Minnesota Vikings fans need to close their eyes, take a deep breath and recover after the mix of emotions at US Bank Stadium Sunday afternoon.
They just witnessed the greatest comeback in NFL history.
Down 33-0 at halftime to the Indianapolis Colts, the Vikings outscored the Colts 36-3 in the second half, forcing overtime, where Greg Joseph kicked a 40-yard field goal as time expired to win it, 39-36.
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How about that to clinch the NFC North at 11-3?
The Vikings were down eight points when they stopped Colts quarterback Matt Ryan’s sneak on 4th-and-1 on the Minnesota 36-yard line to get the ball back with under three minutes to play.
The very next play, Kirk Cousins dumped a screen to Dalvin Cook, and he turned on the jets. Cook ran 65 yards, fighting off a few tackles at the goal line to get into the end zone for a score with the chance to tie it.
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And the Vikings did just that, capping their comeback with a TJ Hockenson two-point conversion, knotting the game at 36.
The Vikings got the ball first in overtime, but they couldn’t score a touchdown to end the game. Instead, they needed a stop with the Colts looking to salvage what looked to be their fifth win of the season.
But Ryan was blitzed heavily on 3rd-and-9, forcing a punt and giving the Vikings a chance to push downfield for the win.
Knowing a field goal was all that was needed, the Vikings got chunk plays, starting with KJ Osborn for 15 yards. Then, Cousins dotted one to Adam Thielen for 21 yards, followed by Justin Jefferson’s 13-yard gain to set up Joseph’s game-winner.
When the ball went through the uprights, the sold-out crowd roared in excitement and disbelief as the Vikings completed the greatest comeback — 33 points — in NFL history.
For Ryan, this one is likely to hurt more than his teammates. Not only is he the losing quarterback in the greatest comeback in history, but his Atlanta Falcons were also on the losing end of the worst defeat in Super Bowl history when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were down 28-3 and won in overtime.
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But how did we even get here? The Vikings hurt themselves throughout the first half, including a blocked punt for a touchdown, a lost fumble that resulted in a Colts touchdown and two turnover-on-downs drives that Indianapolis took advantage of.
This was a tale of two halves, clearly, and the Vikings started the second half with a touchdown to Osborn on their second drive. They scored two more after that, one to CJ Ham and the other to Jefferson to put the game within reach at 36-21.
An interception on their next drive seemed like a killer, but the Vikings never wavered. They forced the Colts into a three and out, getting the ball right back and capitalizing. This time, it was Adam Thielen finding the end zone to make it a one-score game.
The rest is NFL history.
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After throwing for 425 yards last week in a loss to the Detroit Lions, Cousins threw for 460 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 34 of 54 pass attempts. His leading receiver was Osborn with 157 yards on 10 catches, while Jefferson finished with 123 yards on 12 receptions.
On the ground, Cook had 95 yards on 17 carries.
Ryan finished with 182 yards and one touchdown on 19 of 33 passing, while Zack Moss was the leading rusher with 81 yards on the day. Jonathan Taylor, the Colts’ All-Pro running back, left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Michael Pittman Jr. had 10 catches for 60 yards.
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The Minnesota Miracle. The greatest comeback in NFL history. Crazy stuff happens in Minneapolis, and these Vikings fans are surely glad their team can cheer about it at the end of the day.