MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings completed the greatest comeback in NFL history, defeating the Indianapolis Colts 39-36 on Greg Joseph’s 40-yard field goal with 3 seconds left in overtime on Saturday to clinch the NFC lead by 33 points. Eliminated the deficiency. North splits in his typical theatrical fashion.
Kirk Cousins passed for 460 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Vikings (11–3) to a 36–7 lead in the third quarter and became just the third team in league history to score eight points or more in a season. Won 10 games in less. ,
The Colts (4-9-1) stumbled on the infamous side of the list, right ahead of the Houston Oilers in the 1992 postseason when they blew a 32-point lead (35-3) and lost to Buffalo (41-38). in overtime. According to SportRadar data, it was only the second loss in 1,551 regular-season or playoff games in the league since 1930 in which a team had a 30-plus-point lead and lost.
The Vikings took this rally on their second possession of OT after punting on their first one. Cousins hit KJ Osborne – who had a touchdown and a career-high 157 yards – on 15-yard passes, Adam Thielen on 21-yard passes and Justin Jefferson on 13-yard passes to move into range.
Ifedi Odenigbo was called late in the game for lying on Jefferson trying to set up the Vikings for the kick, finding Joseph 5 yards out for the winner.
Colts interim coach Jeff Saturday didn’t exactly get conservative this fall. Matt Ryan was sacked on a fourth-and-1 sneak at the Minnesota 36 with 2:19 left in regulation. Then Cousins hit Dalvin Cook for a 64-yard touchdown on a screen pass on the next play and TJ Hockenson for a 2-point conversion to tie the game before the 2-minute warning.
Outscored 33–0 in the fourth quarter of their most recent game, a 54–19 loss to Dallas on December 4, the Colts came back fresh from their bye week and stunned the Vikings with a 33–0 halftime lead. That was the second-biggest in the NFL this season. Cincinnati routed Carolina 35–0 on November 6.
The halftime deficit for Minnesota was the second largest in franchise history, behind a 45–10 score in Seattle in 2002.
The Colts are now outscored after halftime 72–9 in their last two games. Their six-game winning streak was halted against the Vikings. The last time Minnesota beat Indianapolis was in 1997, the last game the Colts played before Peyton Manning was drafted.
The Vikings and their fans were furious after the multiple offensive calls. With 3:23 left, Chandan Sullivan picked up a fumble by Deon Jackson and returned it for a 39-yard touchdown. The Vikings were awarded a recovery, but the play was ruled dead.
Sullivan was called for unsportsmanlike conduct following his vehement attack on the officials. The nickel cornerback thought he scored on a bad return in the second quarter as well, when he knocked the ball out of Michael Pittman’s arms after a short catch. That play was declared dead for further progress.
The special teams units bore the brunt of the brutal start for the Vikings. Dellis Flowers returned the opening kickoff 49 yards, and the Colts were in scoring position within seconds.
Odenigbo slid past two blockers and sidestepped Ryan Wright’s punt with his right hand. JoJo Doman caught the deflected ball and returned it 24 yards for a very easy score and a 10–0 lead.
Then with the Vikings trailing 20–0, coach Kevin O’Connell ordered a fake punt on fourth and 1 from his own 31. Wright’s pass went over Jalen Naylor’s head for a touchdown straight down the turnover.
Jefferson left the game twice for brief exams after being hit in the chest. Stephen Gilmore’s second pass also cost him a facemask and led to an unnecessary roughness penalty. Both times, Cousins threw to Jalen Rigore on the next play after Jefferson left the game and was stopped after an apparent miscommunication on the routes.
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 record of 1,964 yards was set in 2012 in 16 games.
Colts: RB Jonathan Taylor (ankle) was hurt on a 13-yard reception that ended with a hard tackle as he fell out of bounds, his first touchdown. He missed three matches earlier this season due to injury.
VIKINGS: LT Christian Darishaw returned to lead after a three-game absence but limped twice in overtime with leg cramps. CB Patrick Peterson left with the same problem.
Colts: Host the Los Angeles Chargers on December 26, their second Monday night game in five weeks.
Vikings: Host the New York Giants on December 24, the first time they will play on consecutive Saturdays since the 1997 season.
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