Final

Vikings 23

(8-7, 3-5 away)

Ravens 30

(6-9, 6-2 home)

8:30 PM ET, December 25, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 7 7 6 323
BAL 7 3 7 1330

Top Performers

Passing: K. Boller (BAL) - 289 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: J. Lewis (BAL) - 24 CAR, 74 YDS

Receiving: D. Mason (BAL) - 9 REC, 103 YDS, 1 TD

Boller, Ravens knock Vikings out of NFC playoff race

BALTIMORE (AP) -- All season long, the Minnesota Vikings relied on their defense to win.

It was over when ...
Matt Stover's 19-yard field goal gave Baltimore a 30-20 lead with just over a minute to play.
Game ball goes to ...
Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller. In his second straight quality performance, Boller was 24-of-34 for 289 yards and 3 TDs against only 1 INT. He threw passes to six different receivers, including nine balls to Derrick Mason for 103 yards and a touchdown.

The unit collapsed Sunday night, and so did Minnesota's flickering playoff hopes.

Kyle Boller went 24-for-34 for 289 yards and three touchdowns, and the Baltimore Ravens eliminated the Vikings from the postseason hunt with a 30-23 victory.

Needing a win to stay alive, the Vikings (8-7) came up with their worst defensive performance in two months. Minnesota, which hadn't given up more than 23 points since Oct. 30, allowed the Ravens to go 10-for-15 on third down.

"We didn't play well at all. Our offense gave us enough points to come out with a win," cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "What hurt was third down. They kept drives going. We can't do that."

The loss gave the New York Giants (10-5) a playoff berth.

"The two biggest things in the game are not staying on the field on third down, and not getting off the field on third down," Minnesota coach Mike Tice said. "Defensively, the coaches tried a lot of different things."

None of them worked.

"We're sick to our stomachs for not getting this win," tight end Jim Kleinsasser said.

Baltimore (6-9) was long ago eliminated from playoff contention, but the Ravens came up with a solid performance anyway.

"We tried to frame it as a playoff-caliber game because it was for them, and therefore it was for us," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "The whole team -- and Kyle -- stepped up to the challenge."

Baltimore trailed 20-17 before Boller threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Mason with 14:47 left. Then, after Minnesota punted from the Ravens 38, Boller directed a 68-yard drive that produced a 38-yard field goal by Matt Stover with 1:55 to go.

Any chance the Vikings had of winning their fourth straight road game vanished when Brad Johnson fumbled on a sack by Adalius Thomas. Baltimore turned it into a field goal with 1:03 remaining, and the Ravens followed Paul Edinger's 46-yard field goal by recovering the ensuing onside kick.

Boller backed up a breakthrough three-touchdown effort Monday night against Green Bay. The third-year quarterback still hasn't assured himself the starting job in 2006, but he has at least provided the Ravens a reason to consider the possibility.

"I haven't made bad decisions the past two games. That's given us a chance to win," Boller said.

Mason had nine catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. He has 83 receptions this season, breaking the team record of 76 by Michael Jackson in 1996.

"It feels good," Mason said. "This is what we envisioned happening at the beginning of the season."

Johnson was 25-for-36 for 248 yards and two scores.

The announced crowd was 70,246, but several thousand fans decided to spend Christmas night at home rather than watch the Ravens conclude their home schedule.

Baltimore's Chester Taylor fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half and Minnesota's Raonall Smith recovered the loose ball, setting up a 26-yard field goal by Edinger for a 17-10 lead.

For the third time, the Ravens answered a Vikings score with one of their own. On a third-and-7 from the Minnesota 47, Boller hit Mark Clayton with a pass over the middle, and the rookie ran the final 20 yards to tie it.

On the ensuing drive, the Vikings moved 18 yards after a holding call on a third-down play by Baltimore's Chris McAlister, and Edinger kicked a 40-yard field goal that put Minnesota back in front.

The Ravens responded again, this time with a 79-yard drive that gave them their first lead. After Darren Sharper was called for roughing the passer on a third-and-9 incompletion, Mason got behind Dovonte Edwards for the score that made it 24-20.

"You have to answer, especially against a team that's going for the playoffs," Boller said.

Minnesota scored touchdowns on its first and last possessions of the first half to take a 14-10 lead. The Vikings were 6-0 this season when leading at halftime.

Game notes


Baltimore finished 6-2 at home. ... Heap's seven touchdown catches are a career high. ... Smith recorded his first career sack and recovered a fumble for the second time in as many games. ... Boller improved to 13-4 in home starts.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
Minnesota
Baltimore
1st Downs1823
3rd down efficiency
3-910-15
4th down efficiency
0-01-1
Total Yards262367
Yards per play4.95.4
Total Drives12
Passing220279
Comp-Att
25-3624-34
Yards per pass
6.18.2
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-282-10
Rushing4288
Rushing Attempts
1432
Yards per rush
3.02.8
Penalties6-507-35
Turnovers12
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
01
Possession26:5433:06

Passing Leaders

MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Johnson25/362486.9203-28
BALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Boller24/342898.5312-10

Rushing Leaders

MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Moore10494.9022
Bennett1-1-1.000
BALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Lewis24743.1019
Taylor5153.006

Receiving Leaders

MINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Williamson15656.0056
Wiggins7436.1111
BALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Mason910311.4139
Clayton59018.0147

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMINBAL
TD3:59Travis Taylor 13 Yd Pass From Brad Johnson (Paul Edinger Kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 64 yds, 3:59
70
TD13:25Todd Heap 6 Yd Pass From Kyle Boller (Matt Stover Kick)
Drive: 17 plays, 73 yds, 9:26
77
SECOND QUARTERMINBAL
TD13:54Jermaine Wiggins 5 Yd Pass From Brad Johnson (Paul Edinger Kick)
Drive: 10 plays, 80 yds, 5:57
147
FG15:00Matt Stover 37 Yd
Drive: 9 plays, 56 yds, 1:06
1410
THIRD QUARTERMINBAL
FG1:31Paul Edinger 36 Yd
Drive: 4 plays, 8 yds, 1:23
1710
TD5:11Mark Clayton 47 Yd Pass From Kyle Boller (Matt Stover Kick)
Drive: 6 plays, 75 yds, 3:40
1717
FG10:46Paul Edinger 40 Yd
Drive: 11 plays, 33 yds, 5:35
2017
FOURTH QUARTERMINBAL
TD0:13Derrick Mason 39 Yd Pass From Kyle Boller (Matt Stover Kick)
Drive: 11 plays, 79 yds, 4:27
2024
FG13:05Matt Stover 38 Yd
Drive: 11 plays, 68 yds, 6:12
2027
FG13:57Matt Stover 19 Yd
Drive: 4 plays, 9 yds, :28
2030
FG14:45Paul Edinger 46 Yd
Drive: 7 plays, 32 yds, :48
2330