Vikings Fall To Steelers: Recap Of Fourth Quarter Trend For Vikes

Tony TuckerCorrespondent IOctober 26, 2009

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 25:  Brett Favre #4  of the Minnesota Vikings stands on the sidelines after his fumble was returned 77 yards for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 25, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won 27-17. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

For the fourth time this season the Minnesota Vikings found themselves in a close contest. This time they could not escape with a win, falling to the Pittsburg Steelers 27 - 17.

First lets take a quick look back to the other close fourth quarter games.

Week 3 vs the 49ers, the Vikings trailed by four when Favre connected with Greg Lewis for the go ahead score with only two seconds remaining on the clock.

Week 4 vs the Packers, what seemed to be a commanding 30 - 14 fourth quarter lead, dwindled to a 7 point victory. With the Packers attempting an onside kick with 55 seconds remaining, recovered by Sidney Rice.

Week 6 vs the Ravens, again the Vikings had what appeared to be a insurmountable 17 point lead which would evaporate leaving them down by one. They would come back with a drive ending in a field goal to put them ahead. Still they were not out of the woods yet, needing a missed field goal by Haushuka for the victory.

Although they won those previous games they were still let downs during the time of the game when a team should be playing its best football.

With that being the track record for this still young season, the bounces were bound to go against them, and they did.

"There were a lot of what ifs, a lot of reasons we didn't win," Favre said.

That quote sums up Sundays game, a game that wasn't as much of a Pittsburg win as it was the Vikings losing it.

On two different occasions it felt like the Vikings were going to have another close fourth quarter win. The first, was at the start of the fourth when Rashard Mendenhall coughed up the ball inside the Vikes 10 yard line.

The drive after that turnover appeared to be another classic Favre come back, but it was to no avail. The drive was crushed by a fumble by Favre and returned for touchdown which took the excitement out of Vikings fans.

When it felt like the game was a miracle away, Harvin took the following kickoff to the house to bring it back to a three point game with six minutes to play.

Minnesota would get the ball back, down by three with a little over three to play.

Fans and myself thought for sure Favre and the offense would engineer a field goal drive and get this game to overtime.

It felt as if Peterson willed them down inside field goal range on a screen pass in which he ran like a wild bull. Much to the dismay of Vikings fans Peterson was resting on the sidelines, when Favre would throw a screen pass to sure handed Chester Taylor and it would squeak through his hands into the hands of Steelers defender which he would return for a touchdown.

Could it really be that the savior and new found leader to the promise land fail twice to get it done in a big road game against the defending champs?

I don't think anyone is to blame for this loss, however if we could look in hinesight for a second.

On fourth down on the goal line down by three, why wouldn't you let AD go for it. I know that he got stopped twice before but make a statement and have some faith that your defense would make a play and at least get you the ball back in good field position if AD couldn't hammer it home.

Second play call in question is the screen pass to Taylor on the 17, which ended up getting picked and finishing the game. If your going to set up a screen pass, why not just run the draw which to me has less of risk of going wrong and probably just as effective.

If there wasn't a borderline tripping call then the result would have also been different.

As they say, if, ifs and buts were touchdowns and such, then the Vikings would have won. Ok, no one says that.

Todays loss was not the end of the world, nor a sign that Favre is breaking down. Today was a sign that things need to be tighter in the games curcial moments and if they want to be great, then they better start showing up in crunch time.

Each of the games I referred to are different in their own ways, but what isn't different is that you can't have a lot of success in this league when the fourth quarter is your worst quarter.