MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With the Minnesota Vikings huddled in their unassuming halftime locker room in a massive hole, cornerback Patrick Peterson set the tone for a historic getaway by promising his fellow offensive players that the defense would do its part in holding the Indianapolis Colts.
“You just need five touchdowns,” Peterson told them. “this is no thing.”
This gathering sure was something, though.
The Vikings completed the biggest comeback in NFL history, erasing a 33-point deficit by defeating the Colts 39-36 on Greg Joseph’s 40-yard field goal with three seconds remaining in overtime on Saturday to win the NFC North Division in their typical dramatic fashion.
Click the video box on this page to watch a post-game press conference with Kevin O’Connell and Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins passed for 460 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Vikings (11-3), who trailed 36-7 late in the third quarter and became just the third team in league history to win 10 games in a season by a margin of eight points or fewer. .
“We’re going to try it until they tell us there’s no more ball to play,” said coach Kevin O’Connell.
On the infamous side of this list, the Colts (4-9-1) landed ahead of the Houston Oilers in the 1992 postseason. They blew a 32-point lead (35-3) and lost to Buffalo (41-38) in overtime.
“When you have opportunities to shut people down, we have to do a better job than we’ve done up to this point,” said quarterback Matt Ryan.
According to Sportradar data available since 1930, the Vikings have become only the second team in 1,551 regular season or playoff games to fall behind by 30 points or more and still win.
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“Nothing to bother us. We showed it in Buffalo,” said Peterson, who assisted in a 33-30 overtime win over the Bills on November 13 after a 17-point deficit. “We showed it again today.”
The Vikings took that rally until they grabbed overtime for the second time. Cousins hit KJ Osborn—who caught first and had 157 yards—for 15 yards. He found Adam Thielen – who caught the second of three passes in the fourth quarter – for 21 yards. Then he threw to Justin Jefferson for 13 yards to go into range.
Ifeadi Odenigbo was called to delay the game for lying to Jefferson to try and prevent the Vikings from preparing to kick, putting Joseph 5 yards closer to the winner.
“It’s a special group, a lot of fighters,” said Thelin.
Interim Colts head coach Jeff Sabbath wasn’t entirely reticent about this meltdown. Ryan stopped a fourth-and-one sneak at the Minnesota 36 with 2:19 left in regulation. Cousins then hit Dalvin Cook for a 64-yard touchdown on a screen pass on the next play and TJ Hockenson for a two-point conversion to tie the game before the two-minute warning.
“We were going to close and finish the game,” he said on Saturday. “I’m in. Everyone’s in. We haven’t switched.”
The Colts bounced back 33-0 in the fourth quarter of their last game, a 54-19 loss to Dallas on December 4. The Colts came back fresh from their bye week and stunned the Vikings with a 33-0 halftime lead that was second. – The biggest in the NFL this season. Cincinnati leads Carolina 35-0 on November 6th.
Minnesota’s breakout deficit was the second largest in franchise history, behind a 45-10 run at Seattle in 2002.
The Vikings even beat a pair of fake rebounds for a touchdown by Chandon Sullivan that was knocked out by the whistle.
“I know there are other games that don’t end like this. It was great to see everyone fighting and I’m happy to be able to share this moment with my teammates,” said linebacker Eric Kendricks, wiping a tear.
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The last team to overcome a 24-plus-point deficit to win a regular season game was Washington over Tampa Bay in 2015, when Cousins was the quarterback. The previous record for regular season comebacks was 28 points set in 1980, when San Francisco rallied from a 35-7 slump to win 38-35.
Special teams units bore the brunt of the Vikings’ brutal start. Dallas Flowers returned the opening kickoff 49 yards, and the Colts were in scoring position within seconds.
Odenigbo got past two betting blockers and cleared Ryan Wright’s kick with his right arm. JoJo Domann caught the deflected ball and returned it 24 yards for a very easy score and a 10-0 lead.
Then with the Vikings trailing 20-0 on fourth and third from the 31st, Wright’s pass on a false kick sailed over the head of Jalen Naylor for a second consecutive touchdown run.
Jefferson twice left the game for a short check after blatant blows to his chest. On the second down, Stephon Gilmour also masked and drew an unnecessary roughness penalty in the fourth quarter.
Both times after Jefferson left the game, Cousins threw to Galen Regor on the next play and were intercepted after an apparent communication error on the roads. The first one was returned by Julian Blackmon for a 17-yard touchdown that made it 30-0 in the second quarter.
Jefferson caught 12 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown and brought his season total to 1,623 yards. Calvin Johnson set Calvin Johnson’s all-time record of 1,964 yards in 16 games in 2012.
Colts: Right back Jonathan Taylor (Ankle) left the game on kickoff after a hard tackle that fell out of bounds. He missed three games due to injury earlier this season.
Vikings: LT Christian Darrisaw has returned from a three-game layoff with a concussion. He went down twice in overtime with leg cramps. Peterson briefly left with the same problem.
Colts: Host Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 26.
Vikings: Host the New York Giants on December 24.
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