For the second time in three weeks the Vikings were playing in front of a national audience on a Sunday night; and for the second time in three weeks, Minnesota was blown out by an inferior opponent.
This leaves plenty of questions, most of which will go unanswered.
Vikings coach Brad Childress follows the lead of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and gives away as little as possible.
If not for a loose-lipped quarterback, no one would have known the extent to which Childress wanted to switch quarterbacks in the loss at Carolina. Brett Favre though, follows the lead of fellow loose-lipper Joe Namath.
After the game late Sunday night, Childress downplayed any issues over his animated conversation with Brett Favre, but Brett indicative of his workhorse nature, said too much. He always does.
After games, Brett routinely speaks much longer than the head coach. Not just in the number of questions he fields, but the depth to which he answers them. Where Chilly answers without actually answering, the Silver Fox overloads you with information. It's like some sort of superhero duo, just a lot less interesting.
"It was more of a stream of consciousness," Childress explained. "So as I'm watching that occur, I'm giving him a stream of consciousness. Obviously, he didn't want anything to do with that."
Why would he? This is the quarterback he so famously chauffeured from the airport. Not content planning for the future; he gave away all of his eggs to Favre. You can't just take them back without expecting a few of them to break.
With that said, this whole thing has been overblown, but it gets that way when one guy says nothing and the other too much.
Instead the focus should be on how bad they played as a team, again.
The offensive line was non-existent, the defensive line failed to pressure an inexperienced quarterback, the linebackers couldn't tackle, the running backs couldn't break through, the defensive backs couldn't cover Steve Smith, the wide receivers couldn't create space, Ben Leber couldn't jump on a fumble...I haven't even gotten to the quarterback.
Childress and Favre talked things through earlier this week, although Favre was a bit more forthcoming, they came to the same conclusion. Success stays on the ground.
"I know our offense starts with Adrian Peterson," said Favre. "That's where it ends and we have to get that back on track."
That's an easy task this week, with another dismal team, but Minnesota has struggled on the road so it may prove more effort than it's worth. But it's critical for the Vikings to win these final two games. Not because they need everyone to get along or to peak at the right time, but because they need to secure the second seed and ensure the playoffs stay inside.
The team is not built to win outdoors; maybe they'd have a shot in Miami, but certainly not in Philadelphia.
With one of the easiest schedules in the league and a team loaded with talent, Childress was handed a first-round bye long ago. Miss that and there won't be anymore questions, you'll know the coaching broke down, again.
T.J. Melcher can be heard on KBUN AM-1450.