On a night when the Vikings offense turned the ball over four times and, even when it appeared they had come back to tie the game in the third quarter only to miss an extra point, the team was able to use all of its offensive weapons to create the game-winning drive and, in the process, the Turning Point of the Game.
The Vikings had solid starting field position thanks to the Bears' inability to show any confidence in Robbie Gould. Faced with a fourth-and-1 and leading 13-12, the Bears opted to go for a first down on fourth down rather than attempt a 52- or 53-yard field goal. That decision backfired when the Bears tried to cross up the Vikings with a pass that fell incomplete and, instead of trailing by four points or even punting to pin the Vikings deep, they had the ball on their own 35-yard line with 2:14 to play in the third quarter.
Adrian Peterson got the drive started by taking a sweep right for 16 yards. After a 9-yard run by Chester Taylor, the Vikings faced a fourth-and-1 from the Bears 40. Tarvaris Jackson had his number called and he took a sneak up the middle for the needed yard to move the chains.
With the Bears looking run, the Vikings crossed them up with a 19-yard pass to Bobby Wade to get the ball to the Chicago 20. Peterson got the call next for a 6-yard run, which was followed up by a 9-yard scramble by Jackson to give the Vikings a first-and-goal from the 5-yard line.
The Bears stepped up with a full run blitz on the next play and stuffed Peterson for a 3-yard loss. On the next play, Jackson scrambled, but strained a calf muscle being pushed out of bounds and the team had to bring in cold backup Brooks Bollinger.
It was clear the Vikings wouldn't risk losing points by having Bollinger throw. He knew it. The fans knew it. The Bears knew it. But in perhaps one of the most poorly executed plays of the night, Bollinger collided with Peterson, who snatched the ball out of his hands. At a dead stop, A.P. faked Brian Urlacher and darted to his left. With the timing of the play shot, he shot a gap on the left side and raced untouched for an 8-yard touchdown to cap the drive with a touchdown. Bollinger would finish it off with a quarterback draw for the two-point conversion to give the Vikings a 20-13 lead.
"There was a communication error," Peterson said of his run. "But we made a big play out of it. I saw Urlacher right there in the hole, in that A gap, and just cut it back."
In a game where the Vikings offense did everything it could to keep the Bears in the game, it was the one drive that the team needed that gave them the lead for good and, in the process, created a Turning Point of the Game that allows them to still control their own postseason destiny.
Turning Point: Must-Have Drive
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