Favre lifts Vikes to 27-24 victory over 49ers
MINNEAPOLIS – Brett Favre still has quite the winning touch.
Greg Lewis leaped for a 32-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone to lift Minnesota to a 27-24 victory over the stunned San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, keeping the Vikings unbeaten.
An official review upheld Lewis’s unbelievable catch with 2 seconds left, sending the sellout crowd into a frenzy. Some of the fans had already left after two unsuccessful possessions prior to that against a stingy 49ers defense. More of them booed a few times during the second half as the offense struggled to move the ball, and many Favre’s passes were badly off target.
But they were sure on at the end, during an 80-yard drive that ate up 87 of the 89 seconds that remained when the Vikings (3-0) got the ball back. Favre completed six passes during the drive and finished 24 for 47 for 301 yards, two scores and his first interception, though he could’ve had a few more of the latter.
The 45 attempts were the most by Favre since Nov. 11, 2007, when he beat the Vikings while with the Green Bay Packers by going 33 for 46 for 351 yards and three touchdowns.
Save for a handful of clutch completions on this afternoon, including a perfectly placed 30-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice on a skinny post route in the first quarter, Favre did not look sharp.
He took two delay-of-game penalties. He took some body blows, too, including a late hit by Justin Smith in the second quarter from which Favre got up gingerly and showed discomfort in his left leg.
He was healthy enough later to throw a third-down pass from his own end zone to Bernard Berrian for a 36-yard gain and sprint upfield past a zig-zagging Berrian to put his body into linebacker Patrick Willis for a block at the end of that run.
But until the end, Favre was being beaten by Shaun Hill, a former Minnesota third-stringer who threw two touchdown passes to tight end Vernon Davis. The second one was a 20-yard toss over three defenders that lifted San Francisco (2-1) to a 24-20 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
One subplot to this game, a matchup of the NFC’s top two runners, disappeared quickly.
Frank Gore sprained his right ankle on San Francisco’s second series and, after X-rays revealed no broken bones, didn’t return. Adrian Peterson was more productive than his career-worst 3-yard performance of two years ago against the 49ers, but he again found holes in San Francisco’s 3-4 defense difficult to find with Willis chasing him from side to side.
Peterson finished with 85 yards on 19 carries.
The Vikings trailed at the half for the third straight week, the result of a stunning end to the second quarter after Ryan Longwell lined up for a 44-yard field goal attempt that would’ve put them up by nine points. Ray McDonald pushed through the line for the block, and Nate Clements picked up the ball for a 59-yard touchdown to put the Niners up 14-13.
After allowing an NFL-record seven special teams scores last year, the Vikings have given up two more this season.
They can answer them at least, though. Rookie Percy Harvin produced a 101-yard kickoff return in the third quarter, putting Minnesota back in front 20-17.
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