Dallas and Minnesota fell to 0-2 Sunday, and history is not kind to teams in that position.
Eighty-eight teams have played in the Super Bowl. Exactly four of them started the season 0-2.
None of them fell to 0-3.
Next week’s game against Detroit is now even more of a must-win for the Vikings. Their schedule is heavily front-loaded, with seven of the first ten games coming against playoff teams from 2009.
The good news is that they’ll have a bye week after the Lions, then an extra day before facing the physical New York Jets on a Monday night. The better news is that the playoff team they’ll face in the short week that follows is Dallas.
The bad news is, Brett Favre won’t be any younger, and Brad Childress will still be the coach.
Favre threw three interceptions and had another nullified by a penalty; he was sacked three times, one of which resulted in a Miami fumble recovery for a touchdown. The Vikings’ only touchdown drive came after Ricky Williams turned the ball over on the Miami three; Adrian Peterson took it in after a Favre incompletion.
Childress inexplicably chose to go for the first down on fourth-and-2 at the Miami 26 on Minnesota’s first drive of the game. Rather than let Ryan Longwell try a 45-yard field goal (Longwell is 23-for-27 from 40 or longer since 2008), the Vikes tried to throw for the first, and Favre’s pass over the middle was knocked down at the line.
The three missing points meant that Minnesota, trailing 14-10 in the fourth quarter, had to try for a touchdown on its two late drives in Miami territory. On the first, Peterson – having his most productive game since the first week of the 2009 season — was stuffed at the one with 2:21 remaining. On the second, the Vikings reached the Miami 27 in the last minute, but three incompletions ended their final threat.
Tough as it looks for Minnesota, at least they lost to expected contenders. The Cowboys have now fallen to the Redskins and the Bears, two teams likely to struggle to reach 8-8. They’ll travel next week to Houston to face the 2-0 Texans; a loss there, and the erstwhile America’s Team won’t even be able to claim supremacy in the Lone Star State.
The Cowboys’ defense performed the remarkable feat of making Jay Cutler look efficient. Cutler completed 21 of 29 for 277 yards and three touchdowns. The Bears got into the end zone on drives of three plays for 58 yards, six plays for 74 yards, and four plays for 66 yards. They gained just 38 yards on 19 rushing plays, converted one of 11 third downs – and won comfortably, aided by two Tony Romo interceptions and a Charles Tillman strip of Roy Williams that derailed a possible fourth-quarter rally.
There were no obvious gaffes as bad as the bungled screen pass at the end of the first half against Washington, but when Dallas needs Tony Romo to throw fifty-four times, they’re going to lose. Chicago limited the Cowboys’ running game to 1.8 yards per carry; Dallas ran just seven times in 38 second-half plays (ignoring kicks) for a net of 4 yards.
It’s looking very unlikely that Jerry Jones will get to watch his team play in the Super Bowl at his mammoth stadium come February. There are few good omens for 0-2 teams, making it all the more important that the Jets, Colts, Chargers, and Falcons managed to avoid dropping their second straight. It’s a long season, but it’s even longer when you’re fighting an uphill battle for fourteen weeks.