INDIANAPOLIS -- Two of the Vikings' worst penalties in Sunday's flagfest at Lucas Oil Stadium never should have been called, say the two players whose mental mistakes allowed the Colts to kick a third-quarter field goal in a game they won 23-20.
Twice, the Vikings defense had the Colts stopped during the first possession of the third quarter. But the drive went on and on (and on) for 14 plays and nearly 8 minutes because of Andrew Sendejo's roughing-the-kicker penalty on fourth-and-5 and Jared Allen's personal foul for a late hit out of bounds on quarterback Andrew Luck on third-and-16.
Allen, who dived at Luck's feet and tripped him, didn't hold back on the replacement officials when asked after the game if he just wasn't aware that he was that close to the sideline.
"I don't think it was roughing," Allen said. "In fact, [the NFL] can fine me if they want to because that was the worst call I ever seen in my life.
"I dove when [Luck] was in bounds and I hit him with my arm and he slides down. Their sideline hyped it up and they got the call. So whatever."
Allen said he was "consciously conscious" of where he was on the field.
"I guess you can't touch the quarterback," Allen said. "If he was a running back, they wouldn't have called it."
Allen can take offense with the call. But he can't argue that it was an unnecessary risk to dive when Luck was running out of bounds for a 1-yard gain on third-and-16.
The penalty gave the Colts a first down at the Vikings 30-yard line. Seven plays later, Adam Vinatieri kicked a 45-yard field for a 20-6 lead. By the time the Vikings offense touched the ball for the first time in the second half, only 7 minutes, 6 seconds remained in the third quarter.
Three plays before Allen's penalty, the Colts punted from their own 45. The Vikings had a punt block called when Sendejo broke free on a rush up the middle. He was called for a 15-yard roughing penalty when he made contact with Pat McAfee.
"I don't think I roughed him, but I have to see it again on film to be sure," Sendejo said. "All I know is he did a good acting job. An excellent job. And the refs rewarded him for it."
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said the coaches in the press box high above the field said they didn't think it should have been the 15-yard personal-foul penalty. But even the lesser 5-yard penalty for running into the kicker would have given the Colts a first down.
Those were just two of the Vikings' 11 penalties for 105 yards. But they were a major reason the defense couldn't get off the field at a critical point in the game.
From the 6:02 mark of the second quarter until the 7:06 mark of the third quarter, the Colts held the ball for 12:33 while the Vikings had it for 35 seconds. At the 6:02 mark of the second quarter, the Vikings trailed 7-6. At the 7:06 mark of the third quarter, the Vikings trailed 20-6.
"This is a game we should have won," Allen said.
Not with penalties like these.