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(Sunday, September 27th)
Final Score: Minnesota 27, San Francisco 24
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Brett Favre completed a 32-yard touchdown pass to Greg Lewis with two seconds left, as the Minnesota Vikings stunned the San Francisco 49ers, 27-24, at the Metrodome.
Trailing by four, the Vikings began the game-winning drive with a minute and a half to go at their own 20. Minnesota advanced downfield, but with only 12 seconds left, the team was faced with a 3rd-and-3 at the San Francisco 32.
But Favre dropped back, waiting for the play to unfold, then gunned a pass to the back of the end zone. Lewis jumped and extended his arms to make the catch, got his left foot inbounds, then dragged his right toe in the end zone. A booth review upheld the touchdown call, as the Vikings (3-0) took the victory.
"I think people realize now how good San Francisco is," Favre said. "Their defense is outstanding, I thought their offense played extremely well also. To get a play like that against them...we knew it was going to be tough going in. I don't know. It's pretty special."
Favre finished with 301 yards and two scores, with one interception, on 24- of-46 completions for Minnesota, which hadn't opened the season with three wins since 2003. Sidney Rice also had a touchdown grab, while Adrian Peterson ran 19 times for 85 yards and Percy Harvin returned a kick 101 yards for a score.
Shaun Hill threw for 195 yards and two scores -- both to Vernon Davis -- for the Niners (2-1), who had defeated Arizona and Seattle in the first two weeks of the season. Hill also had an interception, completing 15-of-25 passes.
Davis finished with seven catches for 96 yards for San Francisco, while Nate Clements returned a blocked kick for a touchdown. The Niners lost running back Frank Gore to an ankle injury after his first run of the game.
"You look at a game like today, it was a tough loss," Niners head coach Mike Singletary said. "But the team that lost this game, particularly like that, is going to be better for it. We will be better for it going forward. It stings and it hurts like heck. But going forward this will serve us well. We have to learn how to finish. We have to learn how to play big games."
The back-and-forth game saw multiple lead changes, and San Francisco seemed to grab the momentum with a touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter.
Hill led the Niners downfield with his arm, completing a 31-yard pass to Davis and a 28-yarder to Isaac Bruce. The pass to Bruce advanced the ball to Minnesota's 10-yard line, and San Francisco caught a huge break on the next play.
Hill's throw to the end zone was intercepted, but a delay of game penalty on the Niners negated the play and made it 1st-and-goal at the 15. After Glen Coffee ran for no gain, a false start penalty moved the ball back to the 20.
But Hill saved the drive, settling a pass over Vikings defenders into the hands of Davis in middle of the end zone. It put San Francisco up, 24-20, with 8:12 to play, and the Niners' defense held the Vikings' offense in check.
With just under two minutes left, Favre's pass on fourth down was nearly intercepted by Dre Bly, and San Francisco took over. But Minnesota used a pair of timeouts and the Niners went three-and-out, giving the ball back to the Vikings with 1:29 left, setting the stage for the ending.
The dramatic finish was all the more surprising, as it was the only Vikings drive in the second half that resulted in points.
Minnesota got on the scoreboard first, on a six-play, 88-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard touchdown from Favre to Rice with 8 1/2 minutes left in the opening quarter. Ryan Longwell's 40-yard field goal shortly into the second quarter made it a 10-0 Vikings lead.
But the Niners countered with their first touchdown, when Hill found Davis from five yards out.
Longwell added a 52-yard field goal with 3:26 to play in the half, giving the Vikings a 13-7 lead. They looked like they might add to that edge before halftime, reaching the San Francisco 16 with 19 seconds left.
A holding penalty moved the ball back 10 yards, and two plays later, Longwell set up for a 44-yarder. But the Niners' Ray McDonald busted through the line and got his hands on the kick, while Clements scooped up the ball and returned it 59 yards. The surprise score with time expiring put San Francisco up 14-13 at the break.
Joe Nedney booted a 37-yard field goal for the Niners with 4:47 left in the third quarter, but the Vikings took the lead back on the ensuing kickoff. Harvin caught the ball a yard deep in the end zone, wove his way through the Niners' coverage team, then sprinted away for the TD, giving Minnesota a 20-17 edge.
Nedney's field goal and extra points put him over the 1,000-point mark for his career. He entered the game with 998...Coffee finished with 54 yards on 25 carries...Chester Taylor caught seven passes for 70 yards for the Vikings...Minnesota hosts Green Bay next Monday...San Francisco plays St. Louis next Sunday.
09/27 20:44:11 ET