Greg Joseph kicked a 40-yard field goal with two seconds left in overtime and the Minnesota Vikings pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history to beat the Indianapolis Colts 39-36 on Saturday.
The Vikings (11–3) also won the NFC North after coming back from a 33–0 halftime deficit.
The previous greatest comeback was by the Buffalo Bills, who overcame a 32-point deficit in the 1993 AFC Wild Card Round against the Houston Oilers.
The Vikings scored 22 points in the fourth quarter, courtesy of three touchdowns by Kirk Cousins, including one each from Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
After the Colts were stopped on fourth and 1 from the Minnesota 36, the Vikings used one play on a 64-yard screen pass from Cousins to Dalvin Cook and a two-point conversion to TJ Hockenson to make the score 36 with 2:15 left. Done to tie it. Left in regulation.
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Both teams punted on their opening possession of overtime, then Cousins completed passes to KJ Osborne, Thielen and Jefferson on the game-winning six-play, 60-yard drive. Cousins finished 34-54 for 460 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions and was sacked seven times.
The Vikings had two fumble returns for touchdowns erased by the officials’ whistle.
In the second quarter with the Colts up 23–0, Matt Ryan completed a pass intended for Michael Pittman, and when he fought for extra yardage, he was stripped by Chandan Sullivan, who returned it for a touchdown.
The officials said that Pittman was down and that his forward progress was stopped, even though Pittman tried to break Sullivan’s tackle.
In the fourth quarter, Sullivan was again part of the action as a Colts fumble was returned for a touchdown, but the play was deadlocked. Sullivan was then flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
The Colts (4-9-1) jumped out to a big first-half lead thanks to four Chase McLaughlin field goals, a blocked punt returned 24 yards by JoJo Doman and a pick-six by Julian Blackmon for another touchdown was done.
Ryan was also part of the biggest blown Super Bowl lead as the Atlanta Falcons blew a 28–3 lead to the New England Patriots and lost 34–28 in Super Bowl LI.
Teams leading by 30 points at any point in the game have been 1,548–1–1 in the regular season and playoffs since 1930. The Bills had a comeback victory and the 1960 game between the Bills and the Denver Broncos was a tie. The Bills led 38–7 in the third quarter. The game ended at 38–38.
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