Black and Blue all over: Single option

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

After the novelty wore off from Minnesota’s spectacular game-winning touchdown Sunday, here’s the first question I had: Why was Greg Lewis the only receiver in the end zone on a play that started with 12 seconds and no timeouts remaining?

Vikings coaches have described the play as four vertical routes into the end zone. But if you watch the replay, you see that neither Sidney Rice, Bernard Berrian nor Visanthe Shiancoe made it to the end zone. That Brett Favre threw to Lewis wasn’t by chance; Lewis was the only opportunity for a score on what could have been the last play of the game.

What gives?

Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune explores that question. Rice, for one, said he cut his route off because one of the San Francisco cornerbacks guarding him had already retreated into the end zone. Rice thought it was better to “choke down” and keep the extra traffic of a second defender out of the end zone.

To me, this only adds to the legend of this play. Favre didn’t only throw to a player he barely knows. That player was his only chance to pull out the game.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • If there is a one-game baseball playoff at the Metrodome, it almost certainly will be on Tuesday, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It won’t conflict with Monday night’s showdown between Minnesota and Green Bay.

  • Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette writes that the Packers did the right thing in trading Favre and that Favre “is not a traitor.”

  • Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examines the possible impact of rookie linebacker Clay Matthews on Monday night’s game.

  • In this edition of Tuesdays with (Jason) Wilde on ESPN Milwaukee, Packers receiver Greg Jennings says his first job was as a painter when he was 14.

  • Chicago’s offense remains a work in progress, writes Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times.

  • Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler: “The standard thinking is Cutler is the second coming of Brett Favre and thus must be given room to use all his considerable talents. That means big risks, big rewards and lots of excitement, some of which the Bears could do without. But after the last two games, he looks more like the second coming of Tom Brady.”

  • About 15 Lions players celebrated Sunday’s victory over Washington by going bowling, writes Terry Foster of the Detroit News.

  • Sunday’s victory means the Lions can’t use the tenure of former team president Matt Millen as an excuse anymore, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.