Notebook: Similar plays, game-changing result

The Vikings and Packers each had plays to their tight ends that were initially ruled touchdowns. One stood, the other was erased, changing the complexion of the game. Plus, Favre took a beating and the secondary had a very different look.

Two similar plays may have illustrated the difference in how things went for the Vikings and Packers Sunday night at Lambeau Field.

With seven seconds elapsed in the second quarter, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers threw for tight end Andrew Quarless at the back of the end zone, which was ruled a touchdown, but replays showed him bobbling the pass as he landed out of bounds.

"It looked like he may have juggled it or whatever," cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "They called it a touchdown. It is what it is."

Although Brad Childress was clearly perturbed with a number of calls made by the officials, he didn't challenge that touchdown.

With just over four minutes to play later in the second quarter, the Vikings also threw to their pass-catching tight end in the end zone. Visanthe Shiancoe made an athletic diving catch in the middle of the end zone that was originally ruled a touchdown, but when Packers coach Mike McCarthy challenged, Shiancoe's touchdown was overturned.

"I personally did feel that (I had it)," Shiancoe said. "I talked to the ref. He told me if it had been further up in my hands, it would have been a touchdown. He said that, because I had it low in my hands, it's not a touchdown."

Shiancoe showed the assembled media his forearms and his gloves – both had corresponding grass stains on one arm and paint from the end zone on other. The gloves had the stains on top, which Shiancoe believed was proof that he got his hands under the ball when making the catch.

"This is all from that one play," Shiancoe said. "I thought I had my hands under it. I can show my gloves. I slid under it, but they said it wasn't a completion. That's the difference between three points and seven points."

Childress wasn't happy, either, and called out the refs for what he believes was a discrepancy in the way the rule was explained to him by the league and the way the officials interpreted it.

"It's hard when they take touchdowns off the board. I must not understand catch in the end zone for them to take Shiancoe's off the board," Childress said. "That's not the way it's taught, that's not the way we're told. … You control the ball and it doesn't make any difference if you control the ball in your hand or forearm. Period. That's not the way it's taught at our owner's symposium and that's wrong. That's wrong."

As it turned out, the Vikings had three touchdowns nullified – Shiancoe's, a Percy Harvin touchdown in which he didn't get the second foot in bounds and a Harvin touchdown run in which he stepped out of bounds before hitting the pylon. Two of those reversals were clearly the right call, but Shiancoe's touchdown that was called back left several Vikings shaking their heads.

"I was a little bit surprised on one of (the reversals) for sure," Favre said, confirming that he was referring to Shiancoe's TD. "They must have saw something that I didn't."

FAVRE LIMPS ALONG

Quarterback Brett Favre wasn't in good physical or emotional condition after Sunday's game. He re-injured his ankle on a hit from Brad Jones on his first interception that was returned for touchdown, and that was just the start of his downturn.

Favre had to visit the training room before going to his press conference and limped his way to the podium afterwards.

Asked if he was worried he might have done some real damage to the ankle this time, he replied, "I should've been worried about that a long time ago."

Favre's demeanor reflected a player that was as emotionally beaten as he was physically bruised.

"As thrilling and exciting as it is to win those type (of games), for me, it's devastating (to lose)," he said. "I don't know how else to put it. I take a lot of pride and ownership in all phases of the game. You've got the ball in your hand, you hope to win those. You just feel like you let everybody down."

Things got so bad for Favre that after interceptions on consecutive passes in the third quarter, Childress said he considered pulling his starting quarterback but wanted to give him one more chance. Favre responded with a touchdown drive to pull the Vikings within four points, 28-24, but couldn't finish the comeback.

Favre said Childress didn't talk to him about making a change at quarterback.

"We didn't talk about it. I don't think I gave any illusion that I was hurt, though, other than limping every play," Favre said.

A DIFFERENT SECONDARY

The Vikings already knew they would be without starting safety Husain Abduallah, but cornerback Lito Sheppard was also inactive, meaning recently acquired Frank Walker saw some action – and more than expected.

Rookie cornerback Chris Cook was active for the first time in the last three games, but he struggled during his action in the nickel defense and was replaced at times by Walker.

The Vikings gave up 227 yards passing to Aaron Rodgers in the first half, but only 68 yards in the second half.

"(They) just kept on throwing it short and short and short and just kicking us to death, really. Throwing it short and running for 30 or 40 yards due to a missed tackle," safety Tyrell Johnson said.

"We had to make an adjustment and basically play inside leverage. It slowed them down, but it didn't stop them."

Johnson made the start for Abdullah, who suffered a concussion last week. Johnson was inactive the last three games, but cornerback Antoine Winfield said Johnson played well.

"Same defense. Same calls. I think he did a really good job. Stayed poised," Winfield said. "When he had to make the tackles, he came up there and did it."

Other inactives for the Vikings: Joe Webb (third QB), WR Hank Baskett, RB Albert Young, LB Erin Henderson, G Chris DeGeare and DT Fred Evans.

Inactive for the Packers were FB Quinn Johnson, LB Brady Poppinga, LB Maurice Simpkins, T Mark Tauscher, G Nick McDonald, G/T Marshall Newhouse, DE Mike Neal and DE Michael Montgomery, who spent the offseason with the Vikings.

NOTES

  • After starting the first three games of the season, John Sullivan injured his calf and was inactive for the fourth game and didn't play in the fifth. He was back in a starting capacity Sunday night.

  • Randy Moss refused to even acknowledge a reporter's repeated request for an interview following the game. He turned away, put headphones on his head and walked away.

  • CB Chris Cook, who struggled in coverage a few times in the second quarter, also declined to talk after the game. "No comment. I don't have anything to say," Cook said.

  • The game-time temperature was 58 degrees with 96 percent humidity. It was clear at field level but a light fog surrounded the upper part of the stands.

  • The Vikings didn't register a sack on Aaron Rodgers after getting 14 sacks against Green Bay in two games last year. The Vikings led the league with 48 sacks last year, but they have only six sacks through six games in 2010.


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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