For the second time in four weeks, Randy Moss became the apple of his quarterback’s eye in a game in New York against the Jets, and yet again, it may have cost his team a victory.
Of course, that can’t be quantified exactly, and had that quarterback (in this case, one Mr. Brett Favre) not made a boneheaded decision on the game’s deciding play, Moss’ team could have walked away winners. But Favre did, the Vikings didn’t, and the loss looked fairly similar to the game the Patriots lost in that same building in Week 2.
When the Patriots played the Jets, Tom Brady targeted Moss 10 times, connecting just twice. Because one of those receptions was of the spectacular variety, fans still celebrated Moss’ “conquering” of cornerback Darrelle Revis. Yet at the end of the game, when the Patriots were 28-14 losers, it was easy to pinpoint Brady’s tunnel vision on No. 81 as one of the main contributors.
This video of a wide open Brandon Tate getting ignored by Brady is still some damning evidence.
On Monday night, Moss made his return to the Vikings, and he did so mostly in impressive fashion. His touchdown catch was vintage Moss, as he used his size and skill to shield Antonio Cromartie from the pass and haul it in. Quite obviously, Randy Moss is still an extraordinarily talented receiver.
Yet, because he was not up to speed on the Vikings’ entire playbook, he was not on the field for most of the Vikings’ 54-yard touchdown drive to cut the Jets’ lead to just two points with 3:09 left in the game. When the Vikings’ defense was busy stopping Mark Sanchez and the Jets’ offense on the ensuing drive, Moss was seen talking to coaches, diagramming plays and begging to get back on the field.
All night, Moss had mostly run vertical routes, with the exception of one or two short routes to pick up a first down. Predictably, the Vikings’ first play on the next drive went to Moss on a vertical route, one that Favre should never have thrown. Facing second-and-10 from his own 16, Favre then floated one of the worst passes in history over the head of Percy Harvin, and then, well, you know the rest.
The final stat sheet showed that Moss was targeted 10 times. He caught four of them for 81 yards and a touchdown, which is not to be dismissed. However, Vikings fans better get used to watching old No. 4 heave up some prayers in Moss’ direction. Sometimes, it will be a thing of beauty. Other times, it will float to the turf or get intercepted.
Of course, how much of that is Moss’ fault and how much is the fault of the quarterback’s is a worthy question. Rather than simply blaming Moss for being an elite wide receiver, it makes more sense blaming the allure of Moss — the image of that one, perfect bomb that keeps passes flying in his direction.
When it works, it instantly finds its way onto every NFL highlight package in the world. Yet more often than not, it’s an unsuccessful endeavor. At the very least, there is yet another shred of understanding as to why the Patriots were willing to part with Moss’ talent.
Was Brett Favre stuck on Randy Moss all night, thus costing the Vikings a win? Share your thoughts below.