I will begin by stating that I am a Vikings fan and have been since the moment I could recognize basic color schemes. In the past I would have become despondent and bitter after a game like the one the nation witnessed Monday night against the Patriots. However, for whatever reason I watched the game not as a fan of a team, but as a fan of football, which led me to enjoy in near complete fascination the thumping that was dished out. It was a Zen moment, except to be Zen I can't really categorize it as Zen or even consciously recognize it as such, so maybe it is better described as an out of body experience.
As my soul floated just outside the confines of my corporeal visage I recognized the moment the Patriots started their first offensive possession that it was going to be a long night. The five receiver/shotgun set immediately neutralized the playmakers of the Vikings' defense this season, the linebackers. For all the doubt and speculation that occurred before the season about that position for the team, they have provided wonderful run support, good zone and man coverage and most importantly been disruptors in blitz packages. The spread offense kept the Vikings in a permanent nickel/dime defense which highlighted the fact that the Vikings are really shallow at d-back and that Dwight Smith is slow, Greg Blue is a hitter not a cover guy (yet) and Ronyell Whitaker shouldn’t be on the field. Most of the night the Vikings had three rookies playing in the defensive backfield, which when coupled with the complete absence of a pass rush (see what I mean about the impact of the linebackers) allowed for the surreal dissection that the nation witnessed Tom Brady undertake.
Brad Childress and his crew were taken to school by the best mind in football. Belichick created and executed a game plan that was, from all I could tell, completely different than what the Vikings had prepared for. I imagine it is similar to what the British felt when the American revolutionaries fought not in orderly lines of attack in the open, but rather in loose formations and decided it was better to use trees and other cover to defend against the more numerous and better trained professional Red Coats. Not even halftime adjustments, which the Vikings have successfully used all season long, could put a dent in the machine that was the Patriots offense. I expect that Childress and Tomlin are the kind of guys that will learn from this ass kicking and hopefully the team as whole will be better for it.
As for Brad Johnson, I must disagree with Barn Yard’s "reasonable" contention that he sucks. There is no doubt that he had a horrible game, full of poor decisions, and was deservedly benched. However, I think he will not have a repeat of this performance for the rest of the season, because he will realize that he tried too hard to make plays that weren’t there, and that is just not his game. I mean Brett Favre is a future Hall of Famer and he has had 15-20 games like this in the last 6-7 years of his career. Fortunately, the schedule should permit a few rebound games in the coming weeks, allowing the team opportunities to be tested in similar fashion by lower quality opponents (I guarantee it won’t be the last time they see a spread offense).