By Alex Teal
Yesterday’s Halloween tilt between the New England Patriots (6-1) and the Minnesota Vikings (2-5) had an incredible atmosphere, with fans in costumes ranging from “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie to the Joker from “Dark Knight.”
Beyond the buzz of the holiday, the return of Randy Moss and theatrics of Brett Favre were major topics of discussion in many tailgate groups. What topped all, though, was the on-field performance by the Pats.
On a day of side shows and nonsense, the crowd was focused on the game, hanging on every possession and ready for a hard-nosed physical football game.
The Vikings were the first to score as Adrian Peterson ran hard and often in the first half, leading to the opening score. Tom Brady and the offense responded quickly with a solid drive that was catapulted by a near interception turned Brandon Tate circus catch; the drive was capped off with a Danny Woodhead touchdown run.
The Patriots’ defense, which seems to improve from week to week, was once again up for a challenge. They shut down Randy Moss, but left minor gaps in the defense where Percy Harvin made some plays and Peterson picked up yardage. Ultimately, though, the “D” held up their end of the bargain – highlighted by a 4th down stand at goal-line as the first half ended.
In the second half the offense was more in sync, led by the rushing attack of Benjarvis Green-Ellis and some great quarterback play by Brady. Green-Ellis scored twice, including a game-clinching score where he flipped upside down and finally landed in the end zone late in the 4th quarter, leading to New England’s 28-18 victory.
Beyond the actual game, the Brett Favre saga added another chapter as he was carted off the field with what appeared to be a serious injury but was merely a wound on his chin that required eight stitches.
Favre finalized the day with yet another riveting press conference, insisting that “I’m in it to win it,” and continuing, “There have been plenty of times I should have been knocked out, but I wasn’t. I think I’m all right.”
The drama that ensued when Brett Favre took the podium was that of daytime television, but when it came down to football the Patriots outplayed the Vikings and the Favre show was headed back to Minnesota.