Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett sacks Vikings quarterback Brett Favre Sunday.
MINNEAPOLIS – Derek Anderson wore a tired smile, and then answered what he thought about Brett Favre showing Sunday.
"He just needs to quit," Anderson said.
That's what the Vikings almost did Sunday. Their season was imploding, their fans had turned, and the Cardinals were doing everything right. The Cards weren't turning the ball over and they were jamming up Favre when they needed to. They had all but handcuffed Adrian Peterson.
Then the Cards blinked, and Favre, well, was Favreian. Before the game, one scout who had seen the Vikings' video agreed Favre wasn't playing well but had just a little of that "Favre magic" floating around. That's what showed up at the end of what turned out to be a painful 27-24 overtime loss for the Cards.
It wasn't just painful because of the final score, but the way it came about. Coach Ken Whisenhunt and his players said all week if they wiped out the turnovers, they'd be in good shape. They were right, after the offense didn't turn it over.
They got Anderson's highest-rated game of the season, in fact. They may have gotten his smartest play of the season too, on third down right before the Cards' final field goal. It was the kind of play where Anderson has been known to force a pass, usually with poor results. But he chucked the ball out of the back of the end zone.
A touchdown would have been nice. But Jay Feely's kick made it a 14-point lead, capped a crowd-quieting 14-play, 89-yard drive, and should have been enough. It really ought to have been enough.
"We put ourselves in a great position and as a defense, that's the position you want to be in," linebacker Joey Porter said.
Apparently, it was the position Favre needed to be in too. When the fourth quarter started, it was hard to believe Favre would have ended up with 446 yards passing, a career-high. Between being blasted by Porter or Darnell Dockett or whomever (the Cards ended up with three sacks and another nine quarterback hits), Favre admitted "I was so tired."
"I couldn't have told you if it was 100 (yards passing) or 400," Favre said, but the Cards could have, watching him zing pass after pass until he finally got safety Adrian Wilson twisted around with 27 seconds left so he could drop the game-tying touchdown in to tight end Visanthe Sciancoe.
"That's the way you want the game, you want it on your back," safety Rashad Johnson said. "We just didn't finish."
The offense couldn't either. The yards dried up after the Cards' last field goal, with no first downs in three possessions for the rest of regulation and overtime. That could have kept Favre and tiring defense off the field.
"We did some good things," Fitzgerald said. "But we've got to be able to put more points on the board."
Whisenhunt praised his team's effort and didn't sound like a coach who was interested in chastising his players for falling short. Building on what the Cards did positively is the only option.
"It's what you have to do," Whisenhunt said. "We have a number of home games left, a number of division games. If we can continue to make plays like today and make a few more, we have a chance to get this thing righted."
In the end, the Cardinals probably only needed to make one more play, whether it was the third-down pass dropped by running back Tim Hightower that might have been a first down, or Fitzgerald breaking out of the tackle of Lito Sheppard on the final possession before the Vikings tied it, or even Wilson finding a way to bat down the pass.
Instead, Favre kept making the plays.
"That's what he does," Whisenhunt said. "That's what it seems like he has been doing for forever."
Sunday, it was to the chagrin of the Cards.
"I told (Favre), 'I can't get you once before you're done?' " Anderson said.
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