MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Brett Favre’s latest amazing fourth-quarter comeback may have not only saved the Minnesota Vikings’ season, but coach Brad Childress’ job as well.
Favre threw for a career-high 446 yards to rally the Vikings from 14 points down in the final four and half minutes and Ryan Longwell’s 35-yard field goal in overtime lifted them to a 27-24 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Favre threw a 25-yard touchdown to Visanthe Shiancoe with 27 seconds to play in regulation, then hooked up with Bernard Berrian on a 22-yard pass in overtime to move the Vikings into position for an improbable victory.
The 41-year-old quarterback completed 36 of 47 passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions in easily his best performance of the season. Percy Harvin had nine catches for 126 yards and Adrian Peterson scored twice and had a 30-yard run in overtime for the Vikings (3-5), who were dogged by questions about coach Brad Childress’ job security all week long.
LaRod Stephens-Howling returned a kick 96 yards for a touchdown and Michael Adams returned a fumble 30 yards for a score for the Cardinals (3-5), who appeared to have the win sealed after stopping the Vikings on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line with just over six minutes to play and a 24-10 lead.
Favre has admitted to not always seeing eye-to-eye with Childress, but these Vikings sure didn’t quit on their embattled coach. Favre directed scoring drives of 40 and 77 yards in regulation, quickly turning chants of “Fire Childress!” to “Let’s Go Vikings!”
It was a stunning end to another tumultuous week for the Vikings. It started with Childress deciding to cut receiver Randy Moss, a move that not only stunned players but team management and ownership as well. His messy handling of the situation, both with the team and the media, raised serious doubts about his job security.
Owner Zygi Wilf declined to comment on Childress’ status before the game, only contributing to the speculation.
“The big thing is getting a win right now,” Wilf said before the game. “The big thing is to win this game and to be crowned division champions and we’re going to fight our (butts) off.”
Harvin fumbled the opening kickoff to the second half and Adams returned it 30 yards for a touchdown to give the Cardinals a 21-10 lead that wasn’t quite big enough.
Derek Anderson was 15 for 26 for 179 yards and a touchdown and Minneapolis native Larry Fitzgerald Jr. had seven catches for 107 yards for the Cardinals, who had the ball first to start overtime.’
But the Vikings defense smothered the Cardinals on that drive and Arizona had no answer for Peterson and Favre on the ensuing drive.
The Cardinals came into the week 30th in the NFL in passing offense, with inconsistency at quarterback the chief reason for the struggles. They’ve flip-flopped between Max Hall and Anderson, who finally gave them the kind of professional, veteran performance they’ve been looking for ever since Kurt Warner retired.
The Cardinals got the ball back with 1:30 to play in the first half and faced a third-and-19 early in the drive. But Anderson hit Fitzgerald for 30 yards, and deftly moved Arizona down the field with confidence and poise.
He hit Andre Roberts near the sideline, and safety Husain Abdullah and cornerback Chris Cook both missed tackles as he turned it into a 30-yard TD for a 14-10 lead going into halftime.
Berrian had nine catches for 89 yards and Peterson finished with 144 total yards.
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