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(Sunday, October 18th)
Final Score: Minnesota 33, Baltimore 31
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Ryan Longwell converted all four of his field goals for Minnesota, his final one -- a 31-yarder -- with 1:56 remaining in regulation proved to be the difference and lifted the Minnesota Vikings to a thrilling 33-31 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
The Vikings watched a seemingly comfortable 17-point fourth-quarter lead evaporate and trailed 31-30 after Baltimore's Ray Rice scored on a 33-yard touchdown run with 3:37 remaining.
Brett Favre quickly moved Minnesota down the field and Longwell drilled the go-ahead field goal on the first play following the two-minute warning.
Baltimore refused to go away quietly as Joe Flacco, who enjoyed a career day passing, marched the Ravens to within striking distance of a game-winning field goal. However, Steven Hauschka pulled a 44-yard attempt left of the upright as time expired.
"It just goes to show in the NFL how good teams are," Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who had two sacks, said. "They kept fighting, kept throwing punches and got back in it. In the end, we end up throwing a knockout punch with a field goal, and they missed theirs."
Favre threw three touchdown passes, including a pair to Visanthe Shiancoe, for the Vikings, who are off to their first 6-0 start since 2003. Favre finished with 278 yards on 21-of-29 efficiency, while Adrian Peterson rushed for 143 yards on 22 carries.
Sidney Rice made six grabs for 176 yards, including a critical 58-yard reception on the drive that set up Longwell's decisive kick.
Flacco connected on 28-of-43 passes for a career-best 385 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn't enough to help the Ravens (3-3) avoid heading into their bye week on a three-game losing streak.
"We can overcome anything," Flacco said. "This group of guys is great. We're going to look at the game, see what we can improve."
Ray Rice had 10 receptions for 117 yards, accrued 77 yards on the ground and recorded two scores.
Longwell's 40-yard boot stretched Minnesota's lead to 17-3 with 7:16 to play in the third quarter. Ray Rice, though, answered three minutes later, breaking through the clutches of a couple would-be tacklers and surging down the left sideline for a 22-yard touchdown.
A slant pass to Sidney Rice on the first play of the ensuing Minnesota drive turned into a 63-yard completion and set up a first-and-goal at the Baltimore eight. The Ravens' defense held their ground and forced the Vikings to settle for a 22-yard Longwell field goal.
Shiancoe's second touchdown -- a one-yard catch -- made it 27-10 near the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter.
Baltimore responded less than two minutes as Mark Clayton made leaping grab in the end zone for a 32-yard score. Minnesota countered when Longwell converted from 29 yards out, expanding the margin to 30-17.
The Ravens then went 73 yards in three plays, with Derrick Mason's 12-yard touchdown closing the gap to six. After Minnesota went three-and-out, Baltimore started its next drive at the Vikings 33-yard line. Ray Rice scampered to the end zone on first down and the extra point gave the Ravens their first lead of the game.
Sidney Rice's lengthy reception on second down placed the ball at the Baltimore 18. After three consecutive runs by Peterson, Longwell moved the Vikings ahead.
A calm Flacco guided the Ravens to the Minnesota 26, but Hauschka failed to close the deal.
The Vikings built a 14-0 lead in the opening quarter, finding paydirt on each of their first two possessions.
Minnesota got the ball to begin the game, and Favre led the Vikings on a six- play, 61-yard march that culminated with a 19-yard scoring strike to Shiancoe, his fourth touchdown reception of the season.
After Baltimore went three-and-out on its next series, Favre capped a seven- play, 55-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown toss to Bernard Berrian.
Minnesota appeared to extend the lead early in the second stanza. Vikings defensive end Jared Allen hit Flacco from behind as he was in the motion of throwing the ball. The officials initially did not blow the play dead, indicating it was a fumble. Linebacker E.J. Henderson astutely picked up the ball and rumbled 37 yards to the end zone. To no one's surprise, Baltimore challenged the fumble ruling and the replay confirmed that it was an incomplete pass.
Hauschka kicked a 29-yard field goal to put Baltimore on the board in the waning moments of the first half.
Mason accumulated 97 yards on seven catches for Baltimore, which outgained the Vikings, 448-426...Favre is 6-0 for the first time in his career...Minnesota travels to Pittsburgh next Sunday.
10/18 18:03:56 ET