Call it the comeback that wasn’t.
After the Vikings fell behind 16-0 at the half, the offense came to life in the second half, thanks mostly to Brett Favre, who led the team on five scoring drives, tying the Bears at 23-23, then again at 30-30.
The big problem was the Vikings’ kick coverage. Two huge Bears returns set up a pair of answering touchdowns, keeping them from dropping out of the game.
It was 30-23 Bears when the Vikings got the ball for one final possession. Favre drove the ball down the field and into touchdown range, and was able to hit Sidney Rice in the endzone for an incredibly dramatic game-tying score.
That sent the game into overtime. The Bears won the toss, and on their first play, Jay Cutler hit Devin Aromashodu to put themselves nearly in field goal range. Three short gains later and Robbie Gould was set up for a 45-yard attempt. Gould’s kick was, stunningly, wide right, giving the ball back to Favre and the Vikings’ offense.
Unfortunately, the Vikings’ offensive line, which had played better throughout the second half, came out like they thought the game was already over, and allowed the Bears to hit Favre on three straight plays, forcing a punt.
The good news: the Vikes’ defense manned up, stopping the Bears for a 3-and-out. Alas, on the ensuing Vikings possession, Adrian Peterson fumbled, giving the Bears the ball on the Vikings’ 38. A Jay Cutler TD pass to Aromashodu sealed the victory for the Bears, handed the Saints homefield throughout the playoffs, and guaranteed that the questions will keep raining down on Brad Childress‘s head.