Why no challenge?

December, 21, 2008
12/21/08
4:50
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

MINNEAPOLIS -- Still trying to figure out why Atlanta coach Mike Smith didn't challenge what was ruled a 21-yard touchdown reception by Minnesota tight end Visanthe Shiancoe here at the end of the first quarter.

Shiancoe caught a bootleg pass from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and rumbled toward the end zone. Falcons cornerback Domonique Foxworth clearly brought Shiancoe down before the ball crossed the plane of the end zone, but officials ruled it a touchdown to tie the game at 7.

Replays left no doubt that Shiancoe should have been ruled down at the 1-yard line, but Smith did not challenge the play. It's possible Smith didn't want to use a challenge when, even if he would have won, the Vikings would have had a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line.

I'd say the Vikings entered this game a little tight. Defensive tackle Kevin Williams was offsides twice on the Falcons' first drive. Chester Taylor bobbled his first kickoff return, giving the Vikings poor field position at the 10-yard line. And Bernard Berrian just muffed a punt, giving the Falcons possession on the 22-yard line.

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