of us -- Bo Wulf and Josh Goldman joined in -- huddled around a table and a lobster pizza, some wings and a soda or two to check out the proceedings on Football Monday in the NFL.
First things, first: When I saw the fans at Ford Field do the "wave," hey, I knew what kind of crowd packed the stands. They were in for the free tickets for the night out, for the part of history that allows all of them to tell their kids and their grandkids that they were there the day Favre missed a start in the NFL.
As if anybody will really care.
We hadn't had much sleep at all, but, hey, we're in a playoff race here and the Giants and Vikings are the next opponents on the schedule, so why not take a look at the game on TV? I wondered if I would be blown away by the Giants, one way or the other. I was not. I wondered if Tarvaris Jackson would impress me a bit as the starting quarterback for Minnesota. I was not.
Otherwise, it was a great evening of biting sarcasm, screaming at the TV, and hoping against hope that the Vikings would get out of the way of themselves long enough to beat a Giants team that was clearly not on top of its game.
Without further ado, and, hey, I've had about 45 minutes of sleep and a few sodas as I write this, here is what I saw from the game ...
The Vikings are terrible. Really, really terrible. They made a ton of mistakes on Monday night after a promising start to the game. For some reason they wanted to establish Jackson as a passing presence, rather than pound away with a kld who has a chance to be pretty good, running back Adrian Peterson. I mean, it was ridiculous. Jackson completed three passes early to the right side of the Giants defensive formation, and then the Vikings went away from that and started having Jackson drop deep and wait for the Giants pass rush. New York complied, coming after Jackson with confidence.
- Eli Manning threw two interceptions and looked out of sorts in the passing game until New York took the ball out of his hands and used Brandon Jacobs for an outside run for 73 yards and then Ahmad Bradshaw for a big gain and then a touchdown and a 7-3 lead, insurmountable against the Vikings awful offensive performance.
- Minnesota's best hit of the night was a knee-to-knee collision with Jackson and Peterson in the backfield. What a dreadful Minnesota 60 minutes.
- FOX actually had a Favre retrospective piece at halftime, proving that no matter what the guy does, or doesn't do, he is the main story every week. How much is NBC praying that Favre plays against the Eagles on December 26, a game that moved to prime time?
- A couple of injuries for the Giants to keep an eye on: wide receiver Hakeem Nicks came up lame on a long pass, wide receiver Mario Manningham suffered a hip injury, defensive tackle Chris Canty was rolled up with a burner and then limped off and special teamer Clint Sintim, who looks like he won't play on Sunday with a knee injury.
- For about three seconds I thought that Lorenzo Booker would be a touchdown maker. But it just isn't meant to be for Booker, who had a kickoff return for a touchdown overturned by a penalty. Lorenzo Booker? That's what kind of night it was.
- Antrel Rolle has great timing with his blitzing. The Giants used him effectively in the first game against the Eagles. It is something to watch this time around.
- The Giants didn't play anything close to a perfect game. They rush the quarterback well, so if I'm designing an offensive blocking scheme I want to protect Michael Vick as much as possible. The screen game can work against the Giants, and there is no team that can cover DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin if Vick has time.
- Anybody who watched this game knew it was over when Minnesota led only 3-0 after picking off two Manning passes in the first quarter.
- I will say this about Booker: He had one of the most spectacular false starts I have ever seen.
- Am I wrong to keep watching just to see how many Giants players are injured? Justin Tuck is down as I write this. I don't want injuries, no way, no how, but they do impact games one week to the next. Especially when a player like Tuck is down. OK, good, Tuck is walking off the field.
- Jared Allen? What happened to him? He made one play, a sack.
- Josh is severely interested in knowing where Cliff Lee lands ...
- I remember having conversations with guys in the office who insisted that interim head coach Leslie Frazier should play Jackson "just to see what he has." Um, the Vikings knew. That's why they were willing to wheel Favre out there in a wheelchair to start every game.
- The fourth quarter is just beginning. New York leads 21-3. I think if they played 12 quarters the Vikings wouldn't score enough points to win. So, I have to end this shindig. The highlight was Bo Wulf jumping out of his seat when Minnesota's Greg Camarillo bobbled a punt with interference from the Giants. "I sat in a referee's meeting for 45 minutes at training camp, and if there is one thing I know it is that he had a right to catch that ball!" Wulf bellowed. He was right. Penalty, Giants.
- Get ready for Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith on Sunday. Neither looked sharp on Monday night, but they will be ready for the Eagles. Should be a great, great game. Thanks for the 1 p.m., start, NFL. I can't take many more late nights. To go from the thrill of Cowboys Stadium to the lousy Monday night action, hey, I can't wait to check out the new Meadowlands. An NFC East title is on the line ...
- Oh, wait: I can watch Baltimore-Houston. Ooops .. the Ravens are up, 21-0. I could listen to Bo complain about his fantasy team all night ...