Favre's 4 TOs doom Vikings in 14-10 loss to Miami
Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings could afford to be a little sluggish early last season. With pushovers Cleveland and Detroit in the first two weeks, they simply had too much talent to lose.
The schedule wasn't nearly as forgiving this year, and the Vikings suddenly find themselves in quite a hole after another sloppy start by the offense.
Favre was intercepted three times and the Miami Dolphins defense stopped Adrian Peterson on fourth-and-goal from the 1 to preserve a 14-10 victory over the Vikings on Sunday.
Favre accounted for four turnovers in the 2010 home opener, with the other a fumble on a sack by Cameron Wake in the end zone that Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi recovered to give Miami a 14-0 lead in the third quarter. He threw two interceptions at home all of last year in a magical season that suddenly seems so far away.
Star receiver Sidney Rice won't play for at least another month because of a hip injury and Percy Harvin will have an MRI on Monday on his injured hip. Now the Vikings (0-2) are facing the kind of uphill climb that they never had to endure last season, when they started 10-1 en route to the NFC title game.
''It's a 14-game season now and we're sitting at the bottom of it,'' said Favre, who was 22 of 36 for 225 yards and a dreadful 44.3 rating. ''What we do with it from here remains to be seen. It won't be any easier.''
Things are looking much better on South Beach, with the Dolphins off to their first 2-0 start since 2002 - winning two straight on the road to start the season for the first time since 1977. They have their no-name defense to thank for that.
Jason Allen intercepted two passes, Vontae Davis picked off another and the Dolphins turned the Vikings over on downs two more times to pick up the slack for their struggling offense.
''Coach was putting emphasis on being aggressive, being aggressive, being aggressive,'' linebacker Karlos Dansby said. ''To win a road game, you've got to apply a lot of pressure.''
Wake had 1 1/2 sacks, including his strip of Favre in the end zone. Chad Henne connected with Brandon Marshall for 46 yards and then threw a 5-yard TD to Brian Hartline on the team's opening possession of the game, but that was about it for the offense on Sunday.
The Dolphins were out-gained 364-226 and held the ball for nearly 13 minutes less than Minnesota.
Even though they allowed 145 yards rushing and a touchdown from Peterson, the Dolphins defense held firm when it mattered most.
They got great coverage from their young secondary to allow Kendall Langford the time to sack Favre on third down midway through the fourth quarter, forcing the Vikings to settle for a 28-yard field goal from Ryan Longwell that cut the lead to 14-10.
Then, on fourth-and-goal from the 1 with just over 2 minutes to play, Davis and Dansby burst through the Vikings line to stop Peterson just short of the goal line and preserve the lead.
''When you play teams of this caliber and you make those kind of plays in those situations, it validates what you're trying to do,'' coach Tony Sparano said. ''I think our football team is getting better in a lot of areas.''
Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combined for 110 yards on 23 carries, but both lost a fumble. After his big catch on the opening drive, Marshall was held to three catches for 25 yards the rest of the way.
Favre had one more crack at it when they got the ball back with 1:42 to play. But he threw incomplete on fourth down at the Dolphins 27 to end it.
''As long as we believe in ourselves we feel like we have a chance to win a game when we go into it,'' Ronnie Brown said. ''We're coached that way each week. I think if we continue to go in and do that then the sky's the limit.''
Faith and belief will be two key words this week in Minnesota, no doubt. For a team with title aspirations, there is a lot of work to be done.
''I came back to give this team a chance to win, to be a part of it,'' Favre said. ''My hope is that we still do that. I knew it was going to be tough to begin with. All I can ask of myself and this team is give great effort. We can't make excuses. There will be what-ifs and shoulda-coulda-wouldas. But you go down swinging and you win swinging. You do all you can do. If we don't make it, we don't make it.''