MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As the Minnesota Vikings huddled in their humble locker room in a huge hole at halftime, cornerback Patrick Peterson set the tone for a historic escape by promising his offensive teammates that the defense would do its part to hold off the Indianapolis Colts.
“You only need five touches,” Peterson told them. “It’s nothing.”
This rally was certainly something.
The Vikings completed the greatest comeback in NFL history, erasing a 33-point deficit to beat the Colts 39-36 on Greg Joseph’s 40-yard field goal with three seconds left in overtime on Saturday to win the NFC North division in typical dramatic fashion.
Click the video box on this page to watch the postgame 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 in the third quarter and became just the third team in league history to win 10 games by eight points or fewer in a season. .
“We’re going to grind it out until they tell us there’s no more balls to play,” coach Kevin O’Connell said.
The Colts (4-9-1) landed on the infamous side of this list, just ahead of the Houston Oilers in the 1992 postseason. They blew a 32-point lead (35-3) and lost in overtime to Buffalo (41-38).
“When you have a chance to shut people down, we’ve got to do a better job than we’ve done up until this point,” quarterback Matt Ryan said.
According to Sportradar data available since 1930, the Vikings have become only the second team in 1,551 regular-season or playoff games to trail by 30 or more points and still win.
CONTACT: Vikings postgame locker room interviews after historic rally against Indianapolis
“Nothing worries us. We showed that in Buffalo,” said Peterson, who rallied from a 17-point deficit on Nov. 13 in a 33-30 overtime victory over the Bills. “We showed it again today.”
The Vikings took this rally into their second overtime. Cousins hit KJ Osborne, who picked up the first score and had a game-high 157 yards, 15 yards. He found Adam Thielen, who had the second of his fourth-quarter touchdown passes, for a 21-yarder. He then threw to Justin Jefferson 13 yards to move into range.
Ifedi Odenigbo was called for a delay of game for laying on Jefferson to try to prevent the Vikings from setting up for a touchdown, giving Joseph 5 yards for the winner.
“It’s a special group, a lot of fighters,” Thielen said.
Colts interim coach Jeff Saturday wasn’t exactly conservative in this collapse. Ryan was stopped on fourth-and-1 at the Minnesota 36 with 2:19 left in regulation. Cousins then hit Dalvin Cook for a 64-yard touchdown on the next play on a screen pass and TJ Hockenson for a 2-point conversion to tie the game before the 2-minute warning.
“We would close the game and finish the game,” Saturday said. “I’m in. Everyone is in. We have not converted.”
With a 33-0 run in the fourth quarter of their last game, a 54-19 loss to Dallas on Dec. 4, the Colts came back fresh off their bye week and stunned the Vikings with a 33-0 run in the second. – the biggest in the NFL this season. On November 6, Cincinnati topped Carolina 35-0.
Minnesota’s halftime deficit was the second largest in franchise history, falling 45-10 in Seattle in 2002.
The Vikings even had Chandon Sullivan’s touchdowns wiped out by the whistle.
“I know there are other games that don’t end like that. “It was great to see everyone fight and I’m just happy to be able to share this moment with my teammates,” linebacker Eric Kendricks said, wiping away tears.
DO YOU PUSH IT?
The last team to overcome a 24-plus point deficit to win a regular season game was Washington over Tampa Bay in 2015 with Cousins at quarterback. The previous regular season comeback record was 28 points in 1980 in a 38-35 victory over San Francisco 35-7.
Special teams suffered the Vikings’ rough start. Dallis Flowers returned the opening kickoff 49 yards and the Colts were in scoring position within seconds.
Odenigbo got past two blockers and slid a Ryan Wright shot wide with his right hand. JoJo Doman caught the fumble and returned it 24 yards for a super easy score and a 10-0 lead.
Then, with the Vikings down 20-0 on fourth-and-1 from their own 31, Wright’s pass faked over Jalen Naylor’s head for a second straight conversion on downs.
Jefferson left the game twice for brief examinations after taking alarming blows to the chest. On the second touchdown, Stephon Gilmore also tackled him in the facemask and drew an unnecessary roughness penalty in the fourth quarter.
After leaving Jefferson on both occasions, Cousins threw to Jalen Reagore on the next play and was intercepted after an apparent miscommunication on the routes. The first was returned by Julian Blackmon 17 yards for a touchdown to make it 30-0 in the second quarter.
Jefferson had 12 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown to bring his season total to 1,623 receiving yards. Calvin Johnson’s all-time rushing record of 1,964 yards was set in 2012 in 16 games.
Colts. RB Jonathan Taylor (ankle) left the game after a tough tackle on the opening drive when he was thrown out of bounds. He missed three games earlier this season with an injury.
Vikings. Lt. Christian Darisau is back from a three-game absence with a concussion. He limped off twice in overtime with leg cramps. Peterson briefly left with the same problem.
Colts. Host the Los Angeles Chargers on December 26th.
Vikings. host the New York Giants on Dec. 24.
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