Vikings vs. Bills score, takeaways: Justin Jefferson, Patrick Peterson help Minnesota prevail in wild OT game

Sunday’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills appeared to be won by each team in regulation by several points before the Vikings held on to a 33-30 victory in overtime in Week 10. Vikings corner Patrick Peterson, an eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time First-Team All-Pro, showed his pedigree in the clutch as the 32-year-old came in for his second interception in the quarterback’s end zone Bills’ Josh Allen to end the game in overtime after the Vikings threw a field goal on their opening extra driving time.

It was a historic comeback as Minnesota became the first team to beat Buffalo at Highmark Stadium as they led by at least 14 points at halftime as the Vikings trailed 24-10 at the break. The last time the Bills lost a home game with a 14 or more halftime lead was also in Week 10, but that happened in the 1968 season at War Memorial Stadium. .

Minnesota, improving to 8-1 with a seventh straight win, won its third game this season trailing by 10 or more points in the fourth quarter, tied for the third most such wins in a season. in the 21st century, and the Vikings have eight games left to play. They miraculously overcame double-digit fourth-quarter deficits on the road for consecutive weeks. They beat the Washington Commanders in Week 9 – winning 20-17 on a field goal with little time after leading 17-7 – and Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. However, unlike Week 9, the Minnesota rally was not enough to decide the game in regulation time.

Trailing 27-10 early in the fourth quarter, Minnesota snatched 20 straight points to take a 30-27 lead with 41 seconds left in regulation time. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook kicked off the rally with an 81-yard sprint down the left sideline that was the longest run of his career and the longest touchdown by a Vikings player since Adrian Peterson in in Week 15 of the 2012 season (82 yards) against the Rams. A huge play from an expected source, unlike the Vikings’ next touchdown – a five-yard run from fullback CJ Ham – which scored only the second rushing touchdown of his career and the first since his rookie year in 2017. The unremarkable score returned to have major implications for the outcome of this thriller: Vikings kicker Greg Joseph scored after a right-handed try, preventing Minnesota from a three-way tie as he then trailed 27-23 with 4:34 to play.

Minnesota’s defense stiffened to force a Bills punt, returning the ball to the Vikings’ offense at their own 24 with 3:23, trailing 27-23. That’s when the drama began. After, Bills linebacker Von Miller had his first sack of the game to put the Vikings in fourth-and-18 when the two-minute warning hit. However, wide receiver Justin Jefferson was intent on coming up with his hypothesis as to why Minnesota won the 2020 trade of Stefon Diggs and a seventh-round pick to the Bills in exchange for four draft picks, including the one became Jefferson 22nd overall in the ensuing NFL. Disorganized. The third-year swerve ended with 10 receptions, a career-high 193 receiving yards and a touchdown in Week 10, including the 32-yard gain that extended the game in fourth and 18 that making Odell Beckham Jr. catch against the Dallas Cowboys years ago feels like child’s play.

His performance on Sunday broke several NFL records as he totaled his 20th career game with 100 or more receiving yards as well as his seventh career game with 150 or more receiving yards. Both are the most such games in a player’s first three seasons in NFL history, and Jefferson has eight games left to play this season. His 193 receiving yards were the most of any Vikings since teammate Adam Thielen’s career-high 202 yards in Week 16 of the 2016 season in a 38-25 loss to the Green Bay Packers . Jefferson made sure his career day wasn’t going to be wasted as he caught two more passes on the way to bring Minnesota to Buffalo with a minute to play. He momentarily had his second receiving touchdown and what appeared to be the game winner before a replay review decided he was one yard short.

The Vikings appeared to have failed in their effort to secure a victory after quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​was broke at fourth-and-out with no win and a turnover on tries with 50 seconds left.

The very next game turned for the visitors in purple as Allen, back in his own end zone, fumbled a snap under center on an underhanded attempt that linebacker Eric Kendricks recovered for the touchdown, 30-27.

The Bills regained possession on their own 32 with 36 seconds left and no timeout of three, a scenario eerily similar to what Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs faced against these Bills in the Divisional Round of the AFC last year. Allen had his best impression of Mahomes’ back-to-the-wall performance, putting kicker Tyler Bass within range for a 29-yard tying field goal with five seconds left in just five plays. However, it was a controversial possession as Bills wide receiver Gabe Davis tipped what was ruled a 20-yard completion down the left sideline. Allen showed some veteran craftsmanship, snapping the ball quickly before any replay reviews could be initiated by the referees.

Heading into overtime, the Vikings won the toss and opted to receive with the potential to win the game on a touchdown, which would have left Allen and the Bills feeling the same way they did at the end. of the 2021 playoffs. Jefferson made it look like that was the direction Minnesota’s opening possession was heading as he got a ball from 24 yards deep to put the Vikings on both of the Bills. However, the Vikings fell back from there as Cook was stuffed on his first run for a loss of five, followed by Cousins ​​absorbing a 10-yard sack at second base. Minnesota settled for a 33-yard field goal, requiring one last save.

After Allen’s back-to-back rushes gained 38 combined yards, the quarterback hit Diggs for two straight seven-yard gains, and suddenly the Bills were in the red zone at the Vikings 20. The former Viking had matched his season high with 12 catches to go along with 128 receiving yards. Two plays later, the match was over as Peterson intercepted a scrambling Allen in the end zone for the second time.

In the end, it was a sloppy performance for both Cousins ​​(30 of 50 passes for 357 yards, one passing touchdown, two interceptions) and Allen (29 of 43 passes for 330 passing yards, one touchdown passing, two interceptions). The win takes the Vikings to 8-1 overall as their seventh straight win keeps them pace with the 8-0 Philadelphia Eagles, who play Monday night against the Washington Commanders. The Bills fall to 6-3 on aggregate and lose first place in the AFC East after back-to-back losses.

Here are some takeaways from the wild victory in OT.

Why the Vikings won

The Vikings are the NFL’s never-say-die team for the 2022 season. Three wins while trailing by double digits certify their mental toughness under first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell . However, it surely helps to have a player who can make just about any hold at any time, erasing a complete miss on downs one through three like Jefferson can. His 32-yard catch on fourth-and-18 was the first of many Minnesota save plays. Though the Vikings’ defense also deserves plenty of credit, limiting the NFL’s third-ranked offense to just three points in the fourth quarter and overtime, leaving room for Jefferson’s heroics.

Minnesota went 6 of 8 in one-possession games a season ago in Mike Zimmer’s final campaign as head coach, losing the most such games in the league. Now the Vikes are 7-0 when a game is decided by the same margin under O’Connell, tied for the most such wins in the NFL this season with the New York Giants. Those seven one-possession wins in the first nine games are tied for any team in nine games since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. New coaching staff, new season, new vibes.

Why the Bills lost

One of Josh Allen’s greatest strengths is his ability to pull explosive plays out of thin air with his arms and legs. However, that same big game hunt hurt the Bills at critical times in their loss. Allen threw his first interception after Cook scored 81 yards on fourth down when even an incompleteness would have been beneficial as the Vikings offense would have taken the field by its own seven. Peterson returned his first pick for 39 yards and the Vikings scored another touchdown to tie in four. The last lost the game. Freshman offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and Allen need to sit down to discuss a happy medium between hitting big plays and forcing the football into bad places. The Bills quarterback now leads the NFL with 10 interceptions, including six in the past three games.

Turning

After the Vikings missed fourth and the goal by four at the end of regulation, it appeared the Bills had won the game. Eric Kendricks’ rebound on Allen’s snap ball was a game-changer, putting the Vikings ahead for the first time from the open position as they trailed 7-0. That play turned the Vikings from surefire losers on Sunday into eventual winners.

Game of the game

The game of the game couldn’t have been anything other than Jefferson’s 32-yard catch. Yes, it’s only a Week 10 game, but the degree of difficulty and inescapable nature of the game make the one-handed one-grip tussle immediately among the best the NFL has ever seen. .

And after

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Vikings as they head home for a Week 11 showdown against the Dallas Cowboys, one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Bills stay at home to host the struggling Cleveland Browns 3-6 past Bills Mafia next week.

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