After a hard-fought afternoon of football, we had a crazy final three minutes at the Metrodome. After the dust settled and the smoke cleared, however, the Minnesota Vikings had engineered one of the biggest upsets of the young NFL season, knocking off the San Francisco 49ers by a final score of 24-13.
We'll fast forward to the 3:33 mark of the fourth quarter. For all the action up to that point, you can check out the rest of our stream for the afternoon's action.
With the Vikings attempting to run out the clock and the 49ers down to one time out, Christian Ponder handed the ball to Toby Gerhart, who was called down by contact. The Niners called their final time out. . .or so we thought.
After 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh called the time out, he decided that he wanted to challenge the play. By rule he should not have been able to do so, as he had already called his final time out. Since the clock had not gone under two minutes, he should not have been able to challenge the play without a time out in his pocket. However, the replacement officials that were working the game not only allowed Harbaugh to make a challenge that he shouldn't have been allowed to make, but they gave the 49ers their time out back.
On the ensuing San Francisco possession, Alex Smith did something that he hadn't done in his previous 249 pass attempts dating back to Thanksgiving of 2011. . .throw an interception. Rookie Josh Robinson got his hands on a pass intended for Michael Crabtree, and it appears that the Vikings would be able to ice the game.
Or so we thought.
On the second play of the Vikings' next possession, Gerhart fumbled again, and Harbaugh again challenged. . .with another challenge that he shouldn't have had if the referees had made the proper calls the first time. However, it was ruled that Gerhart fell on his fumble, and the Niners were charged their last time out, which appeared would lead to the Vikings icing the game.
Or so we thought.
Coming out of the two-minute warning, Gerhart put the ball on the ground for the third time in four carries, and the 49ers recovered the fumble, taking it to the San Francisco 43-yard line. After a pass to Mario Manningham put the 49ers on the Minnesota 35-yard line, Jared Allen picked a fine time to collect his first sack of 2012, getting to Alex Smith and knocking the ball loose. Brian Robison fell on the fumble, and the Vikings just took a knee the rest of the way to secure the victory.
It was a crazy three and a half minutes of football, but the Vikings pulled off a big upset to move their record to 2-1 on the season. San Francisco drops to 2-1 on the year as well. Next week, the Vikings head to the Motor City to take on their NFC North rivals, the Detroit Lions.