MINNEAPOLIS -- Coach Mike Tice told the Minnesota Vikings not to blame kicker Doug Brien for their 45-39 overtime loss to Buffalo.
So Brien did it for him.
"Coach said not to point fingers," Brien said. "So I'll point my own."
Brien, who had made 227 of 230 extra points in his career before Sunday, missed two conversions and heard a chorus of boos from the 64,047 in attendance.
"I've never had to deal with something like this before," Brien said. "Who misses two in one game? High school kickers can make those."
This performance was the latest in a strange saga for Brien, signed by the Vikings in the offseason to replace the retired Gary Anderson.
Brien, an 80 percent field-goal kicker in his career, made only one of five field goals in the preseason. Tice brought in three other kickers to challenge Brien the Monday before the regular season began, but Brien held on to his job. He was perfect last Sunday against Chicago, making all three field goal attempts and both extra points.
But Sunday, after making two first-half field goals, Brien had a 44-yarder hit the left upright on the final play of the first half. Then came the two missed PATs, and a botched kickoff -- when Brien was supposed to squib it in the fourth quarter before Buffalo's tying drive. Instead, he kicked the ball deep into the return wedge.
After this setback, Brien said he was prepared to kick for his job again. Tice indicated a change might be made.
"If you were me, would you rethink the kicking situation?" Tice said.
MORE SPECIAL TEAMS: One highlight for the Vikings' special teams was a 61-yard punt return by D'Wayne Bates. It set up a 2-yard TD catch by Randy Moss that put Minnesota up 20-13 early in the third quarter.
But the momentum was immediately lost when Buffalo's Charlie Rogers ran the ensuing kickoff back 90 yards for a tying touchdown.
"That was a big momentum change in the game," said Bates. "We let them score 10 seconds after we did. When you make a big play, you can't turn around and give up one."
Bates, who also caught a touchdown pass, filled in for Nick Davis (hamstring).
EXTRA POINTS: Daunte Culpepper's three passing touchdowns gave him 51 for his career and made him the fastest in Vikings history to reach 50. Culpepper made it in 30 games, breaking Warren Moon's record of 31. ... TE Byron Chamberlain was inactive with a sprained knee. That created a bigger receiving role for TE Jim Kleinsasser, who had six catches for 56 yards despite a strained knee suffered in the first half. "Jimmy is running on about 1 1/2 legs," Tice said. In two games, Kleinsasser -- a fullback last year -- has 11 receptions for 114 yards. ... LB Patrick Chukwurah left in the third quarter with a concussion.
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