Brett Favre's streak is over, and his career might be too. And Tarvaris Jackson's days with the team…
Turning point: Jackson's defining drives fail
With 8:11 to play in the second quarter, the Giants had just scored their first points of the game, set up by a 73-yard run from Brandon Jacobs, who capped the drive three plays later with a 1-yard touchdown run to give New York a 7-3 lead. It was Jackson's chance to bring the Vikings back and make a game of it. The results? Vintage T-Jack.
Drive No. 1—Faced with a third-and-2, Bryant McKinnie started early to back the Vikings up 5 yards and, on the next play, Jackson was sacked for a 10-yard loss. Result—Three plays, minus-2 yards.
Drive No. 2—Still trailing 7-3 with 3:32 to play in the first half, the Vikings started at their own 45-yard with a short field to get into field goal range. At midfield, a holding call pushed the Vikings back 10 yards and a botched exchange in the shotgun on third down resulted in a 16-yard loss. Result—Three plays, minus-15 yards.
Drive No. 3—Trailing 14-3 with 11:35 to play in the third quarter, the Vikings opened on their own 36-yard line. After throwing a first-down incompletion, Jackson threw a pass almost directly into the chest of linebacker Keith Bullock, giving the ball over to the Giants. Result—Two plays, 0 yards.
Drive No. 4—Starting on their own 10-yard line, Jackson's only completion was to Bernard Berrian, which lost 2 yards. Result— Three plays, minus-1 yards.
Drive No. 5—Still trailing 14-3 with 5:18 to play in the third quarter, the Vikings were pinned on their own 8-yard line. A pair of Peterson runs and a Jackson incompletion forced the Vikings to punt again. A false start on the punt sent them back another 5 yards. The Giants gashed the Vikings with a 48-yard touchdown run by Ahmad Bradshaw on the next drive to give the Giants a 21-3 lead with 2:46 to play in the third quarter. Result—Three plays, 3 yards.
From the moment the Vikings first fell behind with 8:11 to play in the second quarter, the offense had the ball six times before it earned its next first down – which came on a third-and-15 conversion with 1:11 to play in the third quarter. In a game that lasts just 60 minutes, the Vikings had five possessions in which fourteen offensive plays netted minus-15 yards. It was the chance for Jackson to assert himself as a viable candidate as a replacement for Favre – both in the short-term and the long-term. Instead, his ineptitude for a 22-minute span between first downs set back that process significantly and turned into a devastating turning point.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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