MINNEAPOLIS — In a recreation full of spotlight performs, the Minnesota Vikings held off the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving evening for a 33-26 victory.
Both groups scored early in every half, together with an exciting kickoff return landing by the Vikings in response to a Patriots rating to begin the second half.
The Vikings transfer to 9-2 on the season, whereas the Patriots slip to 6-5.
Fresh off one of many worst residence losses in crew historical past, the Viking did precisely what they needed to do Thursday evening: Move on from it.
Their victory over the Patriots made it loads simpler to abdomen a 37-point loss they absorbed 4 days earlier from the Dallas Cowboys, one which had referred to as into query whether or not they could possibly be thought-about one of many NFL’s high groups.
By beating the Patriots, the Vikings recorded their second win over a crew with a successful report of their previous three video games. If somebody advised you the Vikings would beat the Patriots and the Buffalo Bills in a three-week span, what would you say about them? An inexpensive argument could possibly be made that, sure, they’re among the many high 5 groups within the NFL.
Just as necessary, a Cowboys recreation that receiver Justin Jefferson referred to as “embarrassing” and “a disaster all around” could be higher seen as an aberration somewhat than a deep look into the Vikings’ future.
The Vikings will now have 10 days to arrange for his or her subsequent recreation, at residence in opposition to the New York Jets, as they shut in on an NFC North title and stay in competition for the NFC’s high seed.
Describe the sport in two phrases: Very shut. The Vikings took the lead three separate occasions on this recreation, misplaced it twice and, total, have been tied with the Patriots 5 completely different occasions. Games like that hardly ever occur within the NFL. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was solely the second time in seven seasons when the rating has been tied individually on at the very least 5 completely different occasions.
QB breakdown: Kirk Cousins threw a nasty interception within the first quarter, a throw off his again foot that sailed far previous receiver Ok.J. Osborn, however he averted every other massive errors throughout this prime-time recreation. He completed with 30 completions, probably the most in opposition to the Patriots this season, on 37 makes an attempt for 299 yards and two scores. Most importantly, he expertly drove the Vikings to their successful landing by throwing an ideal 36-yard go go to Jefferson earlier than he discovered Adam Thielen open for a 15-yard rating.
Pivotal play: Returner Kene Nwangwu introduced again a kickoff 97 yards for a landing within the third quarter, his first of the season after returning two for scores as a rookie final season. The return answered a Patriots landing on the earlier play and tied the rating at 23, an necessary emotional swing that allowed the Vikings to keep away from a possible avalanche. The Patriots have been one of many few groups to problem Nwangwu this season. He entered the sport with 19 returns all season, as most groups have been kicking deep for touchbacks, however he had 5 in opposition to the Patriots alone.
Next recreation: vs. Jets (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
New England Patriots
The Patriots’ pink zone struggles on offense got here again to hang-out them Thursday evening in opposition to the Minnesota Vikings.
They have been 0 for 3 contained in the 20-yard line in opposition to the NFL’s last-ranked pink zone protection. The Vikings have been 3 of 5.
Of course, there’s extra to it than simply that, however till the Patriots discover solutions to show these conditions into factors, it threatens their hopes to make a push for the postseason. Quarterback Mac Jones had talked about making an attempt to “flip the switch” within the pink zone, however that did not come to fruition in opposition to the Vikings.
A detailed name within the third quarter that was overturned on replay by referee Alex Kemp — when Jones initially appeared to attach with tight finish Hunter Henry for a landing — was a notable side to the crew’s lack of pink zone manufacturing.
Biggest gap within the recreation plan: It’s just like what occurs to most groups that play the Vikings — protecting receiver Justin Jefferson. He shredded the Patriots (9 catches, 139 yards, 1 TD) and confirmed why he is one of many NFL’s elite pass-catchers.
Describe the sport in two phrases: Playoff caliber. An amazing atmosphere at U.S. Bank Stadium and two groups that went toe-to-toe.
QB breakdown: Jones performed his finest recreation of the season — notably when attacking down the sector. He was 5 of 5 for 153 yards and two touchdowns on throws touring 15-plus yards. In his first seven video games this season, he had one complete landing on throws 15-plus yards.
Promising development: The short-handed offensive line — with left sort out Trent Brown, left guard Cole Strange, middle James Ferentz, proper guard Mike Onwenu and proper sort out Yodny Cajuste — offered Jones with the perfect go safety he is had all season. As a consequence, Jones regarded like a unique quarterback.
Under-the-radar stat that issues: The Patriots allowed 5 first downs by way of penalties, tied for his or her most in a recreation previously three seasons. It is their most since Week 11 of 2019 at Philadelphia (additionally 5).
Next recreation: vs. Bills (8:15 p.m. ET, Thursday)