Long kick kicks back at Vikings

  • Updated: November 4, 2007 - 9:56 PM

Childress has no regrets about the 57-yard attempt even though the Chargers returned it 109 yards.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Just last week, in fact, the Philadelphia Eagles had sent out placekicker David Akers to attempt a 59-yard-field goal as the first half expired. Akers' kick fell harmlessly short, and there was no harm done.

Sunday against San Diego, Vikings coach Brad Childress had a similar thought. On the final play of the second quarter, Childress had Ryan Longwell attempt a 57-yard field goal. The decision led to the longest play in NFL history, even though it had little impact in the Vikings' 35-17 victory.

Longwell's kick fell just short, and Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie caught the ball just in front of the upright -- a live play under NFL rules. Cromartie kept his feet off the end line, turned and sprinted 109 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown.

Longwell's career high is 55 yards, established last month in Chicago. But Childress said the Vikings extended Longwell's range because the kick was going to be the final play of the half.

"We always talk about a spot where we're going to make a routine one," Childress said, "or we talk about a spot if we're coming to the end of the game, also. I didn't see any downside to finishing with three points."

Cromartie never faced a legitimate threat to his return, running around tight end Jeff Dugan, past guard Artis Hicks and finally past holder Chris Kluwe.

"It's a lose-lose situation," long snapper Cullen Loeffler said. "You don't have your coverage team in and you have primarily blockers, not coverage guys."

Cromartie, meanwhile, scored his third touchdown in the past two games. Last week against Houston, he recovered a bad snap in the end zone for one score and returned an interception for another.

"Man, it is a thrill but also it is a bittersweet thrill," Cromartie said. "The record books do not really mean anything to me. I would rather have a victory than be in the record books. It was hard, but I had fun also."

KEVIN SEIFERT

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