In the third quarter of Sunday night's game between Minnesota and Carolina, Brett Favre(notes) got into a "heated discussion" (Favre's words) with Vikings head coach Brad Childress. The subject of the discussion was Childress' attempt to bench his quarterback.
After briefly considering the recommendation, Favre denied the request. These were his postgame comments:
"There was a little heated discussion, I guess you would call it. We were up 7-6 at the time and it's no secret I was getting hit a little bit." … "I think everyone in the building was like, 'They're not moving the ball, they're not getting points.' And so Brad wanted to go in a different direction and I wanted to stay in the game. You know, we were up 7-6. Yeah, it's not 70-6, but we're up 7-6. I said, 'I'm staying in the game. I'm playing.'" … "We talked it out."
Minnesota eventually lost, 26-7. Favre's statements suggest that if he'd been benched, it would have been for performance issues, not for his own protection. There's really no obvious reason for the Vikings to rest key players right now. Minnesota clinched a division title earlier in the day when Green Bay lost, but the team has not yet locked up a playoff bye and they're still in the race for homefield advantage in the NFC.
Did Childress actually believe that Tarvaris Jackson(notes) gave the Vikings a better chance to hold a one-point lead? We'll never know. Childress wasn't particularly forthcoming with the press following the game, unlike his quarterback.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Sunday night was actually the second time this season that Childress has attempted to lift Favre. The coach apparently wanted to pull Favre against Detroit in Week 10, too, but he was rebuffed. These reports raise legitimate questions about who, exactly, is in charge of the Vikings at the moment.
We know who was in charge of them on Sunday, of course: Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers(notes). Carolina pressured Favre endlessly, sacking him four times. Childress succeeded in removing at least one of his players from the game when he benched tackle Bryant McKinnie(notes) in the fourth quarter. McKinnie had simply been punished by Peppers.
The Vikings aren't really peaking at the right time, but they travel to Chicago next Monday. The Bears are going to make everything OK, at least for a week.
• DeAngelo Williams(notes) exited Carolina's win in the first half due to a left ankle injury. In his absence, Jonathan Stewart(notes) was an absolute terror, rushing for 109 yards on 25 carries and scoring a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns. The Panthers face a tough run defense next week when they face the Giants, but Stewart obviously abused a respectable defense on Sunday night. [Charlotte Observer]
• The Eagles are calling Michael Vick's(notes) injury a quad contusion. "We'll see how it goes this week," said Andy Reid, committing to nothing. It's tough to believe Vick won't be available for his usual cameo in Week 16. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
• Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck(notes) had to be assisted off the field in the second half of Sunday's overtime win over the Dolphins. He injured his left knee and will undergo tests on Monday to determine the extent of the damage. It didn't look good. Bulluck is having another excellent season (108 tackles, three INTs) and Sunday's game was his 127th consecutive NFL start. [The Tennessean]
• The Ravens have lost rookie kick returner/cornerback Lardarius Webb(notes) for the remainder of the season due to a suspected ACL tear. Webb had been starting in place of corner Fabian Washington(notes), who tore an ACL back in November. This is clearly terrible news for a defense that's about to face a quarterback who's coming off a 503-yard day. [Baltimore Sun]
• When a guy rushes for 286 yards and three TDs, there's really a lot to talk about. In our coverage of Jerome Harrison's(notes) huge day against the Chiefs on Sunday, we neglected to mention the very smart thing he did at the conclusion of his final score. Harrison's third TD broke a 34-34 tie in the final minute, and he actually took a few seconds off the game clock by deliberately running parallel to the goal line before crossing the plane. It was like the Stokley play, but on a shorter field. Kansas City drove to Cleveland's 26 yard line on their final possession, so Harrison's move clearly mattered. [NFL.com]
• It just wouldn't be a proper Monday 7-on-7 without the Rams Report Card. Steven Jackson needs to demand a conference with the author. If any player on that team deserves an A, it's Jackson. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
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