1998 NFC Championship Game: Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings| NFL Full Game

1998 NFC Championship Game: Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings| NFL Full Game


>>When you look at these Vikings, John, and they have scored more points than anybody ever has in the history of the NFL, today they play Atlanta. How do they start to work against the Falcons?>>Well, they just have to keep doing what they’ve done all year. This is really their year. Everything they’ve done has been extraordinary, from the job that Head Coach Denny Green has done. Randall Cunningham has just been superb. And then you say Randy Moss, and you have Cris Carter, Robert Smith running it. The one thing about Randall Cunningham that I like is he doesn’t have just a go-to guy or one he’s gonna look at all the time. Whoever gets open, he’s gonna throw the ball to. And that’s what they do on offense, and I think today they just continue that. Now, if they’re vulnerable anywhere, this Minnesota Viking team, it’s on their defense. And I think they’re vulnerable to the run and the pass. Now, what they have to do is they have to stop the run, control Jamal Anderson. If they can’t do that, then that opens up everything — not only the run, but the play-pass for Chris Chandler.>>These Atlanta Falcons put together a regular-season record of 14-2 — 14 victories they had. Yet they’re still the visiting team. That’s never happened before in the history of the NFL, when they team won 14, and yet they’re the visitors. What do they have to do?>>Well, the same thing that they’ve done all year. If you look at the Atlanta Falcons, you say, “How did they get here?” You go back in football, it’s always been the same thing. You have to be able to run the ball. You have to be able to stop the run. And you have to get turnovers. And these Falcons do all those things. I think they have to have Jamal Anderson running because then if he runs, then Chris Chandler can be excellent with the play-pass. On defense they have to decide, “Do we stop the long ball, or do we crowd the line of scrimmage?” They’ve already made that decision. Dan Reeves says, “We’re coming into this game on defense. The one thing we don’t want is Randy Moss to beat us deep. We are gonna take that away.”>>So, Mitch Berger will start things going.>>And this is what it’s all about. This is what we’re talking about, man. Whoo!>>Berger’s kick sails deep to Tim Dwight, and he’s gonna bring it from 5 yards deep in the end zone. Dwight has great speed. To the 23-yard line. Corey Fuller made the stop, and let’s look at the Atlanta offense. Led by Chris Chandler. He won his first career postseason game last week against San Francisco. The offensive line — Whitfield, Collins, Tobeck, Williams, and Salaam. Jamal Anderson, Kozlowski the fullback, Martin and Mathis wide, and O.J. Santiago is the tight end. That’s Jack Burns, the offensive coordinator. [ Crowd cheers ] First and 10, Atlanta, at the 23. Chandler back. To Mathis. Close to a first down. Let’s look at the Minnesota defense. The front four — John Randle, Tony Williams, Jerry Ball, and Derrick Alexander. There was doubt about Randle. The three linebackers — Rudd, McDaniel, and Dixon Edwards. And in the secondary, Hitchcock and Fuller the corners, Thomas and Griffith the two safeties. Second and 1. And Jamal Anderson, who led the NFC in rushing, is the deep back. Flag on the play as Anderson spins out of one tackle. Got enough for the first down, but a penalty marker down.>>It was interesting, Pat, on that first play, the thing that Foge Fazio was worried about is exactly what the Falcons did. They went play-pass. The linebackers really took the bait, and then Chris Chandler threw the ball to a wide-open Mathis.>>Offside, 94, defense. 5 yards — first down.>>Tony Williams offside. Walt Coleman is the referee. That’s Foge Fazio. First down, Atlanta.>>We talk about the effects on the offense. Crowd noise does affect the visiting offense, but when it affects them, it’s also going to affect the home defense.>>Jerry Ball crowds the ball. Now he backs up just a bit. Play-pass fake. Chandler. One-handed grab by Terance Mathis. What a catch.>>[ Laughing ] What a catch that was. That was a thing. Again, this is their game plan. You can see that if they’re worried about Jamal Anderson, they’re gonna give them a play fake. Hold down the pass rush and then run pass patterns like that. And Jimmy Hitchcock thought that Mathis was going to the inside. Mathis goes to the outside, and look at this catch. That is one-handed. I think he got a little help from that glove. I think that ball stuck to that glove a little.>>And then he got both feet down in bounds. 19-yard pickup, first down, Atlanta.>>And it all started with a good play-pass.>>Chandler. Jamal Anderson. To the 40. Stopped by Hitchcock. Picked up about 3.>>And Jamal Anderson was saying yesterday when he starts off the game, and he gets past that front seven, the defensive line and linebackers, he said early in the game he’ll go right at a defensive back. And that time he went right at Jimmy Hitchcock. Make them tackle him he said because in the third and fourth quarter, they won’t be as anxious to do that, and then that’s when he makes moves on them.>>He only got 2. Second and 8. [ Crowd cheers ] Long count by Chris Chandler, who drops to throw it. For Mathis, out of bounds and long.>>Good coverage over there. Corey Fuller. They’re playing a cover-2, which is a 2-deep zone, where the corner comes up and bumps. And when a guy gets that close to the sideline, you want to run him out of bounds. Now watch Fuller here. Now he’s gonna take him out and make him go to the outside, then give him a little bump. Now it’s a tougher throw for the quarterback to throw because he has the safety in behind him. Plus, he has the sideline there.>>And now comes the noise on third and 8. [ Crowd cheers ] Four-wide receiver setup. Chandler will operate from the shotgun. Has time. Tony Martin, wide open. To the Viking 25.>>Well, the Vikings went in nickel defense, and you’re gonna see Ramos McDonald is the corner, and he’s out there on that side, and you see him just back up, and he gives way too big a cushion. And that’s what happens sometimes with nickel, when you bring in the nickel corner. McDonald was inactive last week. And he gets a little shy, so he plays off a little more than he should. And McDonald just gave away a first down on that play.>>First and 10, Atlanta. Jamal Anderson cuts it back. Got to about the 22, where Robert Griffith knocks him down.>>And you see who missed it is Jimmy Hitchcock. Misses a tackle here, but this is the thing that he does best. You start one way, and then you feel. He said he looks at the on side and feels the back side, and then takes it right back there. Watch Jamal Anderson. This play is a play to the right. He’s looking there. He looks at the on side, feels the back side. You see when they overpenetrate. Now Jimmy Hitchcock, who made the tackle on him early — that time, Jamal Anderson made a move on Jimmy Hitchcock.>>Second and 6. The Vikings showing blitz. Chandler, outside complete. Tony Martin, a strike from Chandler.>>This is one of those things that Dan Reeves talked about is getting off to a good start. And again you see the big cushion here. You see the corner off there. Now if they play off like that, if they don’t rotate up above and the corners play that far off, they can throw that pattern all day.>>Chandler will cut them to pieces.>>Dan Reeves said they wanted to get off to a quick start. They sure as heck are.>>Four out of five is Chandler. Mathis is the move man. Anderson hammers down to about the 5, still on his feet.>>Boy, he is something, this Jamal Anderson. I mean, he is a load because he gets through again. The one thing about him, he has great vision, and he has great power. He doesn’t give you a lot to hit. All you get is, like, helmet, shoulder pads, and knees. And he keeps those feet going all the time. It looks like he’s down about the 8-yard line. Then, you look, and he’s at the 7, he’s at the 6, and they finally spot the ball at the 5.>>Second down, about 2 for a first. Anderson is deep. And he gets the carry. Close to a first.>>That was a good tackle there by the strong safety of the Minnesota Vikings, Robert Griffith, who in that secondary is their best tackler. In fact, he is one of those guys that is like a half a linebacker and a half a strong safety. And you see, this is the way to tackle Jamal Anderson. You better get lower than he gets, and that’s exactly what Robert Griffith did.>>First and goal at the 2. Hallen, a backup guard, is lined up at tight end on the left side. Anderson the deep back. Pitches back to Anderson. He’s hit behind the line of scrimmage, spins, and lost a yard. Colinet was the first man to hit him.>>What the Vikings do down here is they put in an extra defensive lineman. Now, this is a good time to go to play-action pass against them. And Colinet is an outside guy here, and you’re just gonna see him just get up the field. They’re gonna try to get the ball to the outside. The fullback is leading right here. And you see Colinet. He comes in there, and he hits Anderson before he really gets squared and gets started down there.>>Second and goal at the 4. They lost a yard.>>Vikings have five defensive linemen.>>Anderson back to the line of scrimmage, maybe lost a half yard. Now they’re gonna have to put it up.>>Again, that’s Robert Griffith. If there’s any Minnesota Vikings defensive player that I’ve been impressed with over the years, it’s this guy. He just makes plays all over the field. He makes plays downfield. He makes interceptions. And then he is really good at that. You saw him come in, knife in from the right side there, and make that tackle for a loss.>>Third and goal at the 5. There’s the hit by Griffith. [ Crowd cheers ] Split backs this time.>>And this is where the crowd noise is the loudest.>>Chandler drops. Up the middle. Touchdown. Jamal Anderson out of the backfield.>>And there’s the “Dirty Bird.” [ Crowd boos ] They do that “Dirty Bird” whether they’re home or on the road. And that was about Chris Chandler. He really looked calm on that drive. He made some great play fakes. He made some great throws. Jamal Anderson of course did the running, and then Jamal Anderson comes down here as a receiver. You see Chandler was looking to the outside, didn’t have anything there. Had Jamal Anderson running an in pattern, and Dan Reeves said, “Attaboy. Now we’re talking.”>>The Vikings are not used to this happening to them on a team that takes the ball and drives it downfield like this on the opening kickoff.>>Well, that proves their defense is vulnerable.>>That snow looks pretty if it’s nice and clean like that, doesn’t it, John? You’ve been here all week.>>Yeah, and it’s been a cold week, but that snow is pretty. And if you don’t have to live in it for a long period of time, it’s enjoyable. One thing about being up here in Minnesota, they really enjoy cold weather. They enjoy snow. They enjoy ice fishing and the things that you can do outdoors. They’re kind of special about that.>>12 plays, 76 yards. The Falcons kept the ball 6:39. Morten Andersen’s kickoff sails to David Palmer, 5 yards deep in the end zone. And he’ll kneel there. You hear so much about Berger, but Morten Andersen can get it deep, too. The Falcons took the opening kickoff, drove the length of the field, and they’re ahead 7-0. Only one other time this year in regular season was Minnesota in this situation. That was against Tampa Bay, the only game they lost. Smith. Robert Smith. And let’s have a look at the Minnesota offense, led by Randall Cunningham, who had just a sensational year. Led the NFL in quarterback rating. Steussie, McDaniel, Christy, Dixon, and Stringer, a big offensive line and very effective. Robert Smith and Evans start in the backfield. Moss and Hatchette wide. Cris Carter is the other receiver unless they play a tight end. Here’s Cunningham. Pass caught by Randy Moss. Let’s look at the Atlanta defense. That’s a first down, Minnesota. The front four — Smith, Dronett, Hall, and Archambeau. Cornelius Bennett, Jessie Tuggle, and Henri Crockett. And the secondary — Booker, Robinson, White, and Buchanan. Rich Brooks the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. He took over when Dan Reeves had his heart problems.>>It’s interesting. The Falcons are in a nickel defense here on first down.>>Quickly to Glover.>>Usually when the Minnesota Vikings see that, remember last week the Arizona Cardinals went on first down to a nickel defense, and then the Minnesota Vikings just started running, and they ran them right out of that defense. And I think Rich Brooks, the defensive coordinator of the Falcons, I think kind of sneaked that one in there. Sneak that nickel on first down. And Ray Buchanan on the first play covered Cris Carter. On the nickel, he was on Randy Moss. He’s back on Cris Carter now.>>Second and 4. Smith. Behind the line.>>We talk about ray Buchanan and where he lines up on defense, because he’s the best defensive back in this Falcon team. And there was a lot of talk this week that he was gonna take Randy Moss. And instead most of the time he’s gonna take Cris Carter. And then they’re going to rotate to Randy Moss or double Randy Moss. Well, Ray Buchanan a lot of the time will be away from Randy Moss. This play again, he is on Randy Moss because they’re in nickel defense — five defensive backs.>>David Palmer in the backfield. The third down… Cunningham going deep for Moss. Incomplete and a flag on the play. [ Crowd cheers ] A flag on the play.>>Ray Buchanan is arguing that Randy Moss was grabbing him, but the official always has the last say, and the official said that it’s pass interference, that Ray Buchanan was grabbing Randy Moss. What a weapon this Randy Moss is. He scores 17 touchdowns.>>…34, defense. First down.>>But how many of these things has he gotten? Here you see Buchanan is playing. Now he should have got a bump on him there. He wanted to play outside in, but he played inside out. He did have his hands all over, and he wasn’t even looking back.>>And Moss had his hands all over him, as well.>>And that’s the thing that you’re going to get out there. And anytime Randall Cunningham sees man-to-man, he’s just gonna throw a jump ball like he did there.>>That’s a wise thing to do. Here’s Cunningham again going deep. [ Crowd cheers ] Out of the end zone — touchdown! He’s in the end zone. Randy Moss. Took him a long time to make the call.>>What a player. He tells Randall Cunningham, “Just chuck it out there, dog.” And that’s exactly what Randall Cunningham did. And here he is up here. You’re gonna see Randy Moss is running a post pattern. He gives him a little outside move, holds him out there. Randall Cunningham throws a perfect pass. Randy Moss had to catch that, keep both feet in bounds. Whoo! That catch was — we’ve been talking about the throw and the catch, but watch Randy Moss here again. He’s gonna run that post pattern. And you see he starts out to hold that corner a little to the outside. Then he goes inside to give Randall Cunningham a target. And then right here, you see he catches the ball, and he gets both feet in. See, right there’s the catch. The left foot was down, now the right foot. I’m gonna do it one more time. Catch, left foot down. Then you let it go, and you see that the right foot’s down, too. He got the catch and both feet in bounds.>>Berger’s kickoff goes over the head of Tim Dwight. Atlanta 7, Minnesota 7. 5:27 left in the first quarter. Atlanta has the ball, first and 10 at their own 20.>>Minnesota was saying on that first drive, Pat, that they only had two runs when they expected run. They were fooled every other time.>>Chandler drops to throw. Gets it outside to Kozlowski, who is the fullback. Dixon Edwards took him out of bounds. This is the Atlanta ball control their first drive. This is what they do so well. They led the league in time of possession.>>And a lot of it has to do with Jamal Anderson. We know that. But a lot of it also has to do with Chris Chandler. He really looks calm here. That’s a big loss there. That’s Ed McDaniel, the starting middle linebacker for the Vikings and a big part of their run defense.>>Pete Bercich took his place. Flag on the play. The Vikings started to blitz and couldn’t get back in time.>>Yep, that’s that eighth man up. We talked about Robert Griffith, the strong safety, and how he’s kind of a half a safety, half a linebacker. That time he was about three-quarters linebacker ’cause he was offside. You don’t see an awful lot of that, when a safety comes up and jumps offside. And Robert Griffith did that.>>Offside, 24, defense. 5 yards — results in a first down. [ Crowd boos ]>>You see that they’re checking Ed McDaniel’s right knee. And you can see what happened right there. That was just one of those artificial-turf things, Pat, where his foot got caught in the turf, and the only that should go is the joint. But he looks like he’s shaking his head that he’s okay.>>He’s walking pretty well now. First and 10, Atlanta, at the 30. Flag on the play as Jamal Anderson gets the carry. And they get him before he gets back to the line of scrimmage. But I think the Vikings were offside again.>>I think that’s John Randle. The play before that, we saw it was Robert Griffith lined up. That time it looked like John Randle, although John Randle is saying that Bot Whitfield, the tackle, moved.>>Offside, 93, defense.>>It is John Randle.>>I think this crowd noise — we talked about it. Here’s John Randle right here. I don’t know that anyone moved until after he moved.>>Not much question about that.>>John Randle trying to get a jump. We talked about this crowd noise, and how it’s gonna affect the opponent offense, in this case the Atlanta Falcon offense. But it looks like here thus far it’s kind of affecting the Viking defense, too, huh?>>So far. First and 5.>>They’ve had two offside penalties in a row. [ Crowd cheers ]>>Kozlowski and Anderson. Anderson gets the hand-off. Jamal Anderson about a yard shy of a first down. Stopped by Fuller.>>I like the way this Jamal Anderson obviously runs and catches. He caught a touchdown pass already. But just kind of the spirit of him. I mean, it is a game, and if it’s a game, it should be fun, and if it’s fun you should have fun out there playing. And just watching Jamal Anderson, he looks like a guy who’s running in there and hitting and slashing and running over guys. But he looks like he’s having a heck of a lot of fun.>>He enjoys playing the game. Second and 1. Mathis goes in motion. Chandler gives to Jamal Anderson, and he should have enough for a first.>>One of the big losses for this Atlanta Falcon offense was their fullback Bob Christian.>>Yeah.>>They have Brian Kozlowski is in there now, who was kind of a backup fullback, h-back, tight end type of guy. And just watching him on film, he’s not as decisive in his lead blocks as Christian was. And I think that’s slowing Jamal Anderson’s instincts just a little bit.>>Dan Reeves was saying one thing about Kozlowski is he’s been around. He knows the offense. He was with Reeves in New York. First down. Chandler drops. Hit just as he let it go, but the pass is caught by Tony Martin in Minnesota territory.>>Tell you one thing. This Atlanta offense has really gotten this Minnesota defense off balance. This is gonna be a zone. You see where Hitchcock is gonna come up, but he doesn’t get a good bump. So, then that lets the receiver run to the wide-open spot and get the ball before the safety gets there. You see, right here, you got the safety coming over. So, this is a double. But if you don’t get a bump, then you can come right in here, hit this hole between the corner and the safety. See, no bump. Now you see that big hole because there was no bump. That’s how Martin caught that one.>>First down, Falcons, at the Minnesota 40. Jamal Anderson gets the carry. He’s hit behind the line of scrimmage. Might get back. By Robert Griffith. And he’s up in a hurry.>>And that’s what Foge Fazio was talking about, the defensive coordinator of the Vikings. What you would like to do is you’d like to have Robert Griffith up there as the eighth man against the run. Then you’d like to have him back when they’re passing. So, it really is a guessing game. That time, Foge won the guessing game. That first drive, he’d lost about five out of seven guessing games.>>Second and 11. Anderson actually lost a yard. He’s the deep back. Here comes the Viking blitz. Chandler. Incomplete. Tony Martin the intended receiver.>>Robert Griffith is being a big part of this. They’re using him to stop the run. They’re using him to rush the passer. You talked about the blitz. It was Robert Griffith, the strong safety, who blitzed on that one.>>And he came clean.>>Here he is, right here. See, he’s the strong safety, but on this case he’s just gonna come on a blitz right there. And they do a good job of picking him up. But Chandler had to throw that ball, I think, a little before he was ready.>>Third and 11. Split-back situation this time again. Chandler has time. Gets it out of the backfield to Harold Green, who had it and lost it. The Vikings are saying, “We got it back” if he had it.>>It’s what the officials say. Remember last week when the Atlanta Falcons thought they had one when Chuck Smith picked it up and ran it in the end zone. Ended up giving the ball back to the 49ers.>>It’s Minnesota ball! [ Crowd cheers ]>>It looked like Green catches this ball, and then he goes to run and falls down.>>Yep. And the ball comes out.>>Now, I’ve always heard that the ground can’t cause a fumble. Now, the ground caused that fumble.>>Yes, it did. Yes, it did.>>Again, then it’s when the official blows his whistle. Watch the official there. He’s not even looking. The ball popped out. See that Harold Green comes out here and catches the pass, and he just falls down. And then there’s no whistle. You see the ground can’t cause a fumble. And that shouldn’t have been a fumble.>>But it is, and the Vikings have the ball, first and 10 at their own 40. Score tied at 7. Going deep is Cunningham. Incomplete and no flag. Intended for Randy Moss.>>And Ray Buchanan, one of the best defensive backs in the league, is really happy with himself about that because this is a place, if you’re a corner, that you really don’t want to be. You don’t to be running down the field with Randy Moss because you know two things if you’re Ray Buchanan. One, if you get in a jumping contest, he’s gonna beat you. And two, if you get in a race, he’s gonna beat you.>>Second and 10. They took their shot. Smith the deep back. Three wide receivers.>>Ray Buchanan again is lined up on Randy Moss.>>Matthew Hatchette, who replaced Jake Reed, makes the catch and gets the Viking first down. Ronnie Bradford brought him down.>>Jake Reed is inactive for this game. And so Matthew Hatchette is gonna be the third wide receiver. And this is a guy that the Minnesota Vikings have liked all year. Before they drafted Randy Moss, they thought he was gonna be their third wide receiver this year.>>And he probably would have been.>>He’s in the same thing. He’s a big, tall, strong receiver that really fits into the mold of these other Viking receivers.>>First and 10. Smith gets the carry, and he’s hit behind the line of scrimmage for a loss by Jessie Tuggle, longtime Atlanta linebacker.>>You wonder how Dan Reeves can stay so calm after that, after seeing that fumble. But that was a bad play. When you put your backup running back in, you throw him a flip, and he kind of stumbles around and falls down and fumbles.>>7-7 at the end of one. We’re beginning the second quarter at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Minnesota ball at the Atlanta 48-yard line. Second and about 11 or 12. And Cunningham drops and throws. Pass is caught by Andrew Glover, the tight end. They had so many weapons, you forgot about almost Andrew Glover and how big he is and what a big target he is.>>Yeah, and you think of both of these teams have so many weapons. And to me the start of this, the first quarter, this is what a championship game should be about, where both teams have good running, they have good passing, they have big plays, they have good defensive plays, and this is really kind of what it’s all about. This is fun being here.>>Third and 4. Palmer is the back behind Cunningham. Now he comes out. Pass is caught by Randy Moss. First down, Minnesota. [ Crowd cheers ]>>We talk about what a job this guy did, but watch Randall McDaniel here. Now this stance is something that he says that he developed when he had a bad knee so he could stay low. He says he does everything wrong. He doesn’t want kids to watch him or copy, ’cause nobody else can do it. But he said when he goes home to his family, he said his nephews and nieces all get in that stance.>>Well, not many people can get in that stance to begin with.>>That’s right. Nephews and nieces being younger nephews and nieces.>>Smith again is hit as he gets back to the line of scrimmage. Smith again the deep back, a throwing down. Outside to Cris Carter this time, and he gets out of bounds at the Atlanta 25.>>And that’s the first time that they threw to Cris Carter. We talk about Randall Cunningham and how he has so many weapons. He threw to Glover, his tight end. He threw to Hatchette, the third wide receiver. We know that he’s thrown to Randy Moss, and now he finally gets Cris Carter in the game.>>That’s Brian Billick, who is the architect of this Minnesota offense and a candidate and a prospect mentioned by many teams as their next head coach. Third and about 2 or 3. Cunningham again has time. Again, the pass is caught by Moss. First down, Minnesota, inside the Atlanta 20.>>One thing you can’t do is you can’t play Randy Moss just for deep patterns. And I think that’s what the Minnesota Vikings are showing you so far. They’ve hit them on the deep one for a touchdown, and now on this drive, they’ve hit them, like, two or three short ones in front of the corners, who are worried about his going deep. But I’ll tell you another thing that’s happening on this drive. This offensive line of the Vikings is starting to establish some dominance.>>Cunningham is 8 out of 9. Robert Smith. That’s the first time he’s seen any daylight. And he takes advantage down to about the 13.>>Sometimes you have to loosen up a defense, too, and you’re gonna see the blocking on this side. We talk about Korey Stringer here, the big 330-pound tackle. You see, he’s gonna pull out. He gets a block right there. You see, that opens up the hole. The center, Jeff Christy, one of the few pulling centers in the league, comes through that hole that Stringer makes, and he’s the lead for Robert Smith.>>Good block by Greg DeLong, too, who is their blocking tight end. Second and 4. Smith again. Doesn’t get much.>>That’s what quickness does. You see how quick Jessie Tuggle, number 58? He started at the outside and came all the way around and caught that thing from behind. Of course, it was slowed up in the middle so that he could do it, but that’s what these two tackles do. You look at Shane Dronett and Travis Hall. What they do is, they take on blocks. And then Jessie Tuggle can start, you see? And he can penetrate here and come in. They take on double teams, and then when you get the double team, that’s gonna free up the middle linebacker. Then when the middle linebacker free and has speed and quickness like Jessie Tuggle, he makes that play.>>Here’s Cunningham, who takes the deep snap. And he’s running, down to about the 11.>>That’s that trick that didn’t work. That was the thing that David Palmer had done. You know, that old single wing. This time, instead of putting Palmer in there, you can see that they put Randall Cunningham back here. Now, Randall Cunningham — it looked like that whole offensive line moved before that ball was snapped.>>Maybe that’s why they didn’t call it. They all moved at the same time.>>Yeah, but the ball didn’t move. The only guy that didn’t move at the same time was the center. That was one of Brian Billick’s tricks that I think kind of backfired on him, huh?>>Gary Anderson puts the Vikings ahead. He is still perfect. Minnesota 10, Atlanta 7. 9:52 left to play in the first half. The Vikings lead for the first time. Atlanta took the opening kickoff. Here’s Berger’s kickoff. The last one went all the way out of the end zone. This is Tim Dwight. Fields it about a yard deep this time. Out to about the 23, where the Falcons will take over. Back at the Metrodome. Pat Summerall with John Madden. 10-7, Minnesota. The Falcons have the ball at their own 24-yard line. This crowd, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is one of the loudest anywhere in football. And today they were tuned up when we got started.>>But it sure hasn’t bothered Chris Chandler.>>No.>>He’s 8 out of 10, and he was very calm. He’s not intimidated at all by this noise.>>John Randle on the sideline, you saw. Chandler back to throw it. O.J. Santiago, his tight end, and another loose ball. Fumble and Minnesota has it. Griffith came up with it.>>Well, Griffith should come up with it. He’s been all over the field. That’s the thing that Dan Reeves talked about last night and said, “We have to get turnovers. We can’t give turnovers.” The guy that makes that play is Orlando Thomas, the free safety.>>Dragged it loose.>>As he goes to make the tackle, he strips the ball out. Watch the left hand right there. Just rips it right out of Santiago’s hand, and then Robert Griffith was right there to pick it up. [ Crowd cheers ]>>Orlando Thomas shaken up on the play a little bit after he knocked the ball loose.>>Yeah, remember last week he pulled a hamstring, and he missed a big part of the game. You see what they did to Chris Chandler after that play? Stalin Colinet almost knocked him out.>>They got 3 points off their first turnover, Minnesota did. Now they’ve got another one. Moss comes in motion. Cunningham is going to work. There’s a screen pass to Moss. And Randy Moss, who’s got great speed, gets down to the 15 and hurdles over to about the 13.>>Now, that was a heck of a play, Pat. Randy Moss started out on the right side. They fake him a reverse on the right and throw him a screen to the left. Watch it. Here comes Randy Moss right here. They’re gonna fake him the ball. Now the screen develops. You see the linemen come out here. Randy Moss catches the ball. McDaniel gets a block. Christy gets a block. Moss gets a cutback. And that is one of the tricks that they had down inside the 20 that worked for them.>>David Dixon just limped off, and Everett Lindsay has replaced him in the Minnesota offensive line, right guard. The hand-off to Charles Evans, one of the rare carries that he gets, and he gets good yardage.>>You just said Everett Lindsay went in there for David Dixon, that guy right there. And the first play that they run, they run to Charles Evans, right behind Everett Lindsay. Watch. Here’s Lindsay right here, and he’s gonna start right in this area. See, good block. Double-team by Lindsay and Christy. Evans starts right at that and then cuts back to the soft spot.>>Evans got 8 yards. It’s second and 2. Moss is the man in motion. This is Leroy Hoard. To about the 3. Maybe the 2.>>We always talk about all the weapons that the Vikings have. You go from receiver to receiver. And, see, their running game is Robert Smith, but their running game is also a pretty big dose of this guy here, Leroy Hoard.>>Three touchdowns last week. Robert Smith gets a rest.>>Robert Smith is a speed guy. He’s the slash guy. Then they bring in Leroy Hoard for the short yardage, the goal line. He’s the power guy.>>First and goal at the 3 for Minnesota. They lead, 10-7. Hoard again. To the 2.>>This is a type of situation where I think you use Randall Cunningham’s legs. They’re going to go three tight ends. What they’re going to do is show Atlanta Falcons that this is a running situation, a running formation. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they fake the run here.>>This is Charles Evans, the fullback, who’s down for the Vikings. Hoard the deep back. Leroy Hoard fighting for yardage. He’s a little bit short.>>And Randall Cunningham immediately turned to the Minnesota Viking sideline, and he just showed that they just have inches to go. Now, if you give them anything in the middle, these Minnesota Vikings down here in short yardage and goal line, Randall Cunningham will run a quarterback sneak. So, you better have the center covered, or he’s gonna take a quarterback sneak. And his wife’s watching here, and she understands that. She’s saying, “Come on, Randall. Quarterback-sneak it in.”>>Dixon is back on the offensive line for Minnesota in place of Lindsay. Cunningham crouches under the center. He’s going straight ahead and dives into the end zone. [ Crowd cheers ] Randall’s wife, Felicity.>>When they get that close, you know there’s gonna be a quarterback sneak. He felt the linebacker coming to his right on a blitz, so he knew if there was gonna be a soft spot, it wasn’t gonna be to his right because there was a big, old linebacker diving there. But it would be to his left, and that’s exactly where he took it.>>Anderson for the extra point. And it’s 17-7. Minnesota leads by 10. Berger kicks it deep. Tim Dwight will bring it out again. To about the 23 or 24. Turnovers have played a big part in Minnesota’s scoring.>>Yeah, and this first turnover, remember, was to Harold Green here. Now, the rule is that the ground can’t cause a fumble. But Jerry Seeman came in and said that’s right, but the guy has to be touched. You see, how he has to be touched if he’s going down. Harold Green wasn’t touched. So, therefore, that was a fumble. And, of course, that led to 3 points for the Minnesota Vikings. Then they had the other turnover, Santiago’s fumble, that led to 7. So, the Vikings have 10 points here in a row over turnovers.>>Inevitably, especially in big games, it’s the turnovers that make the difference. Here’s Chandler, and he’s down. The rush from outside.>>John Randle got that one. That was one of the things that Andre Patterson, the defensive line coach, was talking about. He was saying — here we watch him put John Randle here on Bob Whitfield. Said that’s one of the matchups that he likes as a pass rusher. And you see John Randle’s just starting into Whitfield, then he gives him that slap with the right hand and comes right around him.>>Williams and Randle get that sack.>>Randle comes from the outside, and that made Chandler step up. And as he stepped up, he stepped right into Tony Williams.>>Second down, 14 they need for a first. Chandler drops. Screen pass to Jamal Anderson. The Vikings have played it well.>>Now they got them going. They got this Atlanta Falcon team back on their heels. You know, it’s interesting. Anytime you get a big pass rush like that, then you want to come back with a draw or screen. That’s an old NFL thing. Chris Chandler’s father-in-law is John Brodie. Remember the ex-quarterback, the great quarterback? And there was no one that I know in the history of football that threw a screen pass better than John Brodie. [ Crowd cheers ]>>Out of the shotgun this time, Chris Chandler. Extra wide receivers. The Vikings do not blitz. Chandler has time, gets it up the field and high. Intended for Tony Martin.>>Tell you, Chandler really started off, I thought in the first quarter, he was very cool. He was very calm, and this offense was very efficient. Since then, the Viking offense has taken over, and you can see a sense of a little uncalmness in Chris Chandler in this second quarter. What he had in the first quarter, he doesn’t have in the second quarter.>>Those turnovers. Dan Stryzinski back to punt for Atlanta. [ Crowd cheers ] The Vikings appear to be coming after it. He gets it out of there. David Palmer, back deep, signals fair catch and makes it.>>This is what happens after a play.>>Tony Martin.>>Yeah, Corey Fuller was saying something to him. Of course, we know nothing happened on the other end. There’s Andre Patterson, who I was talking about. There’s the defensive line coach firing his guys up. On the other side, there’s an old, great tackle of mine, Art Shell. Art Shell is in the Hall of Fame, and he’s the offensive line coach. So, you see, the defensive line coach on one side telling their guys what they have to do. The offensive line coach on the other side telling them what they have to do.>>That’s Robert Smith, and there’s nothing there for Robert. There’s a flag on the play. This might be a face mask. Jessie Tuggle was the first Falcon there.>>Jessie Tuggle, again, has been very active up and down the line of scrimmage. And, again, that play starts by his two defensive tackles tying up two blockers and freeing him to flow.>>Face-mask violation against Atlanta. [ Crowd cheers ] Here’s Robert Smith.>>Personal foul, grabbing the face mask, 58, defense.>>They got him.>>Yep. That’s Jessie Tuggle. He got in the flow. He was free. He did exactly what he had to do until he grabbed the face mask at the end. We’ve talked about this all season. Remember, there’s two types of face-mask penalties — the 5-yard and the 15-yard variety. And it seems this year every time there’s a face-mask penalty, it’s a 15-yard variety.>>Well, it’s supposed to be, if it’s incidental, only 5. But, as you say, we haven’t seen many fives.>>I think old Jessie jerked that one pretty good.>>Yeah, he did.>>The Falcons look like they’re self-destructing here in this second quarter.>>They got to calm down right now. Here’s Cunningham. He gets it out to Charles Evans. He’s knocked out of bounds, and there’s another flag. [ Crowd cheers ] Booker hit Evans. And they think he hit him a little late, I believe.>>You want to be fired up. You want to be ready to play. You know it’s a championship game. The winner goes to the Super Bowl. But still, within that intensity, you have to be smart.>>Personal foul…>>You don’t want to lose your poise.>>…of the defense. 15 yards…>>Another 15. That one was close. That’s marginal.>>You see it’s right there, right after he was out of bounds. Then you can’t hit him. You have to blow the whistle. Play the whistle.>>30 yards — the face mask and now that unnecessary roughness. Burrough has taken Lester Archambeau’s place in the Atlanta defense. Cunningham. Incomplete. Had it and lost it. It was Randy Moss streaking across the end zone.>>Yeah, and that’s where Randall Cunningham has been so great this year. Did you see him? Immediately puts his hand up, and he says, “That’s okay.” Because here Randy Moss — and you see the great speed that he has. We know about the size and everything, and he has to catch that one. It would have been a great catch, but Randall Cunningham makes very close to a perfect throw there.>>That’s all he’s done all day.>>And he thought it was a touchdown, at first, and then he put his hands up, and he says, “That’s okay.” “Just calm down. We’re okay.”>>Second and 10. Hand-off to Smith, and he’s got some room around the corner, and he can turn the corner. Gets about 3. Booker herded him out of bounds.>>Because the Atlanta Falcons don’t cover the center, Jeff Christy is pulling on a lot of these plays, and what that does — if I were playing the Minnesota Vikings, I’d put a man on Jeff Christy the whole game because if you don’t put a guy on him, then that lets him pull out. And if you get an extra blocker by not covering him, you get an extra blocker at the point of attack.>>Jeff Christy headed for the Pro Bowl.>>He’s a good player. I love the way he plays.>>Yep.>>He’s calling everything. He’s calling pass protection.>>Nobody over his nose, as you said. Cunningham. Incomplete. And no flag. Cris Carter is begging for one, but he doesn’t get it. Ray Buchanan on the coverage. And here comes Anderson again.>>And the Falcons have to think that they dodged a little bullet in there in the fact that Randy Moss was open in the end zone and that throw was there, and he kind of dropped it. So, they come back, and they get a chance to do this one. Buchanan is right there. He has both hands around him.>>That was close.>>At some point, they have to let them play. That was probably pass interference, but at some point you have to let those guys play.>>Anderson from 35 yards out. It’s 20-7. Berger approaches. Tim Dwight will take it about 2 yards deep in the end zone. He gets back to about the 25, and that’s his best return. Chris Walsh.>>Watch this here. Here’s Randy Moss here. This is a key for a defender. You see he has his mouthpiece in his hand. Now if he’s gonna be just a guy who’s just running around out there, he doesn’t even put his mouthpiece in his mouth. Now if he thinks that he’s gonna run a post or something, there’s gonna be some contact, I’ll guarantee you old Randy Moss has that mouthpiece in the mouth.>>He’s gonna have both hands loose.>>The more tired you get, the tougher it is to breath through your nose. So, that mouthpiece makes it tough. So, it’s easier to breathe through your nose without the mouthpiece in.>>Chandler gives to Jamal Anderson. He gets outside the 30. That might be his longest run of the day. Robert Griffith made the stop again.>>Other than that first drive, the Vikings have played very well against Jamal Anderson.>>Even in the first drive, they played very well against him. He scored the touchdown on a pass.>>But I think where he was effective on that first drive is they were faking to him, and they were running those play-action passes that were effective.>>Ed McDaniel, who was shaken up earlier, comes out. That’s one of the greats who played here in Minnesota for a long, long time, Carl Eller.>>And Carl Eller’s up for the Hall of Fame this year. They have 15 finalists in the balloting. Carl Eller is one of those guys. He was a great one.>>Oh, boy.>>When he played here, they didn’t have a roof over the field.>>They were outdoors and cold. Here’s Chandler. Chased out of the pocket. Fires. First down, Atlanta.>>Chandler’s starting to feel the rush now. He’s even starting to look at it.>>Chandler steps up. Now signals with his hand. That means they can’t hear. Here comes a sack on Chandler by Jason Fisk.>>Watch Chris Chandler on that, Pat, and he’s done that the last couple times. He’s starting to look at the pass rush. One thing a quarterback cannot do is he can’t watch a pass rush. And you watch him here in the shotgun, he’s gonna see it come here. And you see him put his head down there, and he looks at the pass rush. Now, there wasn’t much that he could do about it because Jason Fisk was coming free up the middle.>>Here’s Chandler. Drops it out to Anderson. And Jamal Anderson steps out of a couple tackles. Gets out of bounds. Stops the clock at the 38.>>There’s Jack Burns on the left. Now, Jack Burns calls the plays. He calls them down to backup quarterback Steve DeBerg. And DeBerg is the guy who calls the plays into Chris Chandler. Dan Reeves is not part of this. Dan Reeves just listens to it.>>He can hear, but he doesn’t interrupt or call plays. He suggests maybe.>>And he does, like, fourth down, to go for it, take penalties, those kinds of things. But Jack Burns is calling these plays and has called them all year.>>Third and 12. The Vikings showing blitz. And here they come. And Chandler steps up and fires deep. He’s got a man open. And out of bounds. It was Tony Martin. But the ball sailed out of bounds and over his head.>>We talked about Robert Griffith and all the things that he’s done. This guy’s been all over the field. And it was him again that was pressuring on that play. And the one thing — I think they have Chris Chandler out of sync now. They have that passing game out of sync. And they’re just going after him and not letting him have any timing. Here’s Robert Griffith. You can see number 24. He just comes off the right and then just jumps on Chandler as he throws it.>>Stryzinski to Palmer. Palmer signals fair catch. Makes it at the 16.>>And I think if they’re gonna get back in this game, they not only have to do it offensively and defensively, but they have to get some turnovers.>>They got to do it right here. They can’t let the Vikings get more points on the board. Cunningham throws wild, high. Matthew Hatchette was the intended target.>>We were talking about Randall Cunningham and what a great year he’s had. He does everything so calmly. Even when he goes down, he goes down easily. There’s not the abrupt, the violent hit. He looks like he kind of stretches and goes down. Now, I know that’s easy for me to say.>>There’s Howie.>>But an old lineman should never be seen having that done to them.>>Did you ever think you’d see that?>>No! That’s why linemen always wear a big face mask, to cover up how ugly they were.>>Incomplete. Intended for Cris Carter. [ Whistle blows ]>>Cris Carter hasn’t been a big part of this first half. It’s been about running, and it’s been about Randy Moss. We know that Cris Carter is a heck of a competitor, and you can see what the noise was about. He was hit there in the back before the ball got there.>>Randy Fuller involved in a little meeting with Cris Carter.>>I think there’s a lot of talking going on down there.>>I think so, too.>>That stuff between defensive backs and wide receivers that I never felt was a necessary part of the game.>>Third and 10. Cunningham drops. Moss is deep. Cunningham lost the ball somehow. Pump fake and he lost it. Atlanta says they have it.>>If they did, we just said what Atlanta needs is a turnover, and this would be a big, big one if they get this.>>They got it! What happened to Cunningham? Did you see?>>Yeah, it looks like he goes to throw the ball and then pulls it back.>>Oh, somebody hit his arm.>>The ball was knocked out of his hand before it went through.>>Chuck Smith hit his arm.>>Chuck Smith came from that back side. Randall Cunningham takes that big, long windup, and as he takes that windup and brings that ball back, Chuck Smith just knocked it right out of his hand. Watch Chuck Smith. He’s working on Todd Steussie there. What a play.>>Oh, boy.>>Because Steussie really had him blocked pretty well. And Chuck Smith knew enough. Watch him. He gets around him, and when he goes around here, Cunningham is gonna step up, and Chuck Smith shouldn’t get there. But when he goes to whip that arm, he brings it back, and he brings it right back to Chuck Smith. That is the play the Atlanta Falcons needed right now.>>That’s the turnover that they became famous for this year. First and 10, Atlanta, at the Minnesota 14.>>Notice how the crowd went quiet on that play?>>Atlanta has all three of their time-outs. Jamal Anderson is the deep back. [ Crowd cheers ] Mathis in motion. Chandler drops. Touchdown, just like that. Terance Mathis.>>That’s exactly what they needed. They needed a turnover, and they’re very good inside the 20. And then, of course, they needed the score to go. So, we talk about turnover, and we talk about points off turnover, and we just saw it right here. There you see Terance Mathis is right here. He’s in the slot, and he’s gonna get a bump, and he dodged a bump. See, if you miss your bump, usually in a zone defense, or against a zone defense, you’re gonna be wide open for a couple of split seconds.>>Here’s Whitfield and Randle.>>Well, you know that that’s gonna be a matchup all day.>>Morten Andersen hits the extra point. 17 — half the points today have been scored off turnovers. It’s 20-14, Minnesota. 56 seconds left in the first half.>>When you evaluate games, and you analyze them and talk about them before they’re played, the two things that are often omitted are special teams and turnovers.>>Yep. Andersen’s kick sails deep to Palmer. And he will down it. Both teams have all three of their time-outs left.>>Yeah, Atlanta struck on one down.>>Cunningham hands to Smith. He gets about 6 or 7.>>Looks like the Vikings are gonna go with no-huddle here, and I think what they want to do is just calm things down here and not do anything stupid and not force anything.>>Second and 3 and Cunningham drops to throw. And here comes the rush. It’s a screen pass chased by the Falcons. Smith runs it out of bounds. Stops the clock with 30 seconds left.>>The Vikings aren’t really trying to move the ball up the field. If they could break something on a screen and get towards midfield, they may take a couple shots, but I know that Dan Reeves is thinking, “Boy, it’d be nice to get the ball back here.” And Denny Green is thinking, “We’re not gonna give you the ball here again. We just did that the last time we had the ball.”>>Brian Billick shaking his head, saying, “We got to get a first down. We don’t have to give it back to them.”>>Shaking his head from that fumble he had, and Rich Brooks is saying — Rich Brooks is the defensive coordinator. His teams have always been very good at getting turnovers.>>Cris Carter from Cunningham gets the first down. Now they take a time-out.>>So now what I think they’ll try and do is now they have a little better field position, and you don’t go for the whole enchilada in one play. I think they’ll probably go from here, try and get it to midfield, then from midfield, try and get it to the 30, where you get in field-goal range, then from field-goal range, you try and score a touchdown — all within this much time.>>Gary Anderson. Denny Green said he’s confident that he can reach it from midfield, from about 54 yards away. That would be the 44-yard line.>>Well, I think when you get a shot at the end of a half, and you only have a second or two left, then you don’t care. You’re gonna take whatever it is.>>Yep.>>Remember this year in Denver, Jason Elam and what he did on that shot. And I think if they get down there, and it happens to be 58 yards, I think he would probably take a shot with this much time.>>Here’s Cunningham on first down. Three-man rush by Atlanta. Cunningham retreats. Outside to Leroy Hoard. Out of bounds. They don’t have to burn a time-out. They have two left. And Berger, who has the powerful leg, also.>>That’s probably what they’re thinking. Remember, he had one kickoff today that went through the uprights already. So, you know that Mitch Berger has the leg to do it. So, if they get an extraordinarily long field goal, they’ll probably go with him. But to do any of those things, they still have to pick up about 20 more yards before they can think of any kicks.>>Second and 7. Three-man rush again. Cunningham retreats. Dumps it off to Leroy Hoard, and Hoard scrambles for the first down. And now they call time-out.>>You see, this is one of those occasions where a team uses a prevent defense, and it works. Because when it doesn’t work, everyone says, “Oh, the prevent. Why did they get in a prevent?” You know, all that “prevents you from winning.” But this is a time, these last couple of plays, the way that the Falcons have played this prevent defense, they’ve made Randall Cunningham throw that short, underneath pass and tackled them, and they didn’t get anything.>>The 3-man rush has put no pressure. That was Rich Brooks, the Falcons assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Cunningham made his business to the sideline, now heads back to the huddle.>>Rich Brooks was also the guy that was the head coach when Dan Reeves missed, when he had that open-heart surgery and missed. Rich Brooks took over as a head coach. But what a job Dan Reeves has done.>>Really.>>And we know about the surgery and coming back and all of that. Even before that — this guy is a coach’s coach and a man’s man.>>Not just as the head coach — as the general manager, as well, and putting this team together. Here’s Cunningham. Gets it outside to Carter. There’s a flag on the play. A penalty marker down.>>Again, Atlanta on defense is getting exactly what they want.>>This is gonna be, I believe, holding against Atlanta.>>Yeah, what that is, that’s gonna be — it was first down. It’ll be automatic first down. But it’s not the position now. What we’re talking about is just 5 seconds.>>5 seconds.>>Holding, 21, defense. That penalty is declined. Be second down.>>See, the extra down isn’t gonna do them anything. They’re too far here to try a field goal.>>Somehow I don’t believe that’s sincere laughter from Dan Reeves. That’s sarcastic laughter.>>Yeah. Said he finally got a break and said he didn’t need it. It didn’t make any difference in that situation. He’s done such a great job with this organization, and then the rest of the organization, when he was gone, they carried on. This looks like one of those things where they put the three receivers out here and just throw the ball up. Sometimes you’ll come back to the back side on that, too.>>Cunningham buys some time. He’s chased now. Won’t be able to get much on this one. I don’t think. But he did. Incomplete. Got it to the end zone.>>Yeah, that’s Randall Cunningham. He can fling it a long way from any body position.>>He flung that one about 55 yards. That’s the end of the first half. Morten Andersen, number 5. Both kickers on both teams — one is “s-o-n” Anderson, one is “s-e-n” Andersen. And they’re both careers very similar.>>Yeah, they’re both 17 years.>>Yep, yep. Andersen’s kickoff to David Palmer 3 yards deep in the end zone. Palmer gets through the first wave and gets across the 20, to the 22. Let’s look at the first-half statistics.>>I think the biggest thing is the Falcons. We talk about they have to be able to run, and you see that they only ran for 25 yards in the first half. Jamal Anderson in the second quarter only ran the ball one time. So, I think that eventually they’re going to have to get back to that. And then the big thing is the turnovers. The Falcons had 2 turnovers, the Vikings had 1, and each one of the turnovers in this game has led to points.>>And as Ron Pitts said, they have to cut out those foolish penalties. First and 10 at the 22 for Minnesota. Outside it comes to Greg DeLong.>>We look at how Randall Cunningham passed in the first half, and we’ll see that he was very effective in the shorter stuff, the short and intermediate stuff. Look at this. Under 15 yards — here’s 15 yards here — the left, he was 7 out of 8, the middle, 2 out of 3, 5 out of 5 to the right. He only completed one pass deep, and that was that post to Randy Moss for the touchdown.>>Second and 4. Cunningham rolls. Incomplete. Robert Smith the intended receiver. Cornelius Bennett the defender.>>Of course, he had some pressure on that back side. The Minnesota Vikings do an interesting thing. What they do is they slide their line. Now, if you rush away from the slide, then you’re gonna get pressure. And that’s exactly what the Falcons did on that play. The Vikings slid their line to the left, and the Falcons’ pressure or rush came from the right.>>Third and 4. Split backs, one of whom is Palmer. Cunningham back to throw it. Gets it outside to Palmer. He steps backwards and then gets the first down. [ Crowd cheers ] Bennett had a shot at him, and he got away from Cornelius Bennett and got the first for Minnesota.>>Have we ever done a Minnesota game where David Palmer doesn’t make a big play?>>No.>>And here it is. He’s a punt returner, a kick returner, but when you put him in the offense, and he gets the ball, he runs like a punt returner and a kick returner. And what Brian Billick would like to do is get the ball in his hands 6 or 7 times per game because you’re always ready for a big play.>>First and 10, quick count. This is Smith. Stopped, no gain — maybe a yard. Nine different receivers have caught passes for the Vikings.>>And one of the things I think — since the middle of the second quarter, those different receivers have been all the short guys, and I think that’s good in that you’re moving the ball around, but I think that’s bad in that you better stretch the field, because this Falcon defense is starting to bunch up on them. And I think they got to get Randy Moss back in there deep. Somebody better get out here and cover Cris Carter. There’s no one on him.>>Split wide to the left is Moss. Cunningham gives again to Robert Smith. And down he goes for a loss. Keith Brooking, the rookie from Georgia Tech, their first-round draft choice this past year.>>I’ll tell you. He lays a hit. This is the way you’re supposed to tackle. He’s up in here, and you see that he’s gonna get pressure. He comes kind of like a run blitz. That is the way to tackle. Brooking just straightened him up and said, “That is a tackle.” That’s why he was a first-round pick, too.>>Yeah. Third and 11. What did Bill Maas say Randy Moss had done? Pulled his stomach muscle?>>He said he hurt his stomach.>>Here comes the blitz. Cunningham throws the screen pass. And the Falcons play it well. David Palmer caught the pass from Cunningham, but Minnesota will have to punt.>>I think of all the plays in the Minnesota offense and spreading the ball around and those kind of things, the one play that the Falcon defense has played very well is that screen pass. And I think, again, I think the Vikings have to start getting the ball down the field more.>>The first punt of the day for Mitch Berger. He only punted one time last week, against Arizona. And this is a rocket. Tim Dwight has to retreat all the way back to his goal line to handle it, but now he’s got some room. Dwight brought it back and almost broke it at about the 28. First and 10 at the 28 for Atlanta. Mathis is the man in motion. This is Jamal Anderson. Picked up a couple.>>Remember when Dwight returned that punt? The first thing you think is you watch him here, and you’re a coach, and you’re standing there, and you see inside the 10, you’re supposed to let it go into the end zone. He gets it right at the goal line. There’s a coach saying, “No, no, no! Don’t be so doggone stupid!” Then you see — “Oh, go, go, go!”>>Keep going.>>Pretty good — yeah.>>And you saw Berger. That was Berger who was the last man, number 17, flashed across the picture. Santiago on the move. Chandler dumps it out. Anderson lowers the boom on Griffith.>>Doesn’t work a lot on Robert Griffith.>>No.>>And the one thing the Vikings have done is tackled well. If you look on Jamal Anderson, the first tackler has tackled him 8 times, the second guy, 3. They haven’t had a third or fourth. That’s one of the things that Foge Fazio was saying that they worked on all week because the Viking defense last week did not tackle well. In this game, they’re tackling very well.>>Third and 3. Chandler back deep. Vikings showing blitz, and here they come up the middle. Chandler drops it out to Anderson, and Anderson made one man miss and gets the first down. Orlando Thomas.>>There’s William Andrews. Remember him? The great Atlanta Falcon running back.>>Nobody ever put more into the game than William Andrews.>>He was a tough guy to tackle. Looks like now he would…>>You’d need longer arms.>>…still be a tough guy to tackle. [ Both laugh ]>>First and 10, Atlanta, at their own 42. [ Crowd cheers ] They trail by 6. Chandler with time. Has Tony Martin open and hits him. Moves into Viking territory.>>And this is the way that the Falcons started and the way Chandler started. And you see. Here’s gonna be the pass pattern. It’s against a zone out here. You get by the first guy. Then you find the hole right there in the zone, and you just sit down. Now, the way that they were able to hold the linebacker again is with the play-action pass, and that started the whole thing.>>John Randle is standing over on the sideline. First and 10 at the Minnesota 42 for Atlanta. They trail by 6. Anderson. Cuts back. Maybe he got 2. Not much.>>Oxendine was the ballcarrier, not Jamal Anderson.>>They talk about how the Falcon defense flies around and gang-tackles and does all those things. I’ll say the Minnesota Viking defense is flying around and gang-tackling and doing those things, too.>>Now Anderson checks back in. Oxendine goes out.>>John Randle is in there for the pass rush. You see him right here. He talks right up until the ball snaps. The Vikings are going with a 3-man line, but they pressure from this, too. And they jump offsides. Chandler has a free play. Now the flags come down, and they blow the whistle and stop it.>>They were gonna show them that 3-man line, and then they were gonna give them a zone blitz. John Randle was gonna drop off.>>Offside, 90, on the defense, unabated to the quarterback.>>Derrick Alexander.>>Second down.>>It’s the Minnesota Vikings defense fourth offside. Here’s Alexander. He’s in a 2-point stance up here on top, you see, and he’s also on the top, and he’s also to the side of the blitz. You see, the blitz was going to come from the defensive left side, and he was gonna be the guy that he was thinking that he was gonna be free.>>Second and 5. The winner of this goes to Miami. Tim Dwight is cut down at about the 16-yard line.>>Yep, they gave them a little of Minnesota’s thing. See what they did is they put Tim Dwight in there as a quarterback. They put Chandler out here on the left side. Chandler’s out here like a wide receiver. He’s looking in. In fact, he’s faking like it’s gonna be a screen. Why anyone would even go for him. Then the ball is just snapped to Tim Dwight. And he takes that ball. Again, we talk about punt returner and making plays. That’s what he did.>>And you think that wasn’t a face mask?>>That was a whole lot of things.>>Yeah.>>That was a face mask with a necktie thrown in.>>Chandler back up under the center this time. Jamal Anderson. Out of bounds at about the 9 1/2-yard line. Let’s go back and look at that Tim Dwight face mask. Was there a penalty called? I didn’t see anything.>>No, no, no, no. They didn’t call one. There’s the face mask, right there. He almost rips his helmet right off his head or almost ripped his head right off his shoulders.>>Orlando Thomas. And now the crowd usually is very loud in this area, when they get down to here. [ Crowd cheers ] Second down. They need about 3. Mathis moves. Chandler rolls right. Gets it to Ed Smith, who is short of a first down.>>That was the first time that the Falcons have used that bootleg. It’s pretty effective, where you get the backs going one way. You get the back coming this way. Quarterback fakes and goes out this way. And then you hit the tight end. You see, he gets the fake here on the counter. Then he rolls out to the right, and you see he has his tight end wide open there. Wasn’t enough to get him a first down. Again, good tackling by the Viking defense.>>Third and 1 and here comes the noise. [ Crowd cheers ] They have a guard at tight end on the left, Hallen. That’s Jamal Anderson. And he’s cut down back of the line of scrimmage by Jimmy Hitchcock. That was a mistake in running.>>And that was a big tackle, too, by Jimmy Hitchcock because you look back and you think the only thing back on this side — you’re gonna see him start to the right. And then he’s gonna cut back. They catch Griffith inside. The only guy back there, though, is Jimmy Hitchcock, who was being blocked. So that’s what Jamal Anderson sees. And he thinks, “That looks pretty good.” And Jimmy Hitchcock there makes not a good tackle. Jimmy Hitchcock made a great tackle.>>A point-saving tackle. From 27 yards, Morten Andersen will attempt a field goal. And Atlanta moves closer by 3. 5:36 left in the third quarter. Minnesota 20, Atlanta 17. Morten Andersen set to kick it off. David Palmer is deep. Andersen kick. From 3 yards deep in the end zone, Palmer is gonna bring it out. And down he goes at about the 17. Cunningham drops to throw. Pass caught by Glover.>>Here’s Tim Dwight there, who kind of changed the momentum there. You look at it on that last drive. He fields a punt back there on the goal line. You’re not supposed to do that. But he gets them good field position. Then they put him in at quarterback. He gives a little hand fake, and then here at the end he takes a heck of a face mask that wasn’t called. But Tim Dwight helped changed momentum on that last drive.>>He’s got tremendous speed. Here’s Robert Smith, right at the line of scrimmage. Not enough to Glover on first down to pick up a first down. And now Smith has lost a yard.>>I think the Vikings have to crank it up. On their first four drives, they scored every time they had the ball. On their last three drives, they haven’t scored. And I think to me they look like part of it is the Atlanta Falcons are playing very good defense. But I think the Vikings have gotten a little too conservative.>>Third and 1. They’re not used to anybody being this close to them.>>They’re throwing shorter and shorter passes as the game goes on.>>Leroy Hoard, who walked up to the left.>>Has to be a pass.>>It is. And a complete pass to Matthew Hatchette. And that’s enough for the first down.>>Yeah, when they want Leroy Hoard, it was third and very short. So, it could be a run or pass. But they only had one back in the backfield, and that was Leroy Hoard, and when he walked up to the line of scrimmage, you knew that it had to be a pass. You see, here’s Leroy Hoard. So, there’s no one back here to run the ball. So, these pass rushers should really take off. In fact, they were going on a zone blitz, but Randall Cunningham still got the ball out to him for a first down.>>It could have been a quarterback sneak. That’s the only possibility. First and 10. Cunningham drops. Pass is batted down.>>I saw something go flying way back there. That’s a helmet. There’s a helmet about the 13-yard line.>>An Atlanta helmet.>>That’s a good thing. There’s not a head in it.>>Shane Dronett playing over Randall McDaniel.>>That’s a tough matchup, playing against Randall McDaniel because Randall McDaniel — there’s a hand to the face by Randall McDaniel. But he is so strong. Shane Dronett shows why — he’s a tough, old lineman out of Texas. And tough, old lineman out of Texas, they play with or without their hats. They’re like cowboys. They’ll ride a bull with or without their hat on.>>Lot of times without. Cunningham fires it long. Not long enough.>>And it’s amazing that he even got anything on that at all. Jessie Tuggle was right there, and Jessie Tuggle really unloads on him. Watch as he goes to step and watch Jessie Tuggle. Whoo! He knocked him back about 5 yards. He knocked him sideways and upside down and everything. So, you say, “Why didn’t Randall Cunningham get anything on that ball?” Because of Jessie Tuggle.>>Hard to step into it and then whap! Third and 10. They had Moss doubled.>>Yeah, they had him doubled, but the ball only got there halfway, anyway.>>Three wide receivers this time. Cunningham back to throw it. Underneath, Cris Carter. Nobody does it better.>>Yeah, and I think they have to get Cris Carter more involved in the game. I don’t know that they have to go deep, but I think they have to do the stuff that Cris Carter does, and that’s this type of thing, the intermediate route. You see where he’s gonna come up. Then he has an option. He goes to the inside, finds a hole in the zone, gives Randall Cunningham something to throw at, and then he turns it up.>>First and 10, Minnesota. Smith. Spins for just a couple.>>Everett Lindsay is in there again as a guard to David Dixon. So, that knee must be bothering Dixon. And the right side of that line now is Korey Stringer and Everett Lindsay. But Lindsay’s a good player. He’s a guy who plays all the positions. He’s played tackle. He’s played guard. He’s been a center. He backs up everywhere. Is a very valuable part of this Minnesota Viking team.>>Lester Archambeau may or may not return. Burrough took his place. Cunningham throws. Dropped by Randy Moss.>>You know, Lester Archambeau?>>Yeah.>>When he was in high school, he had a 4.4 — there he is right there — 4.4 grade-point average. That’s pretty good. And more people should talk about this, I think, on a 4.0 system. That wasn’t like having a 4.4 on a 10 system. He had a 4.4 GPA on a 4-point system because he was taking extra classes, like calculus and those kinds of things, while he was in high school. Then he was a defensive linemen, too. Went to Stanford. Those are things that should be brought out more about football players.>>Four wide receivers. Cunningham comes out of the pocket. Throws to Carter, and Cris Carter stays on his feet and gets inside the 40, about the 37.>>They finally discovered Cris Carter. He’s a big-time player. And big-time players always play big-time in big games. In fact, he was saying he couldn’t wait to get started today. He couldn’t wait to get up in the morning. He couldn’t wait to go in the locker room. He couldn’t wait to look at his uniform. He couldn’t wait to put on his uniform. He couldn’t wait to get out in the pregame warm-up. And then obviously he couldn’t wait for this game because he said he’s played a long time, but he’s never been a champion.>>He knows how to get open. And he hands to Smith. And Smith straight ahead. Picks up 4 or 5 this time, behind the surge of the offensive line.>>And to me it all started with Cris Carter. He had kind of been in this game the forgotten man. They needed some plays, and he’s been their play guy for so long. They got him in there. They got him back and got him into the game. You see he has 5 catches now. And since they’ve gotten him, then they’ve gotten the offensive momentum back.>>They’ve been able to move the ball. It’s second and about 5. DeLong goes in motion. Cunningham quickly. This time to Glover. And they’ll move the sticks again, Cunningham to Glover.>>And they caught them in a stunt. They caught them in a stunt and a blitz, and it opened up the area that Andrew Glover went in. You see it’s going to be right in the middle, and that’s the area. You’re gonna see the stunt and the blitz, and then, when those guys leave, they vacate this area here, where Andrew Glover is gonna catch the ball. You see the blitz here? Now, Glover comes right in behind the area that the blitzing linebacker vacated.>>And that’s the end of the third quarter. He wants some noise from this Viking crowd. First and 10, Minnesota, at the 21. Smith. About 3. Brooking made the stop.>>On this drive, Randall Cunningham has kind of gotten that — we talked about how he got Cris Carter into the game, but he also picked up some big third downs.>>Yep.>>That’s where he’s been very good. He’s had three third downs, and he’s converted first downs in each one of them. So, that’s also a big part of this drive. That’s DeLong who comes out. Cunningham looks right, then left, and then throws. Wide open is DeLong, who’s knocked out of bounds at about the 6. [ Crowd cheers ]>>And, again, that’s what a quarterback that can move can get you because there was nothing there. It looked like he was gonna go to Robert Smith out of the backfield quickly. Didn’t have anything there. But Randall Cunningham starts to move, and he buys a little time. Here’s DeLong. He’s just waiting out there, just waiting, waiting for anything. And the thing that brought that is Randall Cunningham moving.>>Nobody else in the picture with DeLong even. First and goal at the 6.>>Because what happened when Cunningham started to run, the guy who was supposed to be covering DeLong came up to tackle Cunningham.>>Leroy Hoard is the deep back. Cunningham is gonna throw it, however. Out of the end zone, incomplete. Intended for Cris Carter. I asked Cris Carter, remember, back during the regular season, “Do you ever run full speed?” And he thought a minute, and he said, “I guess not.” Always under control.>>Yeah, he’s always under control because the thing that he can do is he can stretch so well. He can stretch and jump up. He can stretch on all those plays where he stands right on the sidelines and stretches out and catches it.>>Yep.>>And he has to be under control to make the kinds of moves that he does.>>Has magnificent hands, too. Cunningham drops. Has time. Touchdown, Matthew Hatchette. [ Crowd cheers ] What a good-looking drive that was.>>That was the one that they needed. They had three bad drives. They got one. Again, Randall Cunningham getting Cris Carter more involved. They finally start watching Carter. Watch Matthew Hatchette. Again, he’s another typical Minnesota Viking receiver — big and strong and can run those kinds of patterns.>>The extra point is good. Berger set to kick off. Tim Dwight is deep for the Falcons. 27-17, Minnesota leads Atlanta. Another deep kick by Berger. 10 yards deep in the end zone. Downed there by Tim Dwight.>>Let’s watch that last touchdown. Here’s Randy Moss here. He hasn’t caught a pass since 9:00 to go in the second quarter. I think they’re using him as a decoy. Watch Randall Cunningham come. He fakes out there to Moss. Then he comes back here to the left and throws it to Hatchette. I think that’s an interesting thing because they’re looking at Randy Moss. They don’t know that he’s injured, I don’t think.>>I don’t think so.>>The Vikings are using him as a decoy. They started going to Cris Carter. Then, when they got down there and needed a touchdown, they threw it to Matthew Hatchette.>>Atlanta, first and 10 at their own 20. [ Crowd cheers ] The crowd gets noisy again. And Chandler. Incomplete. Mathis fell down or was out of bounds and got tangled up or something happened. He just disappeared.>>Yeah, and that’s the side that Chris Chandler was going to. In fact, he made that sign that he wanted him to go out, or he wanted him to go out and up. Looks like he was saying that he wanted to go out and up, and I think he just gets pushed out of bounds. Watch Terance Mathis here. He gets too close to the sideline.>>This is Tim Dwight again. And this time it doesn’t fool anybody.>>Yeah, and they really went after Chandler that time. Chris Chandler was out there lined up as a wide receiver. And they really went after him. Tim Dwight’s in the backfield. Watch Chandler is gonna be up here. Here’s Tim Dwight right here. They just snap it to him. They start to run to that side. And look what they did to Chandler. They knocked him 5 yards into the backfield.>>And they also handled Tim Dwight. There goes Chandler.>>Chandler’s on his back. He’s looking up at the speakers in this Metrodome.>>Third and 9, and the noise gets louder and louder. And now the Falcons are no question about it having trouble hearing. Chandler going deep. He’s got a man open. Caught by Tony Martin. Martin down at about the 8-yard line.>>What a throw by Chris Chandler. I’ll tell you. Duane Clemons was on it, and he hits Chandler just as he throws the ball. This is what happens out here, and you see it’s just man-to-man, and it’s a little double move. You see? You give the out and go. Tony Martin is the speed guy on this team. So, if you’re gonna go for the big one, you go to Tony Martin.>>Did he leave Hitchcock.>>I know. Watch Chandler here. He’s giving hand signals out there to his wide receiver, Tony Martin, because he sees there. But watch Clemons hit him just here as he throws the ball. That was a heck of a throw with a rush like that.>>They’re inside the 10.>>Tony Martin gave that old double move, and Hitchcock went for the first one.>>Anderson burrows his way for a couple yards. Tony Williams on his back.>>Well, that’s the story of this game, I think, is that Jamal Anderson’s only gained 31 yards. You think of the Falcons, and you think of Jamal Anderson, and you think at this part of the game, he’s already up around 80 or 90 yards.>>He’s the weapon.>>Here he’s at 33 yards in the fourth quarter. Who would have thought that? Of course, remember back in the second quarter, the whole quarter, he only carried the ball one time.>>Chandler looking around. Second and goal at the 7. Almost got to throw it in the end zone. Chandler looks. Incomplete. Intended for Mathis. Bounced off his hand. It would have been a tough catch.>>And the thing that Chandler has to be thinking here, down by 10 points, is they need a field goal, then they need a touchdown. So, they don’t want to force anything here because you want the worst thing that can happen to you in this situation — that ball should have been caught.>>Yeah, should have been caught. It was right there from Chandler.>>And that’s what Chandler is saying. Terance Mathis should have had that one. But you don’t want to do anything stupid here because you don’t want to lose your field goal.>>They got three receivers together on the right side, the bunch. Chandler drops. And throws. And again it’s incomplete and bounces out of the end zone. And now they’ll take the field goal?>>He put all the mustard on that. Yeah, they have to take the field goal. And I think that’s a momentum lifter. He hit that big one to Tony Martin. He got that thing down the sideline, and then Mathis dropped a ball on him. That one — I think that he threw this ball about as hard as a ball can be thrown, but you don’t want to leave it in the air long because you don’t want something bad to happen. That one went right through, was drilled through Terance Mathis’ hands.>>That would have been a tough catch, a hard catch. Morten Andersen.>>I think Chandler was thinking, “No one’s gonna intercept it, though.”>>From 24 yards away. Morten Andersen hits it, and it’s 27-20. Dan Reeves and his quarterback, Chris Chandler.>>Dan Reeves after that series was really upset at his coaches about something, and I imagine — obviously it had something to do with the play-calling down there on that second and third downs.>>Andersen’s kickoff downed in the end zone by Palmer. Viking ball at their own 20.>>Lester Archambeau is back in at defensive end for the Falcons.>>Smith brought down behind the line.>>We talked about Jamal Anderson only had 30-some yards. Robert Smith has less than that for the Minnesota Vikings. So, both of these defenses have done a good job of stopping the run.>>That play by Henri Crockett.>>Well, they got penetration. Crockett has good quickness and speed. They take him out on second and third down or in nickel situations. He’s not a nickel linebacker, but they use his speed and quickness against the run on first down.>>Second and 11. Palmer in the backfield. Cunningham fakes to him. Looking, looking, and gets Glover. Out of bounds. [ Crowd boos ] Out of bounds.>>Boy, those coaches better watch out. You talk about why these games are so big, because you realize the finality of it. Here’s Glover. He got his left foot down, and his right foot is out.>>Yep. That was Bill Kollar.>>See, he catches the ball there, and then the second one is out.>>Bill Kollar is a heck of a defensive line coach. He’s done wonders with this front group right here, the Atlanta Falcons.>>Big down here. Third down and about 11.>>Bill Kollar had a motor, and all these guys got good motors.>>The heat’s on Cunningham, and down he goes. They ran a Bear defense. Randy Fuller.>>Yep, they ran the nickel. Randy Fuller is a nickel defensive back, and you’re gonna see him. He’s just gonna come right up the middle. You see, here’s Randy Fuller here. He’s coming from here. They start the pressure up the middle, and then they get it from the right side and the left side. Did you see the middle just drop out? That’s what you call a zone blitz. See, here comes Fuller from the outside. He gets Randall Cunningham. And then the middle of the defense drops out.>>Tim Dwight standing back for Berger’s kick. Berger again hangs it way high but short this time. Dwight signals fair catch. Just barely made it. 9:36 left. Atlanta ball at the Minnesota 48. Chandler up under the center. Fake to Anderson. Knocked down. Good play, good defensive play by Corey Fuller. He was looking for Mathis.>>Yeah, that was great coverage there by Fuller. This is a bootleg. And what Chandler’s gonna do is, he’s gonna fake it. You see he fakes to the left, and that’s not a real good fake. Then he’s gonna come out to his right on a bootleg. He was looking back. He wanted to throw that ball back to the left, and he had to come back to that side to Terance Mathis. And as you say, that’s a heck of a play by Corey Fuller.>>Second and 10. [ Crowd cheers ] Chandler, shotgun. Sack. The Viking rush gets him. There’s…>>Jim Marshall. He said, “Yeah, I know all about that.” The other guy that got there was Jason Fisk, though.>>Again, that’s the second time.>>Yeah, yeah, he’s a backup defensive lineman, but he makes a pretty big play. He gets a good pass rush straight up the middle.>>Duane Clemons was there with him, another backup.>>There’s Jason Fisk right there, and he got right in Chandler’s face. You don’t know who’s gonna make the big play. It may be a John Randle. It may not even be a starter. And in this case, it wasn’t a starter. It was Jason Fisk.>>That’s two big sacks by Jason Fisk. Third and 18. And Chandler this time has time. Incomplete. Over the hands, but there’s a flag on the play. Over the hands of Santiago, his tight end.>>Yeah, and that’s usually in the area of offensive holding, and it is offensive holding. [ Crowd cheers ] The Vikings are gonna turn that one down. That was almost intercepted by Orlando Thomas. You could hear that ball bounce out of his hands.>>Holding, 68 of the offense. Penalty’s declined.>>Holding called against Calvin Collins. And the Falcons will have to punt. Now the urgency becomes more present. David Palmer back deep. Stryzinski to punt for Atlanta.>>And that’s what Dan Reeves is trying to tell his quarterback, Chris Chandler. “We’re gonna get the ball back in this game a couple of more times. Don’t get down.”>>Good kick, hangs it high. Palmer’s gonna let it bounce. And the Falcons are gonna down it. It might have gone into the end zone. I’m still not sure. They might have downed it at about the 1.>>No, they didn’t down it.>>They did not down it.>>That’ll come out to the 20. That’s a 20-yard play.>>They had a chance.>>Had they stopped it there, that ball would have been right there on the 1-yard line.>>Can’t find the ball it looks like.>>No, no, no, he’s looking around. He was looking at David Palmer first to see what he was gonna do, and then he didn’t get it. Elijah Williams was the second guy in there, number 21. And you see that he kind of fumbled it.>>Yep. And it bounced into the end zone. So, it’s first and 10 at the 20 for Minnesota.>>A 20-yard play for the Vikings, or a minus-20 for the Atlanta Falcons.>>Long count by Cunningham, who looks. Now he’s coming out with the ball. Cunningham’s gonna run and picks up about 3. Jessie Tuggle in pursuit.>>Now the Vikings on first down had three wide receivers in here. Matthew Hatchette was to this side, and that’s who he was trying to throw to. And Hatchette was covered well. So, he had nothing there. So, he looked left, didn’t have anything left. So, he just ran left.>>And it’ll be second and 6.>>The thing is, Robert Smith hasn’t run a lot today, but he made a big block there to free Randall Cunningham so he could get out of there.>>Three-wide receiver setup for Minnesota. And Cunningham drops. And throws to Matthew Hatchette, who’s come up big. Ray Buchanan made the stop.>>And earlier I said he was trying to throw to Matthew Hatchette. The play before that, Hatchette was doing deep. He couldn’t get deep. So, this time, instead of going deep, he just acts like he’s gonna go deep, you see, and then stops and comes back. That’s a lot of hand fighting on that play. I don’t think Ray Buchanan bought the deep or bought anything.>>7:40 now by the time they start this — less than that.>>Matthew Hatchette’s caught 4 passes. Randy Moss having that bad stomach.>>Here comes the blitz. The ball is loose! [ Whistle blows ] Atlanta’s saying, “We got it,” and they do. Atlanta gets the turnover. Shane Dronett has the football.>>We talked about what got the Atlanta Falcons here all year, and it’s been turnovers. And that’s what they got just before the halftime. That’s what they get here. I don’t think that ball ever got up to Randall Cunningham’s right hand.>>Bad exchange.>>He has his right hand up there. Looks like Jeff Christy is moving to his right. Watch Christy. He’s moving out to his side, and he just put the ball down there low.>>Well, look. They had somebody over Christy, which you pointed out earlier.>>Yeah, that’s the thing. If I were playing the Minnesota Vikings, I’d always have someone over Jeff Christy. That time, he was trying to get out to his right, and moving that way, he didn’t get the ball up, and Shane Dronett comes up with the ball. He was the guy that played without his helmet a little while ago.>>Atlanta, first and 10 at the Minnesota 30. Here comes the reverse, and this is Tim Dwight. The Vikings have played it pretty well so far. Dwight gets 5.>>We were talking after that last series how Dan Reeves, who’s been in so many of these games as a player and a coach, knew that he had to calm down his quarterback because they were going to get more shots. He didn’t want him reliving that last one. He wanted him to get ready for this one. He was locked there on Jerry Ball. If he could have cut right back there, he would have had a play. You see who was his leading blocker? It was Chris Chandler.>>Second and 5. Anderson is deep. [ Crowd cheers ] Anderson. Jamal Anderson breaks one tackle and does well to get as far as he does. Picked up maybe a yard.>>They have sure bottled up Jamal Anderson today. This “D,” the thing they have — the eight guys up here to take away the run. And the thing that the Vikings are doing — you see Robert Griffith there. He was on a blitz, and they’re getting penetration. He’s really there in the backfield before Jamal Anderson ever gets to the line of scrimmage. Robert Griffith has come up big in today’s game.>>Third and 4. They’re asking for noise are the Vikings.>>I don’t know why.>>They got it. Chandler. Just gets rid of it before he’s hit. And he’s hit hard by Duane Clemons, who came around the corner, around Whitfield.>>Yeah, that’s the second play that Duane Clemons made. We talk about Fisk. Here’s Clemons. He’s right there. Remember, he was the number-one draft choice a couple years ago. Now, Bob Whitfield, for whatever reason, tried to cut him. And all he had to do was stand up and give him a bump. Whitfield tried to cut him. He missed his cut, and there was Clemons right on Chandler.>>Fourth and 4. No field-goal unit.>>I think you kick the field goal here. I think they have plenty of time.>>I agree. Mathis is the move man. Chandler back to throw. Incomplete. Knocked away. Intended for Mathis.>>Yeah, that surprises me there because with over 6:00 and all your time-outs left, a field goal would have been a good play there ’cause you have to get points. Terance Mathis has had a case of the drops in this second half.>>Reeves is not supposed to get upset like that.>>I don’t know that this ball wasn’t deflected, either, though, Pat. In fact, I think it was deflected.>>Fuller got a hand in there, too.>>Yeah, that was Corey Fuller. He reached, and he got his left hand in there, and I think that he deflected it and knocked it out.>>Atlanta had to get something out of that.>>Because they’re gonna get the ball back again.>>Yeah.>>Like I said, there’s 6:00, 3 time-outs, a 2:00 warning. There’s still a lot of football left to be played.>>Here’s Robert Smith. Stays on his feet. And cuts it up for about 8 yards.>>Chris Chandler is in a little funk there. He’s missed his last 6 passes. Part of it is drops. Part of it is good rushes. Here now, Smith. Usually, when he gets to the sideline, he’ll go out of bounds. And the difference right here is this is a championship game. That’s the definition.>>Did you see who pulled? Christy.>>Yeah, and he’s been pulling all day again, and I think that’s been an advantage for the Vikings because, again, it gives them an extra blocker at the point of attack.>>Smith again. He’s gonna have a first down and more. [ Crowd cheers ] Robert Smith out of bounds at midfield. Good block by Cris Carter.>>Yeah, and a good block in the middle by Jeff Christy because what they were trying to do — the Falcons were trying to penetrate up the middle. And they were trying to come up the middle, so that made Robert Smith take the ball to the outside. Watch Cris Carter there on Ray Buchanan. He gets him going, gets him going. Watch Christy here. Boom! He just stops that blitz in the middle, and that’s the thing that let Robert Smith — instead of having penetration back there, let him jump to the outside.>>Leroy Hoard has replace Smith. And Hoard gets the carry. And Hoard gets 5.>>Now they’re getting a dose of Hoard here.>>Yep.>>Another guy that has done a heck of a job for this Minnesota Viking team is their offensive line coach Mike Tice.>>Hasn’t he?>>Yeah, yeah. He’s a real good technician. You watch his players, the way they practice, the way they do things. I was in his office the other day, and he had a sign up there that said, “Asking a stupid question is better than correcting a stupid mistake.” I thought, “That’s what a teacher is. That’s what a coach is.” There’s no such thing as a stupid question. His guys are always all on the same page.>>Robert Smith is back, and he gets the carry. And Smith is around a corner. And he gets a Viking first down. And the clock stops with 4:32 left.>>Yeah, you see Robert Smith there? Did you see that sign that he gave, that he didn’t want to come out? But if you’re gonna run — now watch Jeff Christy pull here. And he gets Jessie Tuggle right there. Just enough to let Robert Smith get to that corner, give a little straight-arm, and get his first down. Then they were gonna take him out. He put his hands up, and he said, “No, no, no, no. Let me finish this off a little more.”>>Minnesota 27, Atlanta 20. First and 10. 4:32 left. Here’s Robert Smith. Not much room this time, but he found some. And Smith trips over the 30. Is very, very near a first down.>>He knew that. He put his hand up and said, “Don’t come in.” He knew that he had that one in him. Now Robert Smith is becoming a warrior right here. He knows that right here is where they can win this game and put the Minnesota Vikings in the Super Bowl.>>His first 15 carries, he got 27 yards. His last 4 carries for 41 yards.>>When you talk about that word “determination” or “grit” or “will” or whatever it is, Robert Smith is just showing it here. Again, another good block by Jeff Christy at the point of attack. But Robert Smith is running like he wants to go to Miami. At 19 carries for 68 yards now.>>Ray Buchanan is the injured Atlanta player.>>Boy, and he’s played like heck today, Ray Buchanan. He’s been all over the field, covering everyone — pass, run, the whole thing. Robert Smith knew that he just wanted — you know, it’s that old deal about Michael Jordan and Larry Bird and those guys, how when it got to crunch time, they always wanted the ball.>>Yep.>>”Give me the ball.” Robert Smith just did that for the Vikings on those last couple plays.>>And that’s something he hasn’t always done.>>I don’t know that he’s ever been this close to a Super Bowl. You get to a point, and you can smell it. I don’t care what anyone says. You say you can’t smell Super Bowl. I’ll guarantee you you can smell Super Bowl.>>Second and 2. Hoard is the deep back, and Leroy Hoard gets the carry. Don’t believe he got the first.>>Randall Cunningham is pointing to his sideline. It’s just a couple inches. And, again, this is the situation where Randall Cunningham is such a good quarterback-sneak quarterback. In fact, I think he’s the best. He’s the best that I’ve ever seen at running the quarterback sneak. And this is a situation for a quarterback sneak again.>>And this is an Atlanta time-out, which means they have two left. The Vikings have all three of theirs. Cunningham checks with his offensive coach, Brian Billick. Dan Reeves.>>Dan Reeves isn’t happy with something there, probably how they opened up and let that run go there.>>And probably how they didn’t get to take advantage of that turnover they got. They really got a break. That’s the Falcon box — Dan’s wife, Pam.>>She’s been through some ups and downs.>>Yes, she have.>>Tribulation and trials and tribulations, as has Dan. But, again, what a job he’s done with this team and with this organization. What a game that guy’s played right there, Jeff Christy. He’s been all over the place. That look of intensity — that’s an old center looking at your quarterback to see what the play is. And, again, if they don’t cover that middle, this play is gonna be a quarterback sneak.>>Third and a yard — a short yard. [ Whistle blows ] And whistles blow. I’m not sure what Dan’s so mad about, but I do know he’s mad.>>It looked like he had to take a time-out.>>…consecutive time-outs. Third down.>>They took one time-out. You can’t call consecutive time-outs. Is that right?>>That’s right. You can’t take consecutive time-outs. You see him trying to call it. Dan Reeves was out on the field. They should have called something on him.>>Third down. Cunningham’s gonna throw it. And does throw it. And gets a first down. Randy Moss makes the reception.>>Who would have thought that they’d go to Randy Moss? They hadn’t gone to him since 9:00 in the second quarter. There’s something wrong with his stomach. He’s been a decoy. Now they get third and short. I think they figured, if a guy plays off him, if Buchanan plays off him, just throw it to him. We can get a first down. And that’s exactly what he did.>>And the clock continues to run.>>This is where warriors are really crowned.>>First and 10. Moss, 6 catches. Smith to the 20. Can’t say enough about the job that Denny Green has done and Dan Reeves has done.>>Yeah, and the job that this Viking offensive line has done.>>That’s Red McCombs in the middle.>>Red’s done a good job.>>Yes, he has.>>Red has never this year seen the Minnesota Vikings lose a game.>>Since he bought the team, they have not lost in his presence. He missed one game — the Tampa game. Cunningham to Smith. Behind the line this time. That’ll bring up third down. [ Crowd cheers ] An Atlanta time-out. And now they only have one. There is Evander Holyfield.>>We were talking about warriors and how Robert Smith has become a warrior and how Randall Cunningham. And that guy right there, Evander Holyfield, could be the definition of a warrior. Mike Tyson is this, Tyson is this, Tyson that, Tyson the toughest guy. This guy whipped Tyson the last two times they fought. I know a little about that warrior. I know a little about that other warrior who’s in there, Art Shell. Shell played for me for a long time. He’s in the Hall of Fame.>>There’s another one, Randall McDaniel.>>Randall McDaniel — the job that Randall McDaniel has done in there and the fight, and they’ve all been warriors today because you really have to lay it on the line. This is something — if you lose, there’s no tomorrow. There’s nothing to wait for. There’s nothing. “Well, we’ll get them next week. We’ll work on that on Wednesday.”>>Third and long. Third and 6. DeLong in motion. And looking upfield. Has plenty of time. Chased. Fires out of bounds, no interception. That’ll bring on Anderson.>>You see and you go back, and I don’t mean to second-guess but just kind of put the way the game is played. If Minnesota makes this field goal here now, they get a 10-point lead. Had Atlanta on that fourth down kicked a field goal, then this couldn’t happen.>>And Anderson hasn’t missed in two years.>>So, that’s a pretty good bet, if you say, “Do you think Gary Anderson will make this field goal?” The answer is probably yes.>>39 yards away. And it’s not good! The Falcons have one time-out. They have the ball as Anderson misses. Pulled it left.>>And Dan Reeves is happy with that one because he knows that he probably should have kicked a field goal the last time down there.>>On first down, Chandler retreats. Throws it outside. Kozlowski makes the reception. Stopped by Corey Fuller. 2:00 left. Pat Summerall with John Madden. We’re at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The Vikings lead by a touchdown. Who would have thought that Gary Anderson would miss in a situation like this?>>Who would have thought anything? Who would have thought that the Atlanta Falcons would be playing the Minnesota Vikings for the championship?>>Indeed, who would have thought? Here’s Chandler. Has it caught. Mathis trying to get out of bounds and does, I believe. Stops the clock with 1:54, and they move the sticks.>>Yeah, they don’t want to play him off too much. You see, here’s Mathis out here. He does a good job. You push up. You make them think you’re gonna go deep, and then you just run that out out there. Then, once you get it, you got to get out of bounds, and he dove, got out of bounds, stops the clock. [ Crowd cheers ]>>Chandler from the shotgun. Has a man open. That’s Ronnie Harris, and Harris is out of bounds at the Minnesota 31.>>Boy, was that great by Chris Chandler, just standing back there and seeing Harris. Again, this is a zone defense, but we’re looking at a hole in the zone. Here’s Harris right there. You see the deep guy goes deep. Harris comes underneath. And watch Chandler, how calmly he reads that, sees that zone, sees the hole in the zone, and sees Harris in the hole. Whoo!>>At the Minnesota 31. [ Crowd cheers ]>>That’s kind of stunned. “Come on, crowd.”>>Here’s Chandler. Up the middle. High. And incomplete.>>That one got away from Chris Chandler. He didn’t have a spiral on that one.>>That was intended for Harris, but no chance.>>That’s a calm quarterback when you can stand back there between plays — you’re in a championship game — tie your shoes. Less than 2:00 to go. You’re down by 7. And your wife is expecting a baby at any minute.>>1:42 left. Second and 10 at the Minnesota 31. [ Crowd cheers ] They have one time-out left. Chandler’s gonna take off with it. And he dives to about the 23.>>I don’t know that he didn’t hurt his knee.>>He did. He did. he did.>>He has to take that last time-out, too. He went down, and he really drove that right knee into the carpet. That’s one of those things where the quarterback, where he doesn’t know whether to go headfirst or to slide. And again you’re talking about adrenaline. You’re talking about competing. You’re talking about trying to get to a Super Bowl. He comes down. Now watch his right knee when he goes down here. In fact, he tripped on the carpet is what happened. I thought he was trying to go down, but he wasn’t. He just starts right there, and then he trips. Then he’s trying to lunge forward to get the ball forward when he hit his right knee.>>And now he limps back to the huddle. Noticeably limping. …their analysis of the game. Here’s Chandler again.>>Yeah, I was saying what he did is he stubbed his toe.>>Third down.>>John Randle back in.>>Third down. They need a first, among other things. The hand-off is to Jamal Anderson. Breaks one tackle. Gets the first down.>>Yeah, that’s the first thing that they needed because that gets them a new set of downs. Now, remember, when Chris Chandler hit his knee there, he had to take his last time-out. So, the Atlanta Falcons have to go with no-huddle here.>>1:08, :07, clock running. Chandler drops quickly. Throws. Incomplete. Almost picked off. Almost intercepted by a diving Robert Griffith.>>That’s that old zone, where if you look at the Vikings, they had six guys back there. Foge Fazio says, “We’re gonna zone that end zone.” Now Dan Reeves is calling the plays.>>Yep.>>I think we saw earlier where Jack Burns was calling the plays. Now we saw Dan Reeves was telling Steve DeBerg the play.>>And DeBerg is the backup quarterback if Chandler can’t continue. But it looks like he’s gonna continue.>>Chandler’s thrown a couple on this drive that weren’t spirals.>>Yep. Second and 10. He drops. Out of the pocket. Is he in the end zone? Touchdown! Touchdown, Atlanta!>>Oh-ho!>>Do you go for 2?>>No, heck, no, you don’t go for 2. You got to tie it up. The first thing you have to do is you have to get tied, then you go for a win. And I’m sure that that is one thing that never crossed Dan Reeves’ mind. Denny Green is in shock.>>Mathis held on.>>Chris Chandler — look at him read, buy a little time. And when he sees Mathis, does he drill that thing. Robert Griffith was right there, and he drilled that thing where Mathis either has to catch it, or he’s gonna get knocked over.>>Andersen with the all-important, big extra point. [ Whistle blows ] And a flag comes flying in.>>And that whistle blew before the ball was kicked, so the kick, no matter what happens, isn’t gonna count.>>The extra point was good by Andersen.>>Yeah, but this isn’t one if it’s against the Vikings, they can’t refuse it. It was blown before the ball was snapped.>>Prior to the snap, encroachment, 99, on the defense. We will rekick. Penalized 5 yards on the kickoff.>>Oh, that’s one penalty Dan Reeves didn’t want. Look at him there, ’cause he had the point, he had the tie, and as great as these kickers are — and, Pat, you’ve been there many times…>>[ Laughing ] Oh, yeah!>>…you don’t want to have to go through it again after you’ve already done it.>>Well, there’s too much involved. You got to get a good snap. You got to get it down correctly. This is not automatic.>>No, and then this whole thing of guys recording and time. And that can tend to tense a kicker up. Now, remember, this game’s tied. We go to true sudden death. There’s no just one quarter. We could be here all night. Boy, this is as big an extra point that I can ever remember.>>Stryzinski is the holder. Andersen to kick it. The center is an ex-Viking, Adam Schreiber.>>They want to change balls. Did you hear that?>>Yep. Red McCombs zeroing in with the binoculars.>>Boy, this is…>>Wow!>>Being up here, this is fun.>>You think about –>>Being those two guys there, it’s not a lot of fun. But this is where you want to be.>>Snap good. Hold’s good. The extra point’s good. 27-27. A stunned crowd at the Metrodome.>>Now the thing that the Atlanta Falcons want to do here is they want to get a deep kick, because what’s gonna happen — I would think the Minnesota Vikings will get in an onside prevent, and then I think instead of kicking an onside kick — I don’t think Atlanta wants to do that — I think you want to kick the ball away deep and straight, nothing fancy. Remember what the 49ers did last week? You don’t want to do anything like that. That’s stupid. I think you just want to kick the ball. You got Morten Andersen. Just kick the ball as hard and as deep as you can. Don’t worry about tricks.>>Now, Minnesota has all three of their time-outs remaining, 49 seconds. And you think back. If Gary Anderson hadn’t missed, before that if Dan Reeves and the Falcons had chosen to go for that field goal, we’d be talking about what happened.>>Yeah, we’d be ready to get on the bus and go down to Miami, but not so fast.>>David Palmer goes back deep.>>Boy, was Chris Chandler great on that one.>>Oh, boy.>>Throwing and finding that guy. You said it looked like Dan Reeves took over the play-calling because he was talking to Steve DeBerg, and I think he was calling the plays. He wasn’t talking to Steve DeBerg about going in for Chris Chandler.>>I had doubts — I don’t know about you — I had doubts of whether or not he was gonna be able to continue after he hurt his knee.>>No, I knew he was gonna continue. There’s no way you’re gonna come this far and get that close and go out with a knee injury.>>Morten Andersen tees it up. Is he gonna kick it? Not out of bounds — that’s the last thing.>>Although Minnesota is really not in an onside prevent. But remember there was a penalty on this play, too. So, the Atlanta Falcons get 5 yards.>>Andersen kicks a line drive. Palmer is gonna get a bounce, and it bounces away from him and out of the end zone. Couldn’t ask for better than that.>>No, I think that’s what they want to do. No tricks, just get the ball. Make them start on the 20 and then play good, solid defense if you’re the Falcons. Whoo!>>Yeah.>>Now you’re talking! This is what championship football should be. Doggone, this is good.>>27-27, 49 seconds left. Minnesota ball, all three of their time-outs remaining. This is an eternity. Chuck Smith looking up at the stands, asking for noise. I don’t think he’s gonna get it. Leroy Hoard is the deep back. And Cunningham goes to work. Here he comes. Now he’s gonna run. And doesn’t get out of bounds. And 40 seconds remain. Now he calls time-out. They’ll have 2 left.>>Yeah, and the Vikings have all their time-outs, so they can do those kind of things, although it took him a lot of time running around there. I don’t know that I’ve done a game, Pat, in the broadcast booth where my palms are sweaty. They are now.>>Cunningham drops. Again. Here’s the deep throw to Randy Moss. And no flags. No completion. It’ll be third down with 30 seconds left.>>That was sure exciting, though, because Randy Moss could have caught that ball. You’re gonna see him come deep. This is a big play. He’s made them all year. Here he is, running right through. It looked like he slowed up a little. And Randall Cunningham just didn’t get it out there. Randy Moss kind of started and stopped a couple times too many, and that he tried to change directions. Oh, that wasn’t as close as it looked, although you wonder if there was any contact while the ball was in the air. But who’s gonna call it in this situation?>>30 seconds. And now they’re just gonna let things run out and will settle for overtime.>>Yep, and overtime means true sudden death. I mean, they play until someone wins. Your regular season, they just play one quarter. A game can end in a tie. When you get in the championship game, there’s no such thing as a tie.>>Well, there are the postseason overtime rules… 27-27, we’re in overtime. We haven’t quite started yet. The Vikings have won the toss, as we get set to start in overtime. Robert Smith — Pam Oliver was down on the sideline. Said he has reinjured his knee.>>You can just see that grimace there that he has. I think when they were going for the win, and Robert Smith was out there, I think he emptied his tank. Look at this one, though.>>The last conference championship overtime game, January 11, 1987 — Denver 23, Cleveland 20. Dan Reeves was the Denver head coach.>>Yep, and that was “The Drive,” remember? They still talk about The Drive in both Denver and Cleveland. And it was that championship game.>>Andersen to kick it off. Line-drive kick, and Palmer will have a chance with this one. At the 15. Lassoed at about the 28. We’re in overtime, tied at 27.>>This is another reason that I’ve always felt that championship games should be played on different days, that you shouldn’t play both championship games the same day because this is as big as it gets right now, a championship game, and it should have its own day. Obviously, this game deserves a day.>>It certainly does. Randy Moss — our information was that he hurt a stomach muscle. This is Leroy Hoard, the deep back. But Moss still playing. Cunningham drops to throw it. Outside, Hoard gets away from one man. Gets away from two men. Gets a first down for Minnesota. [ Crowd cheers ] Out to the 40-yard line.>>This guy, Leroy Hoard, he’s been a starter. He’s just not a backup guy and a plugger who does things like just short yardage and blocking and stuff. This guy is a good runner, and he’s a good open-field runner. He’s a good pass receiver. He’s a complete running back. He just happens to play behind Robert Smith.>>First down, Minnesota, their own 40. Cunningham drops again. Here comes the rush, but he gets — ball’s knocked down. Dixon picked it up. Dixon fumbled. And the Falcons say, “We got it.” [ Whistle blows ]>>Yeah, but see that official right here, Pat? He was pointing to the ground.>>Saying it was down.>>I think he was saying the ball was down.>>Fumble, recovery, and run. Then the runner was down by contact.>>The runner was down by contact. It was Stringer who wound up with it.>>Boy, the Falcons are great at that, knocking the ball out. David Dixon has it right here. Now he goes down, and what they’re saying is, he fumbled the ball after he went down, ’cause here’s Randall Cunningham. In fact, he was trying to flip it out there.>>Yep.>>Now, big, old David Dixon, the right guard, has it. And he fumbles. Now watch the official right here.>>Yep.>>He was pointing to the ground, saying David Dixon was down.>>Down on his knees. A draw play to Hoard. Doesn’t get back to the line of scrimmage. Falcons played it well.>>David Dixon has been in and out of this game two or three times, and he hurt his knee, and then they put Lindsay in for a while. They bring Dixon back in here. Take him out, put him back in. That was a big play by him, recovering that fumble.>>Third and 8.>>I was just gonna say Rich Brooks is the defensive coordinator of this Falcon defense. And everywhere he is, he’s always done a great job of getting turnovers.>>Moss split wide right. Cunningham drops. Has time. Looks to Moss. Incomplete. Knocked away by Ray Buchanan.>>This is what Ray Buchanan says that you play this game for. You play this game to get in big games and get a matchup like Randy Moss. He said all year he hears about Randy Moss. He says he just wants a chance to play against him. And I’ll tell you. He’s playing him well today. He’s playing everyone well today.>>That ball was deflected by Lester Archambeau.>>And it was redirected a little. That took a little off.>>Yes, it did.>>I still think it was good coverage by Buchanan.>>It was. Berger gets off a kick to Dwight, who again retreats. Handles it at the 6, and Tim Dwight bangs out to about the 15, where the coverage is good.>>Now, this is the thing. I think when you’re inside the 20, and you say, “Who would you rather be right now?” I think I would rather be Minnesota in this field position than I’d rather be Atlanta.>>That was a 51-yard punt by Berger, an 8-yard return. And now the Falcons have their chance in overtime. 27-27 tie. At the 15.>>You talk about the noise in the pregame show, but this has to be the loudest it’s been all day right now. [ Crowd cheers ]>>Chandler moves his deep back. Santiago was the move man. Chandler drops it out to his fullback, Kozlowski.>>The Falcons have done a heck of a job handling this crowd. Look — they have no false starts, no illegal motion, no offsides, no delay of game, no fumbled snaps, no forced time-outs. They haven’t had any of those things that every other team we’ve seen has trouble with in this dome.>>That’s pretty impressive. Second and 6. Chandler has Jamal Anderson behind him. They have a bunch to the left. The hand-off is to Jamal. He’s got a first down for the Falcons. His longest run of the day.>>We were talking about Evander Holyfield being here. Jamal Anderson’s dad last night worked in Tyson’s corner. Here you see they’re making them think that they’re going to pass the ball, and then they run a draw play. And the thing that Jamal Anderson did — you saw the strong safety Robert Griffith come up to his right side, and when he saw him come up he cut back to his left.>>17 carries, 50 yards for Jamal Anderson. Mathis on the move. Again it’s Anderson on first down, and he’s tripped up in the backfield by Derrick Alexander, number 90.>>Derrick Alexander is playing both sides today. He’s been a left defensive end and a right defensive end. John Randle wasn’t here. Here’s Alexander. Now, the first thing you want to do against any run, take out a blocker, get in the backfield, get penetration, and get Jamal Anderson before he gets started.>>And he did all of those things.>>And they’ve been doing a good job all day of doing that to Jamal Anderson.>>Second and 10. Foge Fazio looking on. [ Crowd cheers ] The Minnesota defensive coordinator. Chandler drops to throw. Has some time. Gets it up the middle to Anderson. And he stretches for a Falcon first down. Bobby Houston made the stop. Chandler — can he hear? You wouldn’t think so from looking at that, would you?>>Well, what he says is when he can’t hear, then he and Steve DeBerg have signals worked out. So, if he can’t hear Steve DeBerg talking in his helmet, then Steve DeBerg, number 17 there, gives hand signals.>>They need a couple more first downs to get in range for Morten Andersen. First and 10. The fake to Jamal. Ball is deflected. Batted up in the air. Intended for Anderson.>>I think the guy that batted it up in the air, and you wonder sometimes how he gets up — I think it was Jerry Ball.>>I think it was.>>That means that he wasn’t rushing the passer. Watch him. He’s gonna fake to Jamal Anderson here. Then he’s gonna bootleg to his right. Then he’s gonna throw back, and you’re gonna see Jerry Ball right there. Jerry Ball was backing off. And you say, “What the heck are those defensive linemen — what do they ever do when they drop out?” Well, watch Jerry Ball here. He starts here. He feels something. He says, “Wait a minute. Something’s going on here.” He just spins around and says, “Look what I found.”>>Second and 10.>>Jerry still doesn’t know what the heck happened.>>No.>>He really doesn’t.>>He’s still spinning.>>Well, most of these players are going to a place that they haven’t been. Of course, the winner’s going to the Super Bowl, but overtime, championship game.>>27-27 tie, second and 10, Atlanta. Viking blitz. Chandler. Incomplete, intended for Mathis. He was open.>>And Chandler, I think, just watching him, I think he throws an out and a comeback as well as anybody.>>Well, Dan Reeves was telling us yesterday when we talked to him that Chandler is so much better than he ever imagined, that he can throw the ball as accurately as anyone he’s ever seen.>>You look at his pedigree, an he’s been with so many teams. You think there has to be something wrong with him, but maybe he just needed the right coaching situation, the right team, the right players around him, and the guy’s a superstar.>>Third and long. Out of the shotgun. Has time. Wheels it outside to Anderson, and they’ll have to punt. [ Crowd cheers ]>>He had pretty good pass protection here until right at the end, and it collapsed on him.>>Getting up slow is Chris Chandler. Remember he hurt his knee on that scramble, and he’s hurting again.>>And he gets it from his right side. Watch him. He’s in a shotgun here. Now he has pretty good protection, and it’s gonna come from this side right here. You see, he had to hold the ball, hold the ball, hold the ball, and he got whipsawed right at the end.>>Yeah, a big, low Jerry Ball.>>Jerry Ball’s a big load?>>Yep. Stryzinski will punt to Palmer. Signals fair catch. They get away from him, and the Vikings will take over at the 18. A flag on the play. A flag on the last play.>>Every little thing that happens in overtime becomes so big.>>It’s against Atlanta.>>Illegal formation on the kicking team — only six men on the line of scrimmage. 5 yards and rekick.>>They’re gonna make them kick it again.>>Yeah, you have to have seven men on the line of scrimmage. You can have eight, you can have nine, you can have ten, but you can’t have six. All they got is that group right there, and then I’m not sure if that guy — you see here they only have one, two, three, four, five, and then one of those wide receivers was on the line of scrimmage. But I don’t know if the other one was on or off.>>Well, they say not. So, Stryzinski, who had good hang time on the last one, will have to do it again.>>It had to be those two outside guys. One of them was back off and not up on the line of scrimmage.>>Good snap. Again it’s high. And Palmer again signals fair catch. Makes it at the 21. So, they picked up a few yards on that penalty — about 5, to be exact. So, the Vikings take over.>>Going back to that penalty, here you got five here. I think this guy’s up on the line, so that gave them six. And I think the one they called was right here, and he wasn’t up on the line. So, they said the five in the middle, the one out here was six, and the guy up on top wasn’t. And that was what the penalty was all about.>>That was pretty close.>>Yeah, very close. Look at Red McCombs. He looks like he’s in shock.>>Yeah.>>This is what it’s all about. This is competition. Winner goes to the Super Bowl. Heck.>>Here’s Cunningham back to throw. Intended for Matthew Hatchette, incomplete. He threw in a hurry.>>The thing is, these overtimes, these sudden deaths, and, again, we can just keep going on and on here with this game, and you know that the players aren’t in shape to play this. You don’t condition, you don’t prepare, you don’t train to play for five. I remember once we were in a playoff game against the Baltimore Colts that went six periods.>>But you don’t think about it.>>And our guys were dead after that one, I’ll guarantee you.>>Here’s Cunningham. There’s a pass complete to Cris Carter. [ Crowd cheers ] The clutch man gets a first down.>>I think that’s not a bad thing to do if you’re the Vikings, and you have Cris Carter here. Say, “Okay, let’s go to work with him.” They’re just playing man, and, again, he’s covered. There’s good coverage there, but he is so big and such a good target and knows how to handle the ball. And Randall Cunningham — you don’t always throw it to the guy as much as, in this situation, you throw it away from a defender and let your guy make the play.>>Cris Carter’s got great hands, too. Here’s Cunningham. Looks to the middle. Incomplete — intended for DeLong.>>He didn’t mean to go to DeLong. He was trying to go to his left out there. They had good coverage on Randy Moss. I think whatever Randy Moss had earlier, I think he’s recovered from now because that’s where Randall Cunningham wanted to go. He looks out to his left, and then he comes back. This is what he saw out there. See, this is one of the things that the Falcons wanted to do to Randy Moss is they wanted to be physical with him. They thought that could take him away, and that did take him away.>>Yeah. Hatchette is split wide to the right, Carter’s in the slot left. Second and 10. Cunningham retreats. Misses. Throws for Hoard. Incomplete.>>Again, good coverage downfield because he was trying to throw to Matthew Hatchette. He had Hatchette out here on his right side. When he rolled here, because he didn’t have Hatchette open, then he had to come off to the short guy.>>Tough pass to throw and to catch.>>He was in position, his arm and his body. He wanted to throw that about 12 yards out, and he ended up throwing, like, a 2-yard loop.>>Third down. They’ve had problems on third down of late — 0 for the last 3. Third and 10. Cunningham back to throw it. Here comes the rush. He got rid of it, and there’s Randy Moss. Incomplete. Looked like he was open. He looked like he was behind everybody.>>Eugene Robinson back there to knock it away.>>And that’s what a 14-year veteran does, Eugene Robinson. We haven’t heard a lot from Eugene Robinson today, but he’s a free safety, and he’s a guy that has to roam. He’s a guy that has to make that play. Oh, was that a big one for Eugene Robinson.>>That was close.>>That was that far from being a touchdown, a score, and a win for the Vikings. Boy, is that a big play. That’s why you bring in 14-year veterans, guys that have played in the last two Super Bowls.>>Another good punt by Berger. Takes a backwards bounce, but the Vikings will handle it inside the 10. Chris Walsh made a one-handed stab, and Atlanta will take over inside their own 10. And here comes the offensive unit. Remember Chris Chandler was limping the last — good kick by Berger. 52-yard punt, no return. Here comes Chandler.>>You know a guy that’s done a good job for the Falcons is their left tackle Bob Whitfield today, and he really has a tough time. We talk about the noise in here and all that stuff, and Bob Whitfield is also blind in his right eye. And then he has to block a guy like John Randle or Alexander or whoever. They’ve been changing guys on him all day. But he has done an excellent job over here pass protecting.>>8:28 left in the first overtime period. And Chandler drops to throw. And throws up the middle to O.J. Santiago, his tight end. First down.>>This offensive line is doing a good job of pass protection ’cause that’s where it all starts. They’re not a great run-blocking, although Jamal Anderson makes a lot of yardage running, but this is a young group. Art Shell is coaching them, and they do a very good job as a unit, which is what this whole Falcon team does. They work well as units within the team and work well as a team.>>They had 40 new players out of the 53 who weren’t there when Dan Reeves took over. That’s Jamal Anderson, and he just nudges straight ahead and only gets a yard, if that.>>One of the things we were talking about — Denny Green the other day was saying that when you play in a dome — and they’re both dome teams and both of these teams were built to play in domes — he said, “You don’t worry about field position.” It’s not like you’re playing in the Meadowlands, or you’re playing in Washington, RFK, those type of things, where you worry about wind and all those things. You don’t worry about that, although field position right now is very important because if you’re the Vikings, you don’t want them to go any further than this. And if you’re Atlanta, you’re trying to get first downs.>>Chandler back to throw it. Throw it deep for Santiago. And he got it across midfield. The tight end, O.J. Santiago.>>I’ll tell you, that was a heck of a catch by Santiago. What they did is they come with a blitz, and you see Houston there is man-to-man, and he’s covering Santiago. Now he’s gonna have help deep. But Chris Chandler throws a perfect pass.>>They cross midfield. Houston’s hurt.>>Yeah, he got hurt when he went down there, but that is a tough one. Bobby Houston is in there for Dixon Edwards. Remember, Dixon Edwards pulled a hamstring. Bobby Houston is his backup, and now he’s hurt.>>6:50 left in the first overtime period.>>You see Dixon Edwards is back in there, Pat, and he’s playing now with a pulled hamstring. I saw him earlier in the game go off, and I know that he pulled that hamstring. And then Bobby Houston, his backup, goes in. And then he gets hurt. So, Dixon Edwards has to come back in. There’s not a lot of choice you have.>>There’s John Randle over on the sideline. As a coach, would you know that Dixon Edwards was playing with an injured hamstring? How would you know?>>I would think because probably someone up in the booth up here, in the box would have seen it and reported that. And then the fact that he hadn’t been here, I would have wondered why he wasn’t in there and then the fact that they put him back in there, I would try and find a way to test him.>>Go to work on him. [ Crowd cheers ] First down, Atlanta. Mathis was the move man. This is Jamal Anderson. And Anderson steps out of bounds at about the Minnesota 44. Robert Griffith knocked him out of bounds.>>They were talking about guys that haven’t been. Well, they’re going right now. Jamal Anderson is that way. How do you get ready to run in the fifth quarter, but he’s doing it well. Good lead block there by Brian Kozlowski, his fullback, and that gives him the corner.>>Brings up a second down and 6.>>Jamal got up and said, “Where’d that last one come from?”>>Yep.>>Vikings are playing nickel here.>>Chandler. Outside. Complete to Mathis. That’s enough for a first.>>I’ll tell you, they’re getting very, very close to a field goal now, because at the 35-yard line, it would be a 52-yard field goal. And I think that’s what Chris Chandler is thinking right now. “Let’s get it up, and we need about another completion here to be in field-goal range.” Now watch Dixon Edwards.>>He can’t run.>>There’s no way. No, no. He can’t move at all. He has a pulled hamstring, and you have to have 11 guys. I’m surprised they don’t take him out and play nickel.>>First down.>>You know John Randle must be hurt if he’s not in there.>>Anderson deep. Here’s Chandler. Chandler steps away from one man, scrambles himself, bad knee and all down to the 31-yard line. And now they’re close enough. We’ve seen Morten Andersen kick them from over 60.>>Boy, did Dwayne Rudd put a hit on Chandler. Chandler has had a heck of a gutsy performance. We talked about warriors and gutsy performances. He’s not known as a runner. He’s not a real mobile guy, but, man, has he made some big runs today.>>Second and about 4. Chandler 27 out of 43. Andersen’s longest, by the way, is 60, when he was with the Saints. Second down. The give to Jamal Anderson, and Anderson hammers down to the 23. Dwayne Rudd made the stop.>>And that’s the thing you do with a great running back like Jamal Anderson. Even though they don’t have a lot of success early, you just keep running him. You just keep going with him because there’s a point that they’re gonna get a second wind. There’s a point that the defense wears down. And that’s when you can do some real damage running.>>The good ones get better.>>Minnesota tried at the end of regulation with Robert Smith, and now it’s Jamal Anderson.>>First down, Atlanta, at the 23 of Minnesota. It’s Anderson again, and this time he’s tripped up after a yard.>>And again the guy that was in there was Robert Griffith. If there’s a guy that’s playing his heart out today, I’ll guarantee you it’s Robert Griffith.>>Would you go ahead and try the field goal from here?>>I would wait. I would try it on third down. I mean, I’d try it on fourth down. I would use two more downs.>>You wouldn’t try –>>No, no, no.>>In case you had a bad snap.>>No, I wouldn’t. I would still run second down and third down. I’d try and get another first down.>>The heat’s on that guy. I know what that feels like. Anderson the deep back. And he gets the carry. Straight ahead to about the 20. That’ll bring up a third.>>They might do it now on third down because after running that play — they are gonna do that. But they ran that play to put it right in the middle, too.>>In case there’s a bad snap, they can fall on it and at least have another chance.>>Yeah, and after Jamal Anderson got a couple of those runs, they didn’t need any more, and they just wanted to get it in the middle for Morten Andersen to kick it. Ooh, is this place quiet now.>>Yes, it is.>>The Vikings are gonna take a time-out.>>And just think back to Gary Anderson, who hadn’t missed in almost two years. Here’s the one he pulled.>>And that’s what makes football football.>>This is Morten Andersen. Their careers just parallel, the two kickers. Red McCombs. That was not a very enthusiastic clap.>>It’s funny that Morten Andersen is gonna be kicking from about the same exact spot where Gary Anderson missed his. But isn’t this something? Talk about the game and the offense and the defense and the coaches and the Vikings and the dome and the noise, and the whole game comes down to the kicker. The kicker, Morten Andersen, right now, is the difference between the Falcons going to the Super Bowl or maybe the Vikings going to the Super Bowl.>>Well, he’s handled the pressure before. From 39 yards out. Andersen — it’s good! He knows it. They know it! Morten Andersen. From 38 yards officially. Morten Andersen and the Atlanta Falcons end it, 30-27. And Atlanta goes to Miami.>>And Dan Reeves is now the third coach to take more than one team to a Super Bowl.>>He took Denver, and now he’s taking Atlanta.

100 Replies to “1998 NFC Championship Game: Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings| NFL Full Game”

  1. 11:13 – Chris Chandler throws 5-yard TD pass to Jamal Anderson

    16:34 – Randall Cunningham finds Randy Moss for 30-yard TD

    24:36 – Harold Green fumbles, recovered by Vikings

    32:56 – Gary Anderson makes 29-yard FG

    34:00 – O.J. Santiago fumbles, recovered by Vikings

    38:55 – Cunningham rushes in for 1-yard TD

    47:50 – Gary Anderson makes 35-yard FG

    53:48 – Cunningham is strip sacked, fumble recovered by Falcons

    55:18 – Chandler zings 14-yard TD pass to Terrance Mathis

    1:14:51 – Morten Anderson makes 27-yard FG

    1:25:06 – Cunningham slings 5-yard TD pass to Mathew Hatchette

    1:30:58 – Morten Anderson makes 24-yard FG

    1:38:30 – Vikings mishandle snap and Falcons recover fumble

    1:41:48 – Falcons are unable to convert on 4th down

    1:53:20 – Gary Anderson misses 38-yard FG

    1:58:28 – Chandler finds Mathis for 16-yard TD

    2:23:10 – Falcons begin game-winning drive

    2:31:12 – Morten Anderson makes 38-yard FG to send Falcons to Super Bowl

  2. Gary Anderson set the standard for all Viking kickers to come….Blair Walsh and Daniel Carlson learned well from him. We'll see if Dan Bailey is a fast learner also….

    Oh, everytime John Madden speaks, I'm waiting for a "BOOM! tough actin Tinactin!"

  3. As a vikings fan who was only 1 when this game happened, I cannot believe they just kneeled the ball without giving randy moss another shot.

  4. This was my first football game I watched on TV. I am a Falcons fan and my wife is Vikings Fan…I brought up this game the other week and she punched me in the nose because of it. LOL

  5. It's always bad when a favored team gets a penalty on the 2nd play; also tge corners didn't do their jobs; there was absolutely no reason not to give Mitch Berger a shot kicking the field goal at the end of the half he'd already kicked one I know it was off of tea but it already picked the kickoff through the uprights I mean if he misses the kick there would have been no time left

  6. The worst thing is that we were robbed what would have been a classic Super Bowl and ended up getting in my opinion and many other people's opinions the worst Super Bowl ever Broncos Falcons is at least on the five worst ever no doubt about it

  7. Also Cunningham it played less than 14 full games this year I wonder what kind of numbers he and Moss would have had in the full season. Before Aaron Rodgers nobody could throw the ball as high and far as Randall Cunningham

  8. No Mandela affect😠😠😠😠 why wasn't there some kind of penalty for taking back-to-back timeouts with Dan Reeves on the field acting like an idiot

  9. Omg if Randy Moss had not turn the other way he would have caught that bomb at the end from Cunningham on 2nd down and taking it to the end zone just makes it even more painful

  10. 2:05:33 – I remember being enraged that the Vikings would just take a knee and run the clock out on 3rd down with 30 seconds left! Especially in a championship game with a deep threat like Moss. Might be the lamest playoff play call of all time.

  11. Oh, what a Super Bowl that could've been. Still disappointed with this one. I must admit, though; I predicted that Atlanta would win this game, due to Minnesota and Randall Cunningham being prone to choking in big games. Sadly, I was correct.

  12. 30: seconds in the 4th quarter left and you don't try and do damn thing with it. Up yours Dennis Green. That's enough time to put something on the board! Typical Dennis Green – take a knee move…worst captain of the Vikings…period.

  13. vikings get ball back with 5 minutes left. 3 times Robert Smith runs out of bounds. nice job idiot. even if anderson misses the falcons would have burned all their timeouts and had maybe 35 seconds left.

  14. 53:48 played huge part in the loss…….Instead of going in at halftime 20-7 and getting kickoff they were only up 20-14……..no reason at all to be throwing in that situation.

  15. There was about 10-20 plays in this game that if they went even just slightly in a different way, the Vikings would have won. The Vikings are just destined to choke I guess, from multiple narrowly dropped interceptions and receptions, to dumb couching decisions, this game was just painful

  16. 98 Broncos vs Vikings would have been a game for the century, maybe the most exciting match up ever. The Vikings losing today was a loss for a lot more than just Viking's fans.

  17. As far as I know, Atlanta is the only team ever to go on the road with a 14-2 record. Minnesota was 15-1. This was a good tough clean ball game!

  18. Always great watching the pathetic Vikings shoot themselves in the foot all the time. Why anyone would be a fan is beyond me. Must love losing.

  19. Just watching the replay of this game for the first time in twenty years. Gary Anderson pulled that kick to the left, but if he kicked it more to the right, it would have been blocked.

  20. I watch this game and think how in the world did the Vikings lose this game? Throw the ball to Moss at 2:18 left on a post and the Vikings were in the Super Bowl. Anderson hasn't missed in two years……. jinx. My only consolation was the Falcons got absolutely destroyed in that Super Bowl.

  21. I didn't get to see this game or the Falcons-Bungholes SB because of work. AFA the SB goes, I don't think I missed anything.

  22. I was so pissed after Minnesota lost this game. I wanted a Minnesota-Denver Super Bowl badly! They were not only the two best teams in the NFL that year, they were two of the best teams I had ever seen to that point. That would of been the best Super Bowl ever! Oh what could of been.

  23. Vikings win if Cunningham puts the ball out further for moss at 2:21:48. Moss had them all beat smh

  24. If Bud Grant and Marv Levy are in the Hall of Fame…so should Dan Reeves. Making the Super Bowl four times as a head coach is an achievement only seven other coaches can claim (Shula, Grant, Landry, Noll, Gibbs, Levy, and Belichick). They're all Hall of Famers. Only Shula took multiple teams along with Reeves. No way he's not a Hall of Famer.

  25. Classic. Falcons were not expected to win this game cause of the greatness the Vikings had on there team. But the Falcons won cause they never gave up fr. I hope we win a Super Bowl soon 🏈 #gofalcons #riseup

  26. This is one of the saddest most disappointing games I have ever seen smh. Atlanta deserved the victory and did what they had to, but we as football fans were robbed of the greatness of the Vikings and perhaps one of the greatest Super Bowls ever between the Broncos vs Vikings. Definitely one of the saddest days in NFL history.

  27. Minnesota wins in…
    1.The fumble on their own 10
    2. Moss Dropped TD, settled for FG.
    3. GARY FRICKEN ANDERSON.
    4. Griffin's dropped INT in 4qt.

  28. The decision to pass 3 consecutive times, with 1:10 remaining in the half, ahead by 13 points, inside your own 20 yard line, knowing you'll receive the kickoff starting the 2nd half… THAT…was really a horseshit decision. Ball game right there. That one was on Dennis Green.

  29. Vikings fans forever cursed!!! 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢 we could’ve got one 1998 and 2009!!!!!!!!!

  30. How I met your mother
    Marshal:"It was the 1999 NFC Championship the Vikings were up by seven in the fourth quarter they was going for a field goal which woulda put them up by 10 their kicker who didn't miss a field goal all year missed wide right,the Vikings went on to lose in overtime DAMN!!! 1:53:26

  31. Why not blitz at every opportunity if Chandler can't run? Why leave the guy out there with a bad hamstring who can't defend anybody?

  32. I know this was a great game….and Atlanta did great…..but man they robbed us of a dream Super Bowl….that Vikings team vs the 1998 Denver Broncos would have been a classic game….(or maybe 14-2 Atlanta vs 14-2 Denver could have been a great game if not for Eugene Robinson….UGH)

  33. @2:21:50 Eugene Robinson made the play of his career….I wonder if he wishes he didn’t make it considering….

  34. When Moss is on a show during his rookie season and then got traded to the Patriots from the Raiders, paired with Tom Brady, together they're the deadliest duo ever. But thanks to Eli.

    They scored 14 Points. The lowest of their '07 Season at the SuperBowl.

  35. Robert Smith played great down the stretch but he should have stayed in bounds to let the time run out. Three times on the Anderson missed FG drive he went out of bounds which gave Atlanta at least an extra minute.

  36. Gary saw that guy coming in from the right for the block tried to fade it that's really hard (I kicked in high school) Toward the end I was begging put in brad he would of sparked them it was obvious Randall was spent But what do us fans know? Typical vikings then now and…forever..?

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