As the Minnesota Vikings gathered in their modest locker room at halftime in a huge hole, full-back Patrick Peterson set the tone for a historic escape by promising teammates his offensive team that the defense will help keep the Indianapolis Colts at bay.
“You only need five touches of the ball,” Peterson told them. “Nothing.”
This rally is definitely something, though.
The Vikings completed the greatest comeback in NFL history, closing the 33-point lead by beating the Colts 39-36 on Greg Joseph’s 40-yard goal at three. seconds into Saturday’s extra time to claim the NFC North championship in their typical dramatic style.
Kirk Cousins raced for 460 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Vikings (11-3), who took a 36-7 lead at the end of the third half and became only the third team in league history to win 10 games. in a season with 8 or less points.
Coach Kevin O’Connell said: “We’re going to do our best until they tell us there’s no ball left to play.
The Colts (4-9-1) landed on the famous side of this list, just ahead of the Houston Oilers in the 1992 post-season. They led 32 points (35-3) and lost to Buffalo (41-) 38) in extra time.
“When you have the opportunity to get rid of people, we have to do better than what we’ve done up to this point,” said quarterback Matt Ryan.
According to Sportradar data, the Vikings became only the second team in 1,551 regular or knockout games since 1930 that a team led by 30 points or more and still won.
“Nothing confused us. We showed it in Buffalo,” said Peterson, who assisted the 33-30 extra-time win over the Bills on November 13 after a 17-point deficit. “We showed it today. once again.”
The Vikings made this rally to take possession of the second extra time. Cousins hit KJ Osborn – who scored first and had a career-high 157 yards – in 15 yards. He found Adam Thielen – whose touchdown pass was the second of three in the fourth half – in 21 yards. He then threw Justin Jefferson 13 yards to move into range.
Ifeadi Odenigbo was called off the game for lying on top of Jefferson to try to stop the Vikings from preparing for the free-kick, bringing Joseph closer to the winner by more than five yards.
“It was a special group, a lot of warriors,” Thielen said.
Colts interim coach Jeff Saturday isn’t exactly conservative in this downfall. Ryan was stopped in his fourth and first sneak attack at Minnesota 36 with 2:19 left in regulation. Cousins then hit Dalvin Cook with a 64-yard touchdown on an on-screen pass on the next inning and TJ Hockenson to convert to 2 points to end the game 2 minutes before the warning. .
“We’re going to close the game and end the game,” said Saturday. “I joined. Everyone joined. We didn’t convert.”
Down 33-0 in the fourth inning of their most recent game, losing to Dallas 54-19 on December 4, the Colts came back fresh from the bye week and stunned the Vikings with a 33-time lead. 0 in the second half. -the biggest in the NFL this season. Cincinnati led Carolina 35-0 on November 6.
Minnesota’s rate of time off deficit is the second-largest in franchise history, after 45-10 in Seattle in 2002.
The Vikings even overcame a pair of fumbling returns for Chandon Sullivan’s touches but were destroyed by the whistle.
“I know there are other games that don’t end like that. It’s great to see everyone fighting back and I’m delighted to be sharing this moment with my teammates,” said defender Eric Kendricks, wipe tears.
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The last team to overcome a 24-plus-plus deficit to win a regular-season game was Washington against Tampa Bay in 2015, when Cousins was quarterback. Last season’s comeback record was 28 points in 1980, when San Francisco recovered from 35-7 to win 38-35.
The units of the special team bore the brunt of the brutal beginnings for the Vikings. Dallis Flowers took the opening kick 49 yards, and the Colts were in position to score within seconds.
Odenigbo overcame two saves and used his right arm to beat Ryan Wright. JoJo Domann caught the ball deflected and returned it 24 yards away to score with ease and lead 10-0.
Then, with the Vikings taking a 20-0 lead at 4 and 1 against their own 31s, Wright’s pass on a fake pitch grazed Jalen Nailor’s head for a second revenue. two in a row after falling.
Jefferson left the game twice for a quick check-up after shrill blows to the chest. In his second appearance, Stephon Gilmore also made him wear his mask and pull out an unnecessarily rough penalty in the fourth half.
Both times after Jefferson left the game, Cousins threw to Jalen Reagor on the next turn and was stopped after a clear miscommunication on the routes. The first goal was returned by Julian Blackmon on touchdown 17 yards, making it 30-0 in the second half.
Jefferson had 12 catches from 123 yards and one touchdown, bringing his season total to 1,623 yards. Calvin Johnson’s all-time record of 1,964 yards was set in 16 games in 2012.
INJURY REPORT ONLY
Colts: RB Jonathan Taylor (ankle) left the game in the opening leg after a difficult tackle as he fell out of bounds. He missed three games through injury earlier this season.
Vikings: LT Christian Darrisaw is back after 3 games absent due to concussion. He limped twice in extra time because of leg cramps. Peterson left briefly with the same problem.
Colts: Host the Los Angeles Chargers on December 26.
Vikings: The New York Giants Foundation on December 24.