Monday, October 19, 2009

Wide Left

Well, I guess it's better to be lucky than good sometimes.

With 8 minutes to play yesterday, the Vikings looked to be on cruise control, as they had just gone up, 27-10, and while I was watching the game at Bar None in Manhattan, someone in the bar yelled out: "Bring on Pittsburgh!!" (The Vikings play the Steelers next Sunday.) I was thinking that was a bit premature, and I was proven correct.

The Baltimore Ravens came storming back and scored three TDs in the fourth, and within five minutes it was 31-30, and I was wondering what the hell just happened (and where the Vikings defense disappeared to). Ray Rice scored on a 33-yard run and was barely touched in the process, and it was apparent the defense was asleep at the switch and Baltimore had gained some late-game momentum.

From the beginning it looked like a Vikings cakewalk, as they scored two TDs in the first two possessions. But that was it for the first half, as it was 14-3 at halftime.

The Ravens got back into it in the third quarter, but the Vikings answered back each time, and by the fourth it looked all but over. Brett Favre threw two TDs to Visanthe Shiancoe, and one to Bernard Berrian, and Ryan Longwell had kicked three field goals. Adrian Peterson rushed for his highest yard total since opening day, 143 yards. But a key injury to safety Antoine Winfield took him out of the game in the second quarter and Baltimore exploited that late in the game. (It was a foot injury, still to be determined how long he will be out.)

The Vikings got the ball with just over three minutes to play, and long pass from Favre to Sidney Rice set up Longwell's fourth FG. But Baltimore still had just under two minutes and no timeouts, and a short kickoff gave the Ravens good field position. They moved the ball to the Vikings 27 with two seconds to play, and it set up a Steve Hauschka 44-yard field goal attempt.

As soon as it left his foot, you could see it going wide left of the goal post. As it was, the memory of Gary Anderson's infamous 38-yard miss in the 1998 NFC title game flashed in my mind, as it almost in the same exact spot. But Sunday's miss gave the Vikings the victory, 33-31, and set Bar None off in delerium, although most of it was more relief than anything else.

Once again, the Vikings dash bullets in the final seconds and pull out a win. They are now 6-0, still perfect, and put that undefeated record on the line next Sunday against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

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