We’ve been here before – lamenting another loss after a hard-fought contest on the road. The Vikings dropped a 28-18 decision to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sunday to fall to 2-5 on the season. That’s 8 straight losses on the road now and it’s another game where the Vikings battled and hung in there to have a chance in the 4th quarter to pull out a victory.
The main storyline going into the game was the status of QB Brett Favre and his injured ankle. Favre treated the ankle all week and made the push to Sunday, eventually starting the game and playing well against New England. He was 22 of 32 for 259 yards on the night until he took a hit on a 3rd and 3 play midway through the 4th quarter. The hit knocked Favre out of the game and 8 stitches were required to close the wound.
Tarvaris Jackson came in to replace Favre and he promptly threw a 1-yard TD to FB Fahu Tahi and followed that up with a 2-point conversion toss to WR Percy Harvin, closing the gap to 21-18 with 7:31 to play in the game. Despite a couple of fluke plays that went New England’s way, the Vikings were in the game deep into the 4th quarter. But that’s when the Patriots offensive line – and RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis – took the game over and salted away the victory.
QB Tom Brady led New England on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 5:30 and was capped by a 2-yard Green-Ellis TD plunge on 3rd and goal from the 2. Green-Ellis had 62 yards rushing on 7 attempts during the drive and he totaled 108 yards on 13 carries in the 2nd half. New England Head Coach Bill Belichick did a masterful job of clock management and the Patriots offense simply ran the ball down the throats of the most dominant run defenses in the NFL over the past 4 seasons. It was a sight similar to what happened at New Orleans in Week 1 late in the game.
The Green-Ellis TD and ensuing PAT put New England up 28-18 and the Vikings didn’t have enough time to muster a comeback.
The Vikings held statistical advantages in key areas, including 1st downs (23-18), net yards (410-362), penalties, and time of possession (35:08 to 24:52). But New England edged out the Vikings in a few other categories, such as 3rd down efficiency (55% to 36%), red zone efficiency (100% to 50%), goal-to-go efficiency (100% to 67%) and turnovers (Vikings had 1, Patriots had 0). And the Patriots won in the statistical category that matters the most – points.
It’s a familiar formula that yielded a similar result. The Vikings battled and battled, did a lot of good things, but came up just short in the end.
Tags: Fahu Tahi
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