In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
On a rainy night at Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers stun the Minnesota Vikings 26-20 in overtime. The game is decided when Brett Favre throws a third-down pass to Antonio Freeman. Robert Griffith nearly intercepts the pass as Freeman stumbles. On the ground, the ball hits off Freeman’s back and ends up in his arms. As Griffith reacted to the missed interception, Antonio Freeman gets up with the ball scoring the game-winning touchdown as Al Michaels, in shock, yells, “He Did What?”.
It had been a tough season for the Green Bay Packers and first-year coach Mike Sherman. Coming off a disappointing 8-8 season that saw Ray Rhodes fired after one season, the Packers were slogging along at 3-5 as they hosted the Minnesota Vikings in a critical Monday Night matchup.
Coached by Dennis Green, the Minnesota Vikings were on their way to a second division championship in three years. Entering the game against the Packers, the Vikings had a record of 7-1, having lost their first game of the season, one week earlier against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After the Packers failed to move the ball on their first drive, the Vikings drove down the field with Gary Anderson hitting a 30-yard field goal to open the scoring. The Packers would answer with a long drive that carried over into the second quarter. Like the Vikings, the Packers had to settle for a 24-yard field goal to even the score.
On their second possession, the Vikings found the end zone, as Daunte Culpepper connected with Cris Carter on a 12-yard touchdown pass, the key play of the drive was a 22-yard gallop by Robert Smith. The Packers quickly answered back, as Ahman Green reeled in a five-yard touchdown reception from Brett Favre. The touchdown was aided by a 33-yard catch and run by Antonio Freeman earlier in the drive. Just before the end of the half, the Vikings again took the lead on a 48-yard field goal by Gary Anderson.
The Vikings had a chance to take control of the game, getting the ball to start the third quarter with a 13-10 lead. However, Mike McKenzie picked off a pass intended for Randy Moss and gave Green Bay an opening to take the lead. However, the Packers faltered in the red zone and settled for a 31-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell.
The Vikings responded to the turnover by taking their fourth led of the game as Robert Smith took a pass 45 yards for a touchdown. Allan Rossum took Mitch Berger’s kick back 90 yards before being stopped at the two-yard line on the ensuing kickoff. Two plays later, Ahman Green had a two-yard run to again tie the game 20-20. Neither team would score in the fourth quarter sending the game to overtime.
The Packers would get the ball first in overtime. They got the ball across midfield, as Bill Schroeder caught a 22-yard pass from Brett Favre. After two runs by Ahman Green, the Packers had the ball at the Minnesota 43, facing third and four. Look for a big play, Favre loaded up and aimed for Antonio Freeman at the Vikings 20; Robert Griffith knocked the ball away as Freeman ended up on the ground. Griffith reacted to the near interception as the ball hit off the back of Freeman and bounced up. This allowed the Green Bay receiver to turn and make the catch. Griffith was unaware that the ball never hit the ground was powerless to stop Antonio Freeman from getting up and running through the end zone for a game-winning Lambeau Leap.
Brett Favre finished the game completing 17 of 36 passes for 235 yards, with two touchdowns. Daunte Culpepper had similar stats passing for 276 yards but had three interceptions.
After their 26-20 win, the Packers continued the meander through the 2000 season, posting a record of 9-7 and missing the playoffs for the second straight season, despite ending the season with four straight wins, including a rematch with Minnesota at the Metrodome. The Vikings meanwhile finished 11-5 and won the Central Division. They would reach the NFC Championship Game, losing to the New York Giants.