Turning Point: Scoring Frenzy

The Vikings had their first game where all three units played well consistently, but for a 10-minute stretch they each had big plays to blow open the game.

For the last three months, Mike Tice has harped on the fact that his team hasn't put together a solid game on offense, defense and special teams. If one was playing well, the other two stunk. If two played well, the other let the team down.

But, in a 10-minute span of the second and third quarters, the Vikings turned a close game into a blowout — and all three units were responsible. The offense had been efficient the entire game when the 5-minute mark of the second quarter hit. The first two drives of the game had yielded only three points for the Vikings, despite holding the ball for 14 minutes in those two drives. Big plays were needed, and they came in bunches.

First it was the offense. Daunte Culpepper led the Vikings on an 11-play drive, facing just one third-down situation. That came on the 1-yard line and, showing confidence in his team, Tice let the offense go for a score on fourth down, which Moe Williams provided to give the Vikings a 10-0 lead with 1:42 to go in the half.

The defense came up big next. With the Bears looking for points before halftime, Chris Chandler was pressured into two interceptions to force a Bears punt. Then the special teams got in the act. Nick Davis took a punt at his own 29-yard line and returned it 57 yards to the Bears 14. That allowed the Vikings to tack on three more points for a 13-0 lead at the half.

Needing to protect a two-score lead, the Vikings defense forced the Bears into another three-and-out. Following the punt, the Vikings offense surged 66 yards on five plays, capped with a 39-yard TD from Culpepper to Randy Moss to put the game away 20-0.

Games are won and lost by a series of key plays every game. Sometimes teams win with offense. Sometimes with defense. Sometimes with special teams. In a 10-minute span Sunday, all three delivered to provide the turning point of the game.

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