With the season on the line, a team needs to make the proper adjustments at halftime to rectify the things that haven't worked and accentuate those things that did. The Vikings did neither Sunday and had a Turning Point of the Game that could loom large in their fading playoff hopes.
Trailing 23-7 at halftime, the Vikings got the ball to start the half. They attempted to establish the running game and ran Chester Taylor four straight times. The last two set them up with a third-and-6 from the Jets 46. When a Brad Johnson pass sailed behind Billy McMullen on third down, the Vikings had to kick the ball away and hope their defense could shut the Jets down to give them field position and cut the deficit to single digits.
Instead, the Jets gashed the Vikings with a 15-play, 84-yard drive that began on their own 14-yard line. Perhaps the most troubling part of this drive for the Jets was that they ran seven plays and got into Vikings territory before they ever faced a third-down play that potentially could get them off the field. When they did, Chad Pennington completed a 21-yard pass to Laveranues Coles on a third-and-7 play to keep the drive going. Two plays later, the Jets converted another third down – this time a third-and-11 – on a 20-yard pass to Justin McCareins to the 1-yard line.
To the Vikings credit, they stuffed a pair of runs and forced the Jets to settle for a field goal, but the damage was done. In all, the 15-play drive took 7:41 off the game clock, leaving just 4:27 to play in the third quarter and the Jets with a 19-point lead.
While things looked dim heading into the second half, the Vikings inability to get a spark on offense and the Jets' ability to milk the clock and take what the Vikings would give them created a clear-cut Turning Point of the Game and has the Vikings teetering on the brink of playoff elimination.
Turning Point: Jets' Statement Drive
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