Favre rallies Vikings over Cardinals 27-24 in OT

MINNEAPOLIS — Just when the "Fire Childress!" chants were getting their loudest, Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings put together a breathtaking comeback to turn the crowd.

For the first time all season, they delivered the kind of complete, dominating play on both sides of the ball that was expected of a team that began the year with Super Bowl aspirations.

And they did it not for their embattled coach, but for themselves.

Favre threw for a career-high 446 yards to rally the Vikings from 14 points down in the final four and half minutes, and Ryan Longwell's 35-yard field goal in overtime lifted them to a 27-24 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

"First and foremost you need to play for yourself, which ultimately helps the team," said Favre, who led his 46th career fourth-quarter comeback victory. "To say the coach, coordinator, running back or quarterback is at fault is being a coward. You got to look at the mirror and say, 'What can I do to make this team better?'"


Coach Brad Childress was under fire all week for his clumsy handling of the release of wide receiver Randy Moss. He also fought with Percy Harvin in practice on Friday and, with his veteran-laden team at 2-5 heading into the game against the Cardinals, his hold on his job was tenuous at best.

Things looked even worse for him with five minutes to play in the game, with his Vikings trailing 24-10.

That's when Favre took over. He directed touchdown drives of 40 and 77 yards, the last culminating with a 25-yard TD pass to Visanthe Shiancoe with 27 seconds to play that pushed the game into overtime.

Favre tied a career-high with 36 completions in 47 attempts with two touchdowns and two interceptions, a performance that saved the Vikings' season, and quite possibly Childress' job.

At least for this week.

Adrian Peterson racked up 144 total yards and two TDs, Harvin shook off a gimpy ankle with nine catches for a career-high 126 yards and the defense sacked Derek Anderson six times, doubling its total for the season.

"There was every reason why we could have quit and justified it with the crazy week we've had," Longwell said. "We just don't have guys like that in this locker room. You're accountable to yourself and ultimately to your teammates. That's why guys play hard for each other and with each other."

It was an exhilarating end to another tumultuous week for the Vikings. It started with Childress deciding to cut Moss, a move that not only stunned players but team management and ownership as well. His messy handling of the situation raised serious doubts about his job security, and he also nearly came to blows with Harvin in practice on Friday.


Childress said he spent 15 minutes with Harvin before the game to clear the air.

"We had a little dispute," Harvin said. "It wasn't what people thought it was about. It was about whether I was going to get an MRI or not. It was a little dispute but we settled it. Me and coach are fine."

Childress and owner Zygi Wilf? That may be another matter. Wilf declined to comment on Childress' job security before or after the game, but he was clearly thrilled by the come-from-behind win. He hollered "Great heart!" as his team entered the locker room, with his Vikings (3-5) showing life for the first time all season.

"I think he meant it to everybody," Childress said. "Heart of a champion. You've got to come back and win some games where you play unevenly and that's exactly what they did."

It was a profoundly disappointing loss for the Cardinals (3-5), who were 4:39 away from an impressive victory when Favre turned things around.

LaRod Stephens-Howling returned a kick 96 yards for a touchdown and Michael Adams returned a fumble 30 yards for a score for the Cardinals (3-5), who appeared to have the win sealed after stopping the Vikings on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line with just over six minutes to play and a 24-10 lead.

Anderson was 15 for 26 for 179 yards and a touchdown and Minneapolis native Larry Fitzgerald had seven catches for 107 yards for the Cardinals, who had the ball first to start overtime.

But the Vikings defense smothered the Cardinals on that drive and Arizona had no answer for Peterson and Favre on the next possession.


"It's definitely heartbreaking," said linebacker Joey Porter, who had two sacks. "It's tough for a defense to lose that way, tough for a team."

Anderson played well, throwing a 30-yard touchdown to Andre Roberts to give Arizona a 14-10 lead at halftime. But that was the only touchdown the offense mustered and the Cardinals were outgained 507-225.

The defense also missed a chance in the first quarter, when Kerry Rhodes picked off Favre and headed toward the end zone. Just a few steps before he crossed the goal line, receiver Greg Camarillo caught him from behind and punched the ball out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.

"There's so many plays in that game that could've gone either way," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "That's what makes it so tough."

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