Did Harvin score a second time? He thinks so

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 27, 2011 - 9:50 PM

Vikings star tried to get coach's attention for a challenge.

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Percy Harvin (12) wasn’t able to get coach Leslie Frazier’s attention to challenge the ruling that Harvin was stopped inches short of the goal line on third-and-2 with the Vikings trailing by 10 points and under five minutes left in Sunday’s 24-14 loss to the Falcons at the Georgia Dome.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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ATLANTA - For what it's worth, Percy Harvin agrees with all of you who think he crossed the goal line.

Unfortunately for the Vikings and their fans -- many of whom rushed to Twitter to express their angst -- Harvin wasn't able to get coach Leslie Frazier's attention to challenge the ruling that Harvin was stopped inches short of the goal line on third-and-2 with the Vikings trailing by 10 points and under five minutes left in Sunday's 24-14 loss to the Falcons at the Georgia Dome.

"I was trying to tell Coach to hurry up and challenge it," Harvin said. "But he had a million things going through his head at the time, so I moved on to the next play."

The next play essentially ended the game when Toby Gerhart was dropped for a 2-yard loss when strong side linebacker Sean Weatherspoon rushed untouched over the left side and hit Gerhart in the backfield. The Falcons took over on downs with 4 minutes, 16 seconds left and ran out the clock as the Vikings joined the 1961 expansion team as the only team in franchise history to start 2-9.

Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said he didn't see the replay and was unaware that Harvin was trying to get the coaches to throw the challenge flag.

"I know [coaches in the press box] always have a keen eye on the field," Musgrave said. "There's a lot going on at that stage [on the field], and we're all trying to pull in the same direction and get in the end zone on the next play."

The Vikings started the drive at the Atlanta 3-yard line after a 104-yard kickoff return by Harvin. Quarterback Christian Ponder rolled right and was sacked for a 2-yard loss on first down. Musgrave then called three consecutive power-dive plays, the first two by Harvin, a receiver who's powerful beyond his 184 pounds.

In hindsight, Musgrave said he should have called something different on fourth down.

"We got some bootleg [plays] down there [on the goal line]," Musgrave said. "Looking back on it, I would have loved to have called one of those other than the play that we did call."

On the fourth-down play, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe is supposed to block down, while the left side of the line doubles the tackle and the backside guard [Joe Berger] pulls and kicks out Weatherspoon.

"[Weatherspoon] came upfield so fast that there was no chance for that play to work," Gerhart said. "It was a great play call for [Atlanta]."

Gerhart had a rough day in his third NFL start. Replacing the injured Adrian Peterson, who missed the game because of a high left ankle sprain, Gerhart was limited to 44 yards on 17 carries (2.6 average). Six of his carries went for no gain and the last one was the 2-yard loss.

Overall, the Vikings averaged a season-low 2.7 yards per carry. Their 64 yards rushing was the second-lowest total of the season behind the 53 they ran for at Chicago.

Had the Vikings been credited with a 65th yard on Harvin's controversial run, who knows what might have happened.

"One of [the officials] ran up to me and he was about to put his hands up for a touchdown, but two from the side came up and said, 'No,'" Harvin said. "So I don't think they got a good look at it."

Frustrated Vikings fans obviously agreed with that.

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