After struggling to move the ball during the first 55 minutes or so on Thursday against Dallas, Minnesota’s offense finally clicked when it needed to. Trailing by eight, the Vikings were led by Sam Bradford down the field and into the end zone. All Minnesota needed was a two-point conversion to tie the game.
That effort came up massively short, with Bradford airmailing the throw out of the end zone.
At first glance, that looked like a hilariously bad throw. And it may have been. But it was a hilariously bad throw that shouldn’t have counted.
There is no question Dallas defensive lineman Cedric Thornton hit Bradford in the face. Any blow to the head of a quarterback is a penalty. This should definitely have been flagged.
Thornton’s left hand and arm hit Bradford on the shoulder pad. But his right hand hits Bradford cleanly in the head and scrapes down his facemask.
Bradford immediately argued for a call, but the referee shook him off and seemed to imply Bradford was hit only in the shoulder, a legal hit. The problem was that the referee, from his angle, couldn’t see Thornton’s right arm.
After the game, Bradford told reporters that the ref didn’t think the hit was a penalty.
"He told me that I did not get hit in the facemask,” Bradford said.
The Vikings would have been set up with another chance at the two-point conversion, one closer to the goal line. There is still no guarantee the Vikings would have scored, but there’s no question the Cowboys caught a break on the game-clinching play.