How do you lose all control of an NFL game in half a quarter?
Let us count the ways from the second quarter of the Vikings' 26-14 loss at Tampa Bay on Sunday.
• You rush three against Tom Brady on third-and-4 and suddenly he stops looking like an old man who was 0-for-22 on deep balls at one point this season. The 48-yard TD travels 54 yards perfectly through the air and you're down 7-6.
"That play changed all the momentum to our sideline," said Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians, whose team held the ball for only 2 minutes, 30 seconds in the first quarter and 20:57 for the entire game.
• Your right tackle, Brian O'Neill, false starts on third-and-10 with only 16,031 people in the stands. Your kicker, Dan Bailey, has to move 5 yards back and misses a 54-yarder by about 20 yards to the right. One of his four missed kicks on the day, as you may well know.
• You have Brady stopped in the red zone with 1:02 left in the half. You tackle LeSean McCoy for a 3-yard gain to the 18 on third-and-6. Yippee!
Safety Harrison Smith gets flagged for lowering his helmet to initiate contact. It's the fourth time he's had a personal foul of this nature this season.
Coach Mike Zimmer disagreed with the call and said it was one of two that "changed the complexion of the game." We'll get to the other one soon.
"I just heard [Smith] hit him on the shoulder," said Zimmer, who heard wrong because there was helmet-to-helmet contact. "What I saw was the guy caught the ball, everybody is trying to get to the first-down marker, the guy is stumbling and falling to the ground and we're trying to stop him before he gets there."
First-and-goal from the 9.
• Two snaps later, your rookie cornerback, Jeff Gladney, intercepts a pass in the end zone. He thinks he's heading for "SportsCenter" stardom with Brady's third pick-six of the year.
"I seen a clean play, pick, going to the house with it," Gladney said. "My first one. Was ready for it. Needed it."
Nope. Defensive pass interference. The Vikings go down 14-6 on the next snap.
• You offense gets the ball back with 44 seconds left. Amazingly, the Vikings have to punt the ball away just 13 seconds later. Brady gets the ball with 21 seconds left.
"That's another one of those possessions that you feel had a big impact on the outcome of the game," quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "That's where taking a sack [on third down] might actually be helpful. We throw an incompletion, and it stops the clock for them."
• With 1 second left, you watch as Brady launches a ball 59 yards through the air. You watch as tight end Rob Gronkowski and Vikings linebacker Todd Davis push and shove and hand-fight down the field. Gronk bangs into Vikings safety Anthony Harris. Bodies are everywhere, pushing and pulling and doing all the normal things that go unpunished on Hail Marys at the end of halves.
But referee Brad Allen's crew saw this one differently and called pass interference on Davis — the other call that a perturbed Zimmer said changed the game.
ESPN's NFL officiating wizard, Kevin Seifert, was quick with supporting evidence that we just don't see that call made very often. According to Seifert, it was the first time since at least 2008 that a pass interference call was made in a Hail Mary situation.
"That's a terrible call," Hall of Famer and Fox analyst Troy Aikman says.
Arians used the one untimed down to kick a field goal and take a 17-6 lead, which became 23-6 after the Bucs got the ball to start the second half.
"Gronk was going up to possibly get that ball," Brady said. "But it ended up working out well for us."
Unlike anything that happened to the Vikings in the last half of that quarter.
• The Star Tribune reporter did not travel for this game. This article was written using the television broadcast and video interviews after the game.