Panthers 13

(0-2, 0-1 away)

Vikings 16

(2-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, September 17, 2006


1 2 3 4 OT T
CAR 0 10 3 0 013
MIN 3 3 0 7 316

Top Performers

Passing: B. Johnson (MIN) - 243 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: C. Taylor (MIN) - 24 CAR, 113 YDS

Receiving: K. Johnson (CAR) - 5 REC, 106 YDS

Vikings' Longwell throws TD pass, kicks winning FG

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Ryan Longwell caught the pitch, rolled right, let the ball go and connected with Vikings tight end Richard Owens for the game-tying score.

It was over when ...
Ryan Longwell kicked a field goal in overtime, helping the Vikings improve their record to 2-0 with another workmanlike victory.
Game ball goes to ...
Minnesota's new kicker, Longwell, who made three field goals. Oh, he also threw a 16-yard touchdown pass with 7:56 left in regulation, making the score 13-13 and setting himself up for the winning kick in overtime.
Scouts Inc.'s take ...
The Panthers' defensive front, led by Julius Peppers, was outstanding and nearly won this game by itself. Unfortunately for Peppers and company, Chris Gamble gambled away the Panthers' seven-point lead late in the game by tossing the ball across the field on a punt return, causing a fumble and setting up the Vikings with great field position. Carolina's defense held again, only to be tricked on a fake field goal when Longwell threw a scoring pass to tight end Richard Owens to tie it.

Minnesota's defense also played great. The only letdown was a 12-play, 85-yard touchdown drive late in the first half. That score looked like it would be the difference until Gamble's boneheaded play in the fourth quarter. After being beat up all day, QB Brad Johnson's leadership and toughness showed in overtime as he led the Vikings with real determination, going 78 yards on 10 plays to Carolina's 1-yard line to set up Longwell's winning field goal.

With Longwell's three field goals and a clutch touchdown pass on a fake -- plus a defense that forced nine punts -- the Vikings showed again that they don't need a flashy, high-flying offense to win.

Longwell's 16-yard toss to Owens, his first career touchdown pass, tied the score in the fourth quarter. Then, his 19-yard kick with 7:25 left in overtime Sunday gave the Vikings a 16-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

"Ten years in, I finally got one," said Longwell, grinning broadly and gladly answering dozens of questions in the locker room. He also made field goals from 22 and 26 yards.

That special-teams trick by Minnesota (2-0) trumped the one used by Carolina (0-2), which had a 13-6 lead with 10 minutes left in regulation before coach John Fox called for a throwback pass by returner Chris Gamble that ended poorly for the struggling Panthers.

The Vikings were stuck, under constant pressure by Julius Peppers and starving for a big break. Gamble caught the punt, ran left and was swarmed, but stayed with the plan and threw a ball that bounced like a grounder, with Richard Marshall playing the part of shortstop. Will Hunter forced Marshall to fumble.

"We have an option to abort, but I'm not going to put that on him," Fox said. "That's my decision to take that risk."

Added Gamble: "I should've kept the ball."

Jason Glenn recovered for Minnesota at the 21-yard line, giving the Vikings their chance to show off their sneakiness four plays later.

The Panthers, a popular Super Bowl pick, were clearly frustrated. They're struggling in several areas, including staying healthy -- with All-Pro Steve Smith, who totaled 201 yards receiving against Minnesota last season, absent again because of a strained right hamstring.

Elias Says
Ryan Longwell
What a day for Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell, who became the first player since George Blanda to throw a game-tying touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and then kick a game-winning field goal. Blanda did it twice: for the Oilers in 1962 and the Raiders in 1970.

• For more Elias Says, click here

Peppers did his part with three of his team's five sacks, plus a blocked 51-yard field goal. Keyshawn Johnson had five receptions for 106 yards, but Carolina has only 19 points through two games.

"It's disappointing, but nobody feels sorry for us," quarterback Jake Delhomme said. "You have to go back to work and try to get better."

A season-ending knee injury to left tackle Travelle Wharton and a groin problem that kept center Justin Hartwig out caused a major shuffle on the offensive line, and the Panthers offense was out of sync again.

Delhomme has clearly missed Smith. Carolina converted only three of 14 third downs, and if the ball wasn't dropped, it was thrown off-target by Delhomme when a completion was badly needed.

"It's going to hurt even more watching tomorrow, but you have to stick together and keep fighting," said Delhomme, who went 17-for-33 for 181 yards and no turnovers.

Carolina finally put something together late in the half, an 85-yard march fueled by two Minnesota penalties and a difficult 40-yard catch and run by Johnson. Rookie DeAngelo Williams, who rushed 13 times for 74 yards, surged in from the 3 for his first NFL score and the first touchdown by the Panthers this year that gave them a 10-6 halftime lead.

The Vikings were unable to protect quarterback Brad Johnson in the second half or find any effective plays against a reputable Carolina defense missing linebacker Dan Morgan (concussion) and stinging from the 252 yards rushing given up last week in a 20-6 loss to Atlanta.

But Johnson threw a falling-down, 30-yard pass to Troy Williamson, who caught it one-handed, and Chester Taylor ripped off a 33-yard run on the final drive.

Taylor carried 24 times for 113 yards, and Williamson had six catches for 102 yards, all after halftime. Johnson went 19-for-31 for 243 yards and one interception, Minnesota's first turnover this year.

The offense installed by coach Brad Childress is low risk, and the Vikings don't have the standouts they once did. Style points don't count, though, and a team that Childress has been busy toughening up has accepted his leadership and shown a knack in the first two games for playing close and winning ugly.

"If the man wants to go for it on fourth down, if the man wants to practice in the rain," Johnson said, "that's what we're going to do. We're going to follow him."

Game notes

Vikings defensive end Erasmus James hurt his left knee in the fourth and will have an MRI test Monday. Wearing a brace, James said he believed it was a mild sprain but that he felt all right. ... Panthers cornerback Ken Lucas left the game in the fourth quarter with a neck strain.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1417
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6270
Total Yards271365
Yards per play4.45.2
Total Drives1313
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-31-4
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

minFG8:35Ryan Longwell 18 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 63 yds, 6:32
carFG12:21John Kasay 17 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 62 yds, 3:04
minFG5:29Ryan Longwell 14 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 49 yds, 3:53
carTD0:25DeAngelo Williams, 3 yd run
Drive info: 12 plays, 85 yds, 5:08
carTD7:13Richard Marshall 5 yd blocked field goal for a touchdown
Drive info: 10 plays, 39 yds, 5:49
carFG2:54John Kasay 18 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 52 yds, 4:09
minTD7:56Richard Owens, 16 yd pass from Ryan Longwell
Drive info: 4 plays, 21 yds, 2:02
minFG7:28Ryan Longwell 11 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 78 yds, 5:40