In a game in which the Vikings ran the ball 43 times, it was the long bomb that turned the tide — three plays of similar distance and similar precision. Those three passes made the difference between a tight game and a blowout.
The Vikings have been known as a team that will take a shot at the end zone once they get across midfield, and on three occasions they did it — each having an impact on the outcome.
The first came early in the second quarter. After Seattle kicker Josh Brown came up short on a 52-yard field goal, the Vikings were given great field position. After a 9-yard pass to Michael Bennett got the Vikings past midfield, Daunte Culpepper audibled to Randy Moss in single coverage. He launched a bomb to the back of the end zone and hit Moss in stride, giving the Vikings a 7-0 lead.
After Seattle had cut the Vikings' lead to 13-7, the bomb came back into play. Culpepper moved the ball with short passes of 10 yards to Kelly Campbell and 9 yards to D'Wayne Bates, but the Seahawks changed coverages, and Culpepper saw the deep pass open again — firing a 45-yard rope to Moss on the first play after crossing midfield and re-establishing a 13-point lead at 20-7.
On the first play of the fourth quarter with the score still 20-7, the Vikings called for the bomb again. But this time, Moss took the safeties with him, leaving Campbell wide open down the right sideline. Culpepper again let loose on a bomb — this one of 43 yards — and Campbell hauled it in for a touchdown and a 27-7 Vikings lead.
They were three passes all designed to give a receiver a chance to pull in a pass of 50 yards from where it left Culpepper's hand. The distances were very close — 43, 45 and 47 yards — and all were perfect connections. They provided the spark the Vikings' offense needed — as well as accounting for all three touchdowns from the Vikings' offense.
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