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Childress Also At Fault for Vikings' Loss

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With 2:37 left on the clock in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game, the Minnesota Vikings got the ball back with all three of their timeouts in hand and had a chance to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl. We all know by now that they came up short and that Brett Favre's interception was the nail in the coffin, but let's not forget the culpability of the man on sidelines calling the shots.

On the first play, with the ball on their own 21 yard line, Minnesota head coach Brad Childress called a run play for Adrian Peterson for no gain. Rather than showing any urgency trying to run another play, Childress was content to allow the clock to run down until the two minute warning.

What the hell is the purpose of that? Remember the situation here is 2nd and 10 on a potential game-winning drive and you're back at your 21. Why do you not run another play there?

Let's move on.

After the Vikings came out of the two minute warning, Childress called another run play this time gaining two yards. Finally after this, Childress must have realized that he had a Hall of Fame quarterback running his team and decided to let him try his luck.

Favre responded by hitting Bernard Berrian on a 3rd and 8 to move the chains and on the next play nailed Sidney Rice on a beautiful throw down the right seam for 20 yards, down to the New Orleans 47-yard line.

On the very next play after this Childress called one more run play a good idea in a situation where the defense is struggling to organize themselves, this time a 14 yard gain by Chester Taylor down to the Saints' 33. At this point New Orleans called a timeout.

Let's think about this. You have the ball on your opponents' 33-yard line with 1:06 left on the clock, a Hall of Fame quarterback who's been making big throws all game and all three of your timeouts. From here a field goal would be about 50 yards, a distance where kickers miss more than they make. What would you do?

Well if you're Childress you'd call two consecutive run plays followed by a timeout with 0:19 seconds left on the clock. I have never understood why when NFL teams reach near the 30-yard mark in the two minute drill they choose to run the clock down as opposed to trying gain a little more yardage to help out their kicker. The difference between the percentage of kicks made from 45 yards out as compared to 50 yards is significant.

Here's where I just absolutely lose it.

The Vikings come out of the timeout and Favre notices that there are 12 men in the huddle. He attempts to call a timeout. Unfortunately for him you are not allowed to call consecutive timeouts without running a play.

This is Childress' fault no matter how you cut it. He burned 47 seconds off the game clock for no yardage gain by calling conservative runs up the middle and then coming out of a timeout Minnesota has an extra man in the huddle. How the f*ck does that happen in the NFC Championship Game?

The officials enforce the five-yard penalty for having twelve men in the huddle, bringing the ball back to the Saints' 38. Making a game-winning field goal from this distance now around 55 yards. The Vikings now forced to gain some yardage to help out kicker Ryan Longwell, call a bootleg out to the right for Favre.

We all know Favre ended up throwing a terrible interception to Tracy Porter and Drew Brees led the Saints to victory in overtime. Favre's decision making in that play, at that moment was awful, but Childress should also be held accountable for the loss as much as anyone else.

His mismanagement of the game clock throughout the Vikings' last drive and failure to control his personnel effectively coming out of a timeout were egregiously bad. He compounded these miscues through his conservative play calling, particularly in the last 1:06 of the game, content to run the clock down for a game-winning kick.

In a game where the Vikings turned the ball over five times and lost even though they outplayed the Saints, there is plenty of blame to go around. Favre, Peterson and Berrian all were at fault for turning the ball over, but let's not forget about the head man in charge who's decision making was far from perfect in the endgame and was also a big factor in the Vikings' loss.