Vikings vs. Patriots score, takeaway: Justin Jefferson shines thanks as Minnesota improves to 9-2

Vikings vs.  Patriots score, takeaway: Justin Jefferson shines thanks as Minnesota improves to 9-2

Vikings vs. Patriots score, takeaway: Justin Jefferson shines thanks as Minnesota improves to 9-2

The Vikings moved to 9-2 on the season in the final game of the NFL Thanksgiving tripleheader by the Patriots, 33-26.

After being held to the top of the field in Week 11, these two offenses wasted no time in the end zone to start this game. Minnesota needed just eight plays to drive 80 yards for a touchdown on its opening drive of the night. New England then matched that score with one of their own when Mac Jones connected with Nelson Agholor for a 34-yard touchdown. From there, these offenses continued to match each other throughout the first half and were tied at 16 at halftime.

New England opened the final half with a 75-yard touchdown drive to lead by seven. It didn’t take long for Minnesota to get the game back, though, with Kene Nwangwu returning a punt 97 yards for a touchdown.

It was 26 at the start of the fourth quarter, and that’s when the Vikings started to pull away. A New England penalty kicking the kicker gave Minnesota new life on a third-and-4 and they were charged. Two plays after the penalty, Cousins ​​completed a 36-yard pass to Justin Jefferson and then a 15-yard touchdown. Adam Thielen to take the lead and hold it.

Kirk Cousins ​​finished 30-for-37 for 299 yards with three TDs and an interception. Justin Jefferson was his primary target and the star wideout had 9 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown, Breaking the record held by Randy Moss in the process Meanwhile, Mac Jones was 28-for-39 for a season-high 382 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions.

For more details on this game, check out our sections below.

Why the Vikings won

While the narrative surrounding Kirk Cousins ​​has been in primetime games, the Vikings quarterback was very good on Thursday. He had a poorly thrown interception, but other than that he was the star for Minnesota. He was able to match any score the Patriots put up and spread the ball out to seven different pass catchers. That said, Justin Jefferson was his target and the star wideout continues to lead the offense. In addition to piling up the stats, Jefferson was making some clutch catches, including a 36-yard reception that helped set up Thielen’s touchdown in the fourth quarter.

While the defense allowed some chunks of play through the air, you also have to give them credit for holding the Patriots offense to close out the game. After Minnesota took a 33-26 lead, the defense forced a three-and-out, a fumble on the ensuing possession and then kept the clock out of the end zone until the end of regulation.

Why the patriots lost

New England’s struggles continued in the red zone on Thursday. Coming into this game, the Patriots ranked 31st in red zone touchdown rate and went 0-3 in the red zone against the Vikings. In fact, the offense relied on one piece of play from Mac Jones, as both of his scoring passes went over 30 yards. When they were knocking on the final door, however, they couldn’t break through. In fact, the Patriots had two drives where the ball reached at least the Vikings 6-yard line and failed to score a touchdown on either of them. Yes, Hunter Henry’s controversial fumble ended up being called back, but the Patriots had multiple plays inside the 10-yard line and couldn’t find a way to go forward.

Of course, you can’t talk about this loss without bringing up the special teams unit. It was a very poor showing from that unit and the poor enough play resulted in 14 straight points for the Vikings. After leading the second half with a 75-yard touchdown drive, the Patriots’ special teams unit immediately allowed Minnesota to tie the game again, allowing a 97-yard kickoff return. In the fourth quarter, they also committed a kicking penalty, allowing the Vikings to score the game-winning touchdown.

Turning point

It was back and forth all night as these clubs were catching each other at various points to even the game. At the start of the fourth quarter, the score was tied at 26 and it looked like New England would get the ball back with a chance to force a three and take the lead. However, rookie Pierre Strong ran into punter Ryan Wright trying to throw the ball away, which drew a flag. The five-yard penalty was enough to give the Vikings a first down and keep the drive alive. Three plays later, Kirk Cousins ​​hit Adam Thielen for what proved to be a touchdown.

the game

Let’s give some props to Kene Nwangwu for taking this kick 97 yards to the house. After New England’s 37-yard Hunter Henry field goal to end the second half, it felt like the momentum was shifting in the Patriots’ direction. Once Nwangwu stepped back, however, any positive juice the Patriots had gained quickly dissipated.

This was Nwangwu’s third career touchdown.

What’s next

From here, the Patriots will head back to Foxborough and prepare for another Thursday night game as they host the Buffalo Bills for their first meeting of the season. As for the Vikings, they will hang around US Bank Stadium and prepare for the New York Jets.

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