Turning Point: Missed Kicks

Vikings coach Mike Tice and kicker Doug Brien seemed equally perplexed over the Vikings' kicking woes againt the Bills. In fact, comments from Tice indicated he gave up on the kicking game when it came to fourth-down decisions.

In a game that featured potentially as many as 20 turning points — from missed plays to loose balls to penalties to non-penalties to clock management — the turning point of the game may be the turning point of Doug Brien's career.

After already having a field goal hit the upright that kept the Vikings from taking a 16-13 halftime lead, the Vikings fell behind in the third quarter only to respond with a scoring drive to go up 26-23. A simple extra point and the Vikings have a four-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. The mindset of the Bills would have changed. A field goal would still leave them behind. It would take a touchdown to get back in the lead. That didn't happen.

After a turnover allowed the Bills to take a four-point lead, the Vikings then had to score a touchdown to re-take the lead. They did, but Brien missed a second extra point and Mike Tice wasn't happy.

"You miss an [extra point] and it's hard to win," Vikings coach Mike Tice told VU. "You miss two [extra points] and it makes it almost impossible."

When asked if he was concerned about his offense going for (and scoring) two touchdowns on fourth-down plays, Tice told VU, "What the heck? We couldn't make a kick. Why not (try it)?"

For his part, Brien was in disbelief with how his day went.

"High school kids make those (extra points)," Brien told VU. "I am so disgusted with myself. You've got to do it. I really thought I could have a shot in overtime to win the game. I can't imagine the game ending like this. I can come back hard if I get the chance to. I'm not going to quit. I have never quit at anything before."

He may not have to. By the time you read this, Tice may already have cut Brien. In a game with more potential turning points to count, Brien was involved in too many of them — all of them bad — and became the turning of point of the game.

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