Vikings vs. Patriots Score, Takeaways: Justin Jefferson shines on Thanksgiving as Minnesota goes 9-2

The Vikings moved to 9-2 on the season after beating the Patriots 33-26 in the final game of the NFL’s Thanksgiving triple-header.

After being held to field goals in Week 11, these two offenses wasted no time getting into the end zone to start this game. Minnesota needed just eight plays to travel 80 yards. Later, New England tied the score with a score of its own when Mack Jones connected with Nelson Agholar for a 34-yard touchdown. From there, the offenses continued to match each other throughout the first half, tied at 16 at halftime.

New England ended the half with a 75-yard touchdown drive to make it 7. It didn’t take long for Minnesota to bring the game back, though, when Ken Nwangwu ran the kickoff 97-yards for a touchdown.

It was 26 early in the fourth quarter, and that’s when the Vikings started to pull away. A penalty to New England for running the kicker gave Minnesota new life on a third-and-4, and they cashed in. Two plays after the penalty, Cousins ​​completed a 36-yard pass to Justin Jefferson, then a 15-yard touchdown. Adam Thielen should lead the way.

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

For a detailed breakdown of this game, check out our takeaways below.

Why did the Vikings win?

Despite a story surrounding Kirk Cousins ​​in primetime games, the Vikings quarterback was fine Thursday. He had the poorly thrown interception, but outside of that he was stellar for Minnesota. He was able to match any Patriots scoring output and spread the ball to seven different pass-catchers. Justin Jefferson was his target, and the star wideout continued to carry the offense. On top of piling up the stats, Jefferson made several clutch catches, including a 36-yard reception that helped set up Thielen’s go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Even though the defense allowed a lot of chunk plays through the air, you have to give them credit for slowing down the Patriots offense to close out the game. After Minnesota took a 33-26 lead, the defense forced a 3-and-out, a turnover on the ensuing possession, then kept them out of the end zone until the clock expired in regulation.

Why the Patriots lost

New England’s struggles in the red zone continued 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 the chunk plays of Mack Jones, who was able to deliver as both of his passing scores were 30-plus yards. When they knocked on the door of the end zone, they couldn’t break through. In fact, the Patriots had two drives where they got the ball to at least the Vikings 6-yard line and failed to score touchdowns on either of them. Yes, there was a debatable Hunter Henry touchdown that was eventually called back, but the Patriots had too many plays inside the 10-yard line and couldn’t find a way through.

Of course, we can’t talk about this loss without bringing up the special teams division. It was a remarkably poor performance from that unit and their lack of play directly cost the Vikings 14 points. After taking the lead to open 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 for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, they ran into a kicker penalty that would have allowed the Vikings to score the game-winning touchdown.

turning point

It was a back-and-forth game throughout the night as the clubs held each other to tie the game at various points. Early in the fourth quarter, the score was tied at 26, and New England looked like it was going to force a three-and-out and have a chance to take the lead. However, rookie Bear Strong ran into Ryan Wright as he attempted to throw the ball away. A five-yard penalty was enough to give the Vikings a first down and revive the drive. Three plays later, Kirk Cousins ​​hit Adam Thielen for what proved to be the go-ahead touchdown.

Game of the game

Let’s give some props to Kene Nwangwu for taking this kickoff 97-yards to the house. After New England scored on a 37-yard Hunter Henry touchdown in the second half, it felt like the momentum was shifting in the Patriots’ direction. Once Nwangwu followed through, however, any positive juice the Patriots had was quickly erased.

It was Nwangwu’s third career kickoff return.

What’s next

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

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