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Vikings Outlast Ravens, Win 33-31

Posted Oct 18, 2009

Game Summary

A career day from WR Sidney Rice, some more late-game magic by Brett Favre and little good fortune was enough for the Vikings to hold off and outscore a resilient Baltimore Ravens team 33-31 at Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome on Sunday.

The Vikings took a 20-10 lead into the 4th quarter and after a Visanthe Shiancoe TD early in the period to increase the lead to 27-10, it looked like the Vikings would coast to their 6th straight win.

But Baltimore wouldn’t allow it to be that easy. Behind 196 4th-quarter passing yards and 2 TDs from QB Joe Flacco, plus a 33-yard scoring run by Ray Rice, the Ravens put on a tremendous late-game surge and eventually claimed a 31-30 lead with 3:37 to play in the game.

Favre, Rice and the Vikings would not be denied, however, and they also stormed back. On the drive following Baltimore’s go-ahead TD, the Vikings faced a 2nd and 6 from their own 24-yardline with just under 3 minutes to play. Favre took the snap, play-action faked to the left and then rolled out on a naked bootleg to the right. Rice changed his route mid-play and ran a fly route down the right sideline. Favre saw Rice streaking, pump faked a few times to allow Rice time to get down the field and then launched a pass in Rice’s direction. The lanky 6-4 WR ran under the ball and hauled in the catch, in spite of a pass interference penalty, a 58-yard gain that advanced the Vikings from their own 24-yardline to the Ravens 18.

Three plays after Rice’s dramatic reception, K Ryan Longwell came on to hit a 31-yard FG to give the Vikings a 33-31 lead with just under 2 minutes to play.

Flacco and the Ravens had time to drive, though, and they managed to work their way down to the Vikings 26-yardline and stop the clock with only 2 seconds to play in the game, setting K Steven Hauschka up for a game-winning FG attempt. Hauschka, who had been with the Vikings during 2008 training camp, missed the try wide left and the Vikings came away with a dramatic and thrilling 33-31 win at home to move to 6-0.

It was over when…

Hauschka’s kick sailed wide left and time expired with the Vikings holding onto a 33-31 lead.

Highlights

-- Rice had a career day and it was highlighted by the 58-yard reception that put Longwell in position to hit the game-winning field goal. In the 3rd quarter, Rice also had a 63-yard reception on a 1st down play that eventually led to a Longwell FG that extended the Vikings lead to 20-10. In total for the day, Rice had 6 receptions for 176 yards.

-- Even against a nasty Ravens defense, RB Adrian Peterson was able to get back on track. Peterson carried the ball 22 times and gained 143 yards and he also added 4 receptions for 23 yards.

-- It was a great all-around defensive day for the Vikings, but DT Kevin Williams was on his “A” game and tallied 2.0 sacks. DE Jared Allen also contributed with a sack and 4 tackles for a loss. LB Chad Greenway led all defenders in tackles with 10 and CB Cedric Griffin registered 9 tackles.

-- TE Visanthe Shiancoe found the endzone twice on Sunday, scoring in the 1st quarter on a 19-yard reception and then in the 4th quarter from 1 yard out. Shiancoe now has 8 TDs in his last 10 regular season games.

-- Favre continued his steady and efficient play, completing 21 of 29 passes for 278 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs and a passer rating of 136.9. It was his steady hand that again guided a late-game drive to set up the game-winning score.

-- Longwell had a great day kicking the ball, hitting 4 FGs (40, 22, 29 and 31 yards) and converting 3 of 3 extra points.

-- Baltimore came in with the NFL’s 6th ranked rushing attack, averaging 133.6 yards per game, but the Vikings shut down La’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee and Ray Rice. The trio carried the ball 18 times for 81 yards. They did, however, reach the endzone twice, including a 33-yarder by Rice at the end of the game that almost won it for the Ravens.

-- P Chris Kluwe did a nice job, stopping 3 of his punts inside the 20-yardline and finishing with a net average of 43.4. He and the punt coverage units combined to allow just 10 return yards on 4 returns.

-- This game will be remembered for the 2nd half scoring surge by both teams, but the Vikings defense had Baltimore’s offense shut down for 2 full quarters. Baltimore had 6 punts in its first 7 possessions and was able to manage just a FG through the entire 1st half.

-- NO TURNOVERS!

A couple of things to work on…

-- The Vikings pass defense took another hit today as they allowed Flacco to throw for 385 yards and 2 scores on 43 attempts. Rice had 10 receptions for 117 yards and #1 receiver Derrick Mason had 7 grabs for 97 yards and 1 TD. Granted, Baltimore had a lot of attempts and they weren’t able to run it, but Flacco led the Ravens on 4 scoring drives in the 2nd half and also had his team in position to win the game with 2 seconds to play.

-- The kick coverage units have been solid for the Vikings this season, but Baltimore was able to get loose for a couple nice returns on Sunday. Lardarius Webb averaged 23.6 yards per kickoff return on 7 attempts and had a long of 40 on the day, something the Vikings will look to correct this week.

-- After jumping out to a quick 14-0 lead in the 1st quarter, the Vikings went 3-and-out on 3 of their next 4 possessions and punted 4 consecutive times. Jumping out to the lead was great, but the offense will look to correct the negative plays and sacks that led to so many unproductive series.

What They Were Saying…

-- “Well you know he’s (Brett Favre) been to a few of those rodeos before. Ahead, behind, he knows what he’s doing with the football in this system. He’s done a nice job of putting it where he needs to put it to the guys he needs to put it to.” – Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress

-- “I didn’t. I didn’t. When I looked up I saw the kicker go (motions hands in the air) and I thought that was a good sign. That was pretty awesome.” – QB Brett Favre, asked if he watched Baltimore’s game-winning FG attempt

-- “A lot of focus out there. I think that we came out and did a great job on the first drive and that is something that we have to continue throughout the whole game. I made a couple big plays, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the other ten guys out there on the field.” – WR Sidney Rice

-- “Yeah, that is what we expect – I think that’s what the whole crowd expects. Time and time again he does it, he does it well and that’s a reason why he’s going to be a Hall-of-Famer. I’m just excited we have him on our side.” – LB Ben Leber, asked if he sensed Favre would lead a comeback

-- “I would hate to be a corner having to jump up and cover him or make a play on the ball. The guy has nearly a 50-inch vertical. He uses it to his advantage, too. Sidney is really not going to out run anybody, and I mean that with all due respect. What he lacks in speed he makes up for in a lot of areas.” – QB Brett Favre

-- “You know that you’re not happy with the way you played – well, we were happy with the way we played for three quarters, but we gave up those points at the end – but we got the win, and in the NFL, the biggest thing is getting the win. They (the Ravens) are a good team, and we knew they would battle back at the end.” – LB Chad Greenway

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