Taken in a vacuum, the bulk of Monday night's (October 11) NFL game between the New York Jets and the visiting Minnesota Vikings was pretty dull. For most of the game, the Jets quietly dominated the line of scrimmage and played stout defense while their offense had trouble getting into a groove (they mostly settled for field goals). But luckily, the internal drama unfolding within the game's four quarters made it one of the most entertaining and enthralling game on the sports landscape this year. Ultimately, the Jets topped the Vikings 29-20, but there's more to the game than the score.
There were plenty of story lines coming into the game, as Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss was making his return to the team after being traded from the New England Patriots, while Jets receiver Santonio Holmes was returning from a drug-related suspension. The Jets were also welcoming back cornerback Darelle Revis, one of the best defensive players in the NFL. And of course, there was plenty of attention being paid to Vikings quarterback Brett Favre and the recent allegations of his inappropriate behavior (ESPN reported that Favre made a tearful apology to his teammates in a meeting before the game).
The game itself got started late because of inclement weather, and lightning strikes forced the team to clear the stadium twice before kickoff. When the game finally got started, each defense managed to shut down the other side relatively effectively, preventing key offensive players from finding a groove. Along the way, Favre became the first player to throw over 500 touchdown passes and pass for over 70,000 yards (though he also passed Warren Moon for the most fumbles in NFL history). By the end of the third quarter, Favre got hot and started throwing touchdown passes, and though the Jets finally found the end zone, Favre had closed the gap to 22-20 with only a few minutes left on the clock in the fourth quarter. After some problematic clock management care of Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, the Vikings got the ball back with a little under two minutes to go in the game (and if you believed ESPN analysts Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden, the game was all but wrapped up as long as Favre had the ball). The old gunslinger couldn't make it happen, though, and on third down he tossed a lazy pass that was intercepted and returned for the game-clinching touchdown.
It was a great win for the Jets, who are now in sole possession of first place in the AFC East. In honor of their big win, enjoy R. Kelly's "Sign of a Victory."