At the end of a tight game, that can be an eternity in the NFL. More times than not, 86 seconds can roll off the clock with very little happening. But in Saturday's 30-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, one span of 86 seconds made the difference in winning and losing and created an enormous Turning Point of the Game.
With 30 seconds to play in the third quarter, Ryan Longwell had just kicked a 49-yard field goal with room to spare to cut Seattle's lead to 16-13. The Vikings had clawed their way back after giving Seattle a couple of easy field goals early in the game to eventually build a 9-0 lead. But, with just 30 seconds before the fourth quarter, Minnesota was back in the game and momentum appeared to be on their side.
That was, until the roof caved in.
On the ensuing kickoff, returner Josh Wilson appeared to be bottled up at the 20-yard line, but sloppy tackling allowed him to get away and return the kick to the 43-yard line. In much better field position, instead of simply running out the clock with a run on first down, the Seahawks went for a big play and got it. Rookie CB Marcus McCauley missed a press at the line of scrimmage on wide receiver Ben Obomanu and raced untouched downfield. Quarterback Seneca Wallace dropped a perfect spiral to him and he was off to the races for a 57-yard touchdown to seize momentum back for Seattle with a 23-13 lead.
Looking to answer as the game went to the fourth quarter, Brooks Bollinger was faced with third-and-10 and underthrew a pass that was intercepted by Kevin Hobbs on the Vikings 39-yard line and brought back for a touchdown. What had been a 16-13 deficit with 30 seconds to play in the second quarter was now a 30-13 deficit with 14:04 to play – Seattle's lead ballooning from just three points to 17 points in the span of 86 seconds.
The blame could be spread around to many people. The special teams allowed a 40-yard kick return that took away momentum. The defense allowed a 57-yard touchdown pass over the top. The offense had a turnover returned for a touchdown. In a game in which the Vikings were essentially even with the Seahawks, major letdowns by all three of the Vikings' units in one 86-second span turned a close game into a thumping and an easy-to-call Turning Point of the Game.
Turning Point: 86-Second Meltdown
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