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The most unlikely division crown in NFL history on Saturday afternoon for the host Minnesota Vikings as they trailed 33-0 at halftime, the largest home halftime deficit in franchise history; . The Colts fell to 4-9-1 after Minnesota’s historic 39-36 comeback victory in overtime. Thanks to their 33-point comeback, the most in a single game in NFL history, Minnesota locked up its first NFC North division title since 2017, as well as its first playoff appearance since 2019.

The game went from an unmitigated disaster to an unprecedented comeback as the Vikings used a 39-3 run in the second half and overtime to overcome the Buffalo Bills’ 32-point rally over the Houston Oilers in 1992. Buffalo won 41-38 in overtime after falling behind 32-3. Entering Saturday, teams trailing by 30 or more points at the half were 0-132 in the Super Bowl era dating back to 1966, including playoff games. Make that 1-132 following the latest Minnesota Miracle, which ended with kicker Greg Joseph’s 40-yard overtime field goal. The Vikings are now the first team in NFL history to go 10-0 in one-possession games through the first 14 games of the season.

Minnesota’s first seven drives were a textbook way to quickly put the game out of reach, as it ended with a blocked punt returned for an Indianapolis touchdown, running back Dalvin Cook, back-to-back turnovers on downs, a fumble, a Cousins ​​pick. -six and one more point. The Vikings roared back on the strength of Cousins, who threw four second-half touchdowns to KJ Osborne, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook, along with a one-yard plunge by fullback CJ Hamm at the goal line. Cook’s touchdown brought down the house in Minnesota on a 64-yard screen pass for the game-tying score after the two-point conversion.

Cousins’ 460 passing yards set a new career high and now ranks second in Vikings history behind only Tommy Kramer’s 490 in 1986 at Washington. his ninth game of 100-plus yards this season, the most in a single season in team history. The third-year wide receiver now has 1,610 through 14 games played and is on pace for 1,971 this season. That mark would surpass Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson’s single-season rushing record of 1,964, which was set in 2012.

It was a gut-wrenching Saturday for the Colts, and quarterback Matt Ryan in particular. Week 15 marked the first time this season the Colts were outscored by double figures, and they scored more points in the first quarter (17) than their 31st-ranked scoring offense averaged (16.1 points per game). : Most of the touchdowns came via the Colts’ defense and special teams, thanks to a 24-yard blocked punt for the game’s first touchdown and safety Julian Blackmon’s 17-yard interception return.

Ryan scored the other score on a one-yard touchdown pass to running back Deon Jackson. The Indianapolis offense played phenomenal field position throughout the first half between a deep kickoff return and two Vikings turnovers at the 31 in the first half. Ryan is now on the cusp of the greatest comeback in NFL history and the greatest comeback loss in Super Bowl history; The Atlanta Falcons’ 28-3 demolition of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. The best game of Colts kicker Chase McLaughlin’s career was lost as his five field goals, four of them in the first half, tied a new career high and tied the Colts franchise single-game record.

Why did the Vikings win?

The Vikings played extra football in the second half and overtime after Cousins’ arm power came alive, with the defense forcing six punts, a fumble and a fumble after halftime. The greatest comeback in NFL history also comes with some success, and the Vikings got it when the Colts gave up a fumble when Bernhard Reimann committed a botched kickoff penalty on fourth-and-one with Indianapolis poised to make it from its own 34 with 1:22 left in regulation. . A penalty forced the Colts to punt and the game went into overtime.

On the final possession of overtime, the Vikings would not be denied as Cousins ​​completed touchdown passes of 15 yards, 21 yards and 13 yards. A 13-yard strike to Jefferson set up the Vikings for Joseph’s game-winner. Joseph was then awarded an extra five yards after the Colts committed a delay of game penalty, leaning on Jefferson in an attempt to run out the clock before the Vikings punted. Overall, the Vikings learned they have another level of resilience that no team in NFL history has shown before thanks to a 33-point comeback.

Why did the Colts lose?

Interim head coach Jeff Saturday may regret some of his field goal decisions when his team played in the first half. He picked for field goals on fourth-and-4 from the Minnesota eight, fourth-and-4 from the Minnesota 10 and fourth-and-3 from the Minnesota nine. While a 33-0 lead, the largest in NFL history, doesn’t seem possible, those three field goal decisions may have been some of the biggest culprits in the loss.

Indianapolis entered Week 15 with the second-worst scoring offense in the league, so it’s rare to have three possessions in the Vikings’ 10. Converting just one of those field goals into touchdowns wins the game for the Colts. Yes, their defense also bears much of the blame for allowing 36 points in the second half, but the offense clearly had to maximize their chances.

Reversible

The Vikings stuff Matt Ryan’s quarterback sneaks on fourth-and-1 at the Minnesota 36. If Ryan had a first down, the Colts could have run out the clock when the Vikings were out of timeouts. Instead, Minnesota got the ball back at the eight with 2:28 left in the period.

Game play

After that defensive stop on Ryan’s quarterback sneak, the play of the game came when Dalvin Cook took a 64-yard screen to the house to tie the game while waiting for the two-point conversion. That play will be remembered as the most electric play of the game. Cook ran like a man possessed, dodging and weaving his way through helpless Colts defenders en route to a touchdown that drew an ear-splitting roar from the home crowd. This is one Vikings fans will look back on for generations because people will remember where they were when the play happened.

What’s next?

Next up, the Vikings host an NFC wildcard at Brian Daboll’s New York Giants. The Colts return home to host Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 16 on Monday Night Football.



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