EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Brett Favre was at his dazzling best after a miserable start that put the Minnesota Vikings in a hole Monday night.
There would be no classic comeback this time, though, for the record-breaking quarterback.
Hit hard early and often by Rex Ryan’s physical defense, Favre nearly led the Vikings back with a milestone night, but Dwight Lowery returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown with 1:30 left as the New York Jets beat the Vikings 29-20 in a game that was delayed 45 minutes at the start by lightning.
Lacking fireworks early, Nick Folk kicked five field goals for the Jets (4-1), two after fumbles by Favre. Now the 41-year-old quarterback is left wondering if even bigger punishment is in store from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Favre finished 14 of 34 for 264 yards for the Vikings (1-3) hours after he apologized to teammates for the distraction caused by an NFL investigation into allegations that he sent racy messages and lewd photos to a Jets game hostess in 2008.
He became the first NFL player to throw 500 touchdown passes and for 70,000 yards, but the two early fumbles against his former team helped put the Vikings in a 12-0 hole.
Favre threw three touchdowns, including two to Percy Harvin – the second bringing the Vikings within two points with 3:09 left in the game. Favre and the Vikings offense had the ball with 1:43 remaining and poised for a winning drive – until Favre’s last big mistake.
He connected with new teammate Randy Moss from 37 yards out late in the third quarter to cut the Jets’ lead to 12-7. Favre zipped down the field and jumped into Moss’ arms in the end zone to celebrate.
Less than 5 minutes later, Favre hit Harvin for a 34-yard TD that made it 15-13 with 12:47 left. But Favre’s tying 2-point conversion try was intercepted by Antonio Cromartie in the end zone.
Shonn Greene’s 23-yard touchdown run with 4:30 left gave the Jets a 22-13 lead that appeared to seal the victory, but Favre still had plenty of time to try for a comeback victory.
The game marked the Vikings debut for Moss, who finished with four catches for 81 yards, including the touchdown, while being defended mostly by Cromartie despite the return of Darrelle Revis from a hamstring injury.
Adrian Peterson had 88 yards on 18 carries for Minnesota.
New York’s offense struggled for the first time since Week 1, failing to get much going – other than field goals – until late.
Mark Sanchez was 21 of 44 for 191 yards, and still hasn’t thrown an interception this season, although he came close a few times. Santonio Holmes played his first game with the Jets after being suspended the first four for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He finished with three catches for 41 yards.
LaDainian Tomlinson had another solid game for the Jets with 94 yards rushing on 20 carries.
Jets 29, Vikings 20
NYJ—FG Folk 25, 4:55.
NYJ—FG Folk 53, 5:29.
NYJ—FG Folk 22, :17.
NYJ—FG Folk 34, 8:49.
Min—Moss 37 pass from Favre (Longwell kick), 2:10.
NYJ—FG Folk 31, :49.
Min—Harvin 34 pass from Favre (pass failed), 12:47.
NYJ—Greene 23 run (Folk kick), 4:30.
Min—Harvin 11 pass from Favre (Longwell kick), 3:09.
NYJ—Lowery 26 interception return (Folk kick), 1:30.
|Total Net Yards||336||328|
|Time of Poss.||26:05||33:55|
RUSHING—Minnesota, Peterson 18-88, Gerhart 2-7, Favre 4-1. N.Y. Jets, Tomlinson 20-94, Greene 10-57, B.Smith 2-4.
PASSING—Minnesota, Favre 14-34-1-264. N.Y. Jets, Sanchez 21-44-0-191.
RECEIVING—Minnesota, Harvin 5-97, Moss 4-81, Shiancoe 2-28, Lewis 1-33, Peterson 1-20, Kleinsasser 1-5. N.Y. Jets, Edwards 5-70, Cotchery 5-46, Tomlinson 5-13, Holmes 3-41, Keller 2-14, Conner 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.