Top 20 Games of 2010  

 

No. 9: Vikings fail to overcome miscues, replays vs. Packers

  • By NFL.com
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As the research analyst for NFL Network's NFL RedZone, Elliot Harrison watched all 267 games in the 2010 season. We asked him to rank the 20 most memorable.

The Vikings would've been up 21-14 on a team that wasn't that much better than they were.

Instead, they played behind the eight ball all night, seemingly chasing points that should've been on the board.

Vikings at Packers: Tale of the tape*
Category
2-3
W-L
3-3
3rd, NFC North
Standings
2nd, NFC North
24th (301.8 ypg)
Off. rank
13th (345.2 ypg)
5th (294.2 ypg)
Def. rank
15th (327.8 ypg)
* Coming into Week 7

Chasing their own tail was the story for the 2010 Vikings … CHASING Brett Favre's 33 touchdown performance of 2009 … CHASING one bad play from a conference title game that led to the organization pushing ALL of its chips to the middle of the table to win a ring in 2010 … CHASING a club (Green Bay) that overcame its own roadblocks, while Minnesota let roadblocks derail its entire season.

The ironic thing is, Shiancoe did catch that ball. The replay was clear. Making matters worse, the score should've probably been 21-7 or 21-10, as the Packers were gift-wrapped a touchdown on a sketchy "completion" earlier in the game.

In October, the gap between these clubs was Calista Flockhart-thin. Green Bay came in at 3-3, while the Vikings were just a half game back at 2-3. That said, the 28-24 loss in Green Bay would shape the Vikings' season, and not in a good way.

Favre showed his usual flash of pure greatness, making a tough throw to Percy Harvin with 48 seconds to go that would've been the go-ahead score. However, Harvin didn't tap his feet down inbounds like a veteran wideout should.

The Harvin play was another in a long line of near misses that would plague Minnesota all year. As for Favre … while still capable of being brilliant, he could also channel his 29-interception self from 2005. Exhibit A: A pick-six to Desmond Bishop to give the Packers an 11-point second-half lead.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, if not for the controversial calls, Minnesota would've been in control in the second half, using their stud running back (Adrian Peterson) to whittle down the clock.

Should haves are should haves, and results are results.

You see, this wildly entertaining game also defined Green Bay's championship season. The Packers never panicked, making clutch plays to win this game (like picking Favre three times), and others that followed. They overcame every hurdle -- like having 15 guys land on IR -- to be precisely what the Vikings weren't: Resilient.

Game rewind

Controversial call No. 1

The Shiancoe incompletion is worth another look ... it appears as though the tight end has the ball securely between his forearms, and the ground helps him nada. Yet, the replay booth didn't see it that way.


Controversial call No. 2

Unfortunately, the Shiancoe non-touchdown was not the only gift to the green and gold on this Sunday night in October. Check out Andrew Quarless' second quarter touchdown catch from Aaron Rodgers. It sure looks like that loaf is shuffling around in his bread basket as he hits the ground … unlike Shiancoe, who had complete control of the football when he hit the deck on his catch.


Controversial call No. 3?

There's an old adage in football ... it might have come from Knute Rockne, the "10-Yard Fight" arcade game, or Curly Lambeau himself: A play is a "bad call" if it doesn't work. In actuality, sometimes a call is brilliant but your backup quarterback just doesn't execute.

Tied at 14 in the second quarter, Packers coach Mike McCarthy took a risk, but it didn't quite pan out. Bad call (but not really.)


Why is this game No. 9 of 2010?

Any time a game has a replay call -- and one that should've been replayed -- that greatly impacted the outcome, it becomes far more memorable.

But this contest was so much more than that ... Favre playing for the last time at Lambeau ... Aaron Rodgers playing cool as a cucumber ... and several close plays that could have turned the game one way or the other. Green Bay nearly pulled off a sweet fake field goal, just one of about 10 plays this game turned on.

Packers-Vikings, to me, is always a classic and too often gets overshadowed by the Bears-Packers rivalry. I'd take this game over all three of the Bears-Packers meetings last season.

Why not higher?

Favre did everything he could at the end to pull it out on the last drive. He's been playing so long, I was a little worried that if he got hit harder some Botox would seep out.

The fact that Favre wasn't able to put Minnesota over the top parked this game at No. 9. If Harvin scored that touchdown, or Randy Moss actually made an effort on the last throw, Favre would've been a hero. Then again, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas.


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