Favre works some dome magic

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brett Favre looked tired and felt even worse late Sunday afternoon as he stood at a lectern inside the Metrodome. "I'm worn out," he said. "Believe me, I could fall right now."...

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brett Favre looked tired and felt even worse late Sunday afternoon as he stood at a lectern inside the Metrodome. "I'm worn out," he said. "Believe me, I could fall right now."

At that point, Favre knew how many in the announced crowd of 63,398 probably felt about a half-hour earlier when he completed a 32-yard last-gasp touchdown pass to wide receiver Greg Lewis on third-and-3 with two seconds remaining to give the Vikings a 27-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

That scoring strike marked the 43rd time the cardiac quarterback had led his team from a fourth

quarter deficit or tie and left the Vikings atop the NFC North with a 3-0 record heading into next Monday's night matchup against the Green Bay Packers at the Metrodome.

The expectations that will come with that game -- one that will pit Favre against the team from which he bitterly divorced after 16 years together -- will be monumental. Yet, it might be hard to top what transpired Sunday in the Vikings' home opener.


"Just another day at the office," coach Brad Childress said.

For these Vikings, that is getting to be the case, and if it continues perhaps Childress can begin endorsing antacid tablets.

The Vikings had to rally from a halftime deficit for the third game in a row, but unlike the first two they were not able to pull away in the second half for an easy victory.

The 49ers were not only able to stick around in this game but actually took a 24-20 lead with 8:12 left in the fourth quarter when tight end Vernon Davis caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from former Viking Shaun Hill. That came after the Vikings rallied from a 17-13 deficit to take a third-quarter lead on Percy Harvin's 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

In the Vikings' eyes, everything turned out fine because of Favre and wide receiver Greg Lewis. The two not only combined for the winning score, they also strengthened the argument for every player who thinks training camp is a waste of time -- and that's most of them. Favre ended his retirement and joined the Vikings on Aug. 18 after the team had left its Mankato, Minn., camp; Lewis was signed just over three weeks ago.

In other words, there is no way the two could have been on the same page when it mattered most. Except they were. The Vikings appeared to be in big trouble after turning over the ball on downs with 1:49 left in the fourth quarter when cornerback Dre Bly nearly intercepted Favre's pass for Harvin. San Francisco then had running back Glen Coffee run three times for 6 yards while the Vikings used all three of their timeouts to stop the clock.

The Vikings started the winning drive from their own 20 with 1:29 left and no timeouts. Favre was thinking, "We blew our chances," but he never let on. He proceeded to complete five of nine passes -- twice he spiked the ball to stop the clock -- and put the ball at the 49ers 32 with 12 seconds left. Having been in this situation many times before, Favre knew his best chance was to use his still-strong right arm to drill the ball into the end zone.

So that's what he did. Favre rolled right, lured 49ers defenders toward him and then as he was being smacked to the ground from behind by linebacker Manny Lawson, Favre let fly. Lewis, who had been inactive for the first two games, made a leaping catch and managed to keep both toes inbounds.


San Francisco 0 14 3 7--24

Minnesota 7 6 7 7--27

First Quarter

Min--Rice 30 pass from Favre (Longwell kick), 8:38.

Second Quarter

Min--FG Longwell 40, 13:09.

SF--V.Davis 5 pass from S.Hill (Nedney kick), 9:26.

Min--FG Longwell 52, 3:26.


SF--Clements 59 blocked field goal return (Nedney kick), :00.

Third Quarter

SF--FG Nedney 37, 4:47.

Min--Harvin 101 kickoff return (Longwell kick), 4:34.

Fourth Quarter

SF--V.Davis 20 pass from S.Hill (Nedney kick), 8:12.

Min--Lewis 32 pass from Favre (Longwell kick), :02.


SF Min

First downs 13 19

Total Net Yards 246 377

Rushes-yards 26-58 27-94

Passing 188 283

Punt Returns 3-19 5-58

Kickoff Returns 4-92 4-180

Interceptions Ret. 1-2 1-0

Comp-Att-Int 15-25-1 24-46-1

Sacked-Yards Lost 1-7 2-18

Punts 9-51.7 6-46.0

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0

Penalties-Yards 7-60 9-52

Time of Possession 27:51 32:09


RUSHING--San Francisco, Coffee 25-54, Gore 1-4. Minnesota, Peterson 19-85, Taylor 6-16, Favre 1-1, Harvin 1-(-8).

PASSING--San Francisco, S.Hill 15-25-1-195. Minnesota, Favre 24-46-1-301.

RECEIVING--San Francisco, V.Davis 7-96, Morgan 4-47, Bruce 2-38, Robinson 1-8, Norris 1-6. Minnesota, Taylor 7-70, Berrian 4-56, Rice 4-56, Harvin 4-51, Shiancoe 2-22, Peterson 2-14, Lewis 1-32.

MISSED FIELD GOALS--Minnesota, Longwell 44.

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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