In the second quarter of the Vikings blowout win over the Lions, it looked as though the game may turn into a shootout with both offenses overmatching the other's defense. The Vikings had owned the ball twice and scored touchdowns both times. In their last two possessions, the Lions had a field goal and a touchdown. A big play for either team could turn the tide of momentum. Vikings rookie Aundrae Allison provided that play and, in the process, the Turning Point of the Game.
At the time, there was 9:37 to play in the first half. The Lions had answered the Vikings' second score of the day with a four-play drive that was all passes, driving Detroit 73 yards for a score to cut the Vikings' lead to 14-10. It had all the looks of an old-fashioned shootout. That was until Allison took all the wind out of the Lions' sails on a play that looked strange from the outset.
With kicker Jason Hanson standing a full 20 yards behind the kickoff point, the Lions' coverage unit shifted seven men to the right side of their formation. Allison saw this and, knowing the team had called a return to the his right, it was setting up to be an interesting kick if he got a chance to get to it.
"I didn't know how they were going to kick it, but I knew they overloaded one side," Allison said. "It looked sort of like an on-side kick, so I didn't know what to expect. We had the right return on."
What followed was a team-record 103-yard return for a touchdown that effectively erased the impressive drive by the Lions and re-established the Vikings' 11-point lead. But for Allison, the motivation was the previous meeting with Detroit, when he thought he had another touchdown but was brought down after a 60-yard return.
"I had something similar happen in Detroit," Allison said of being pinned along the sideline and not cutting back to the middle of the field in time to stop the pursuit. "I had a 60-yard (return) and only had one or two guys to beat. All that was on my mind (this time) was the end zone."
The rout was on shortly after that. The Lions went three-and-out on the following drive and the Vikings drove 58 yards to increase their lead to 28-10. After a Kitna interception, the Vikings scored with five seconds to play in the half to take a 35-10 lead.
In a game that had the look of a potential 38-35 shootout, Allison's return changed the complexion, convinced the Lions to abandon the run, gave the Vikings the momentum they needed to steamroll Detroit and provided an exciting and record-breaking Turning Point of the Game.
Turning Point: Record-Setting Return
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