As Vikings head coach Brad Childress took his foot off the gas with 1:06 remaining, he set quarterback Brett Favre up for failure. Childress became complacent with a long field goal attempt at the end of regulation and cost the Vikings a chance at the Super Bowl.
Because, with 1:06 left in the game, the Minnesota Vikings were in complete control. At the New Orleans 33-yard line, 1st-and-10, with two timeouts.
Time became the Saints' problem.
With every option in his offensive arsenal available, Childress balked. The Vikings had amassed 475 total yards of offense on Sunday. With no sign that the Saints could stop the Vikings, Childress did it himself.
Following a Saints' timeout with 1:06 left, Childress ran Chester Taylor for no gain. Childress let 41 seconds elapse before handing to Adrian Peterson for no gain and the Vikings took a timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, the Vikings were called for 12 men in the huddle penalty, pushing them back five yards to the 38-yard line and out of field goal range.
It was that next play, 3rd-and-15, that did in Favre. His last pass of the season was intercepted.
But it didn’t have to end like that.
Favre was desperate to make a play there because of the position Childress put him in. The Saints had seven defenders to cover four receivers in an obvious passing situation. Favre may be Captain America, but he isn’t Superman. Anything less than a five-yard gain was tantamount to a turnover, so Favre forced it.
If Brad Childress would have called a better game and utilized his options to run or pass with 1:06 left, he would have kept the defense on their heels. The Vikings had gained 44 yards on their previous three plays. In just 38 seconds.
The Vikings could have set themselves up for a closer field goal or at least avoided the finality of 3rd-and-15.
If Favre’s last throw ends up being an interception, send the black roses to Brad Childress. Just make sure they’re in full bloom.