After 874 net yards of offense, 127 offensive snaps and 64 total points, it’s hard to pick out a single play of the day in the Vikings 33-31 thriller over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. But while it didn’t result in a score and wasn’t even his longest reception of the day, it’s hard not to point to WR Sidney Rice’s 58-yard reception in the 4th quarter as the game’s most crucial play.
Trailing 31-30 with just under 3 minutes to go, QB Brett Favre rolled right on a naked bootleg, bought some time for Rice to get downfield and then with all his might launched a pass toward his receiver. Even as he was being held, Rice managed to get under the ball and make the catch, setting K Ryan Longwell up for the eventual game-winning FG.
As great of a play as it was, it didn’t unfold as it was drawn up. According to head coach Brad Childress, the play was a “run-alert-pass,” where a run play was called but Favre had the choice to check to a pass play if he saw a certain look from the defense. The QB saw the appropriate look and alerted to a pass.
But the ad-libbing didn’t end there. Even once Favre alerted to a pass play, Rice modified his responsibilities based on how his defender was positioned.
“It was the route that I had changed myself,” Rice said after the game, “but Brett made a great read on the defender who was outside of me and the safety came down. I just decided to take it at a slight angle and he cocked back and let the ball go. It was on a straight line right there and I was able to make a play on it.”
Rice was quick to give his Hall of Fame QB credit for the play, but Favre was insistent that it was Rice who was the playmaker on this occasion.
“That’s being a football player,” Favre said of Rice. “He was supposed to have a 12 or 15-yard comeback I think. That’s the type of plays he can make. Sometimes you have to adjust. Really, with Sidney on that play you have to give him credit because I didn’t tell him to go, I didn’t tell him to come back. He just felt like he had the advantage.
“We have had that discussion in the past, that if he feels like he can get on top, or can win, then do it. So I just wanted to make sure I could give him something he could catch.”
Tags: Sidney Rice
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