Mark Craig's five extra points

  • Updated: November 26, 2012 - 7:39 AM
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Vikings coach Leslie Frazier

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune file

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FIVE EXTRA POINTS

1. Down 18, with one quarter remaining? Go for it

Coach Leslie Frazier shouldn't be blasted for going for it on fourth-and-2 from the Chicago 8-yard line while trailing by 18 points with more than 14 minutes left in the game. Perhaps offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave can be questioned for not giving Adrian Peterson the ball on third or fourth down. But Frazier's gut told him the Vikings needed a touchdown to get back in the game. "I felt like if we get a touchdown, we'd have a good chance to get this thing where we wanted," Frazier said. Had the Vikings kicked the 26-yard field goal, they still would have trailed by two scores (including a two-point conversion). They had three more possessions but didn't advance the ball beyond the Chicago 31.

2. Winfield rightfully upset

Can anyone remember Antoine Winfield ever getting that upset with an official's call? He had every right to after being flagged for a pass interference penalty that moved the Bears 24 yards to the Vikings 1-yard line. The 5-9, 180-pound Winfield had the 6-4, 230-pound Brandon Marshall in man coverage in the end zone. Marshall had his right arm extended, holding Winfield at a distance while quarterback Jay Cutler scrambled. There was contact as the ball arrived, but Marshall could have been called for pushing off as well. "I thought the flag was on Brandon," Winfield said. "I talked to the ref after that play. He said he saw me grab his arm right when the ball got there." The Bears scored on the next play.

3. Not so special PAT

The Vikings have one of the best special teams in the league. But the Bears reminded them not to take a nap on PATs. Or, better yet, be careful when it comes to rushing too hard from one particular side. In the second quarter, holder Adam Podlesh took a snap, stood up and ran untouched for a two-point conversion to make it an 18-3 game. The Vikings have blocked a PAT and two field goals this season, including one by Kevin Williams later on in Sunday's game. "Not surprised they would do that," Frazier said. "Good job by them. But it didn't slow us down."

4. Upon even further review

It was a level of confusion not seen since the replacement officials were let go. Vikings safety Mistral Raymond picked up a loose ball and ran 52 yards for a touchdown while 21 other players basically stared at him. After huddling, officials ruled it a touchdown. Then it was announced the touchdown had been upheld. Then it was announced the touchdown was being reviewed. Then it was announced that there was no touchdown that would have moved the Vikings to within eight points. Just a 3-yard gain by Matt Forte en route to a Bears field goal and a 28-10 lead. Raymond still insists that it was a fumble, and there didn't appear to be indisputable evidence to overturn the ruling on the field. "I kept my eye on the ball, and [Forte] was juggling it as he started to go down," Raymond said. "And the replay I saw, you couldn't get a good look at it. You couldn't tell. Maybe the officials saw something that nobody else in the stadium did."

5. What was Ponder thinking?

Quarterback Christian Ponder has trouble letting loose the way 49ers quarterback Colin Kaeper-nick did while shredding the Bears defense Monday night. Part of it is Ponder's determination not to put his offensively challenged team in a bad situation. But sometimes you wonder if it's too ingrained in the player he is. On the previously mentioned fourth-down play, Ponder absolutely needed to put the ball in play, whether it was intercepted or not. Instead, he threw the ball through the back of the end zone. "I was trying to get the backside slant, and [Brian] Urlacher read it and kind of went backside and covered the slant," Ponder said. "I then tried to get out of the pocket and make a play. I got to keep the ball inbounds. I threw it over [Michael] Jenkins' head, and I didn't let him make a play. Obviously on fourth down, you have to let somebody have an opportunity to make a play." Ponder always says the right things after doing the wrong things.

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