MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As the Minnesota Vikings huddled in a large dugout in their modest locker room at halftime, cornerback Patrick Peterson promised his offensive teammates that the defense would do its part to hold off the Indianapolis Colts, setting the tone for a historic escape.
“You only need five shots,” Peterson told them. “It’s nothing.”
Still, the rally was definitely something.
The Vikings staged the biggest comeback in NFL history, overcame a 33-point deficit and beat the Colts 39-36 on Greg Joseph’s 40-yard field goal with three seconds left in overtime on Saturday to clinch the NFC North division in dramatic fashion.
Click on 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 late in the third quarter, to become just the third team in league history to win by 10 points in a season. .
“We’re going to grind it out until they tell us there’s no more balls left to play,” coach Kevin O’Connell said.
The Colts (4-9-1) topped the Houston Oilers in the 1992 postseason to reach the prestigious side of the list. They won by 32 points (35-3) and lost to Buffalo (41-38) in overtime.
“We’ve got to do a better job than we’ve been doing so far when we have opportunities to put people away,” linebacker Matt Ryan said.
According to Sportradar data dating back to 1930, the Vikings are only the second team to win 1,551 regular season or playoff games by 30 points or more.
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“Nothing is going to stop us. We showed that in Buffalo,” Peterson said after a 17-point deficit to help the Bills win 33-30 in overtime on Nov. 13. “We showed that again today.”
The Vikings took the rally until their second possession in overtime. Cousins hit KJ Osborne with a career-high 15 yards for the first score and 157 yards. He found Adam Thielen, who caught three passes in the fourth quarter for 21 yards. He then threw a 13-yarder to Justin Jefferson.
Ifeadi Odenigbo was called for a delay of scrimmage for laying on Jefferson and trying to prevent the Vikings from punting, which put Joseph 5 yards closer to the winner.
“It’s a special group, a lot of fighters,” Thielen said.
Colts interim coach Jeff Saturday didn’t exactly take a conservative approach to the slump. Ryan was stopped on fourth down at the Minnesota 36 with 2:19 left. Cousins then hit Dalvin Cook for a 64-yard touchdown on a screen pass on the next play and tied the game on a 2-point conversion by TJ Hockenson before the 2 minute warning.
“We would have closed the game and finished the game,” said Saturday. “I’m in. Everyone’s in. We’re not converted.”
The Colts, who were outscored 33-0 in the fourth quarter of their most recent game, a 54-19 loss to Dallas on Dec. 4, came back fresh off the bye week and outscored the Vikings 33-0 in the second game. -The biggest in the NFL this season. Cincinnati beat Carolina 35-0 on Nov. 6.
For Minnesota, the halftime loss was the second largest in franchise history behind a 45-10 loss to Seattle in 2002.
The Vikings even managed a pair of fumbles that ended Chandon Sullivan’s punt at the whistle.
“I know there are other games that don’t end like this. “It was great to see everyone fighting and I’m happy to share this moment with my teammates,” said quarterback Eric Kendricks, wiping away tears.
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The last team to overcome a 24-plus point deficit in a regular season game was in 2015 when Washington beat Tampa Bay when Cousins was at quarterback. In 1980, when San Francisco went from 35-7 to 38-35, the previous season’s comeback was 28 points.
The special teams unit has borne the brunt of a brutal start for the Vikings. Dallis Flowers returned the opening kickoff 49 yards and the Colts were in scoring position with seconds to spare.
Odenigbo got past two blockers and deflected Ryan Wright’s shot with his right hand. JoJo Domann caught the deflected ball and returned it 24 yards for an all-too-easy score and a 10-0 lead.
Then, with the Vikings trailing 20-0 on fourth-and-1 from their own 31, Wright’s pass faked over Jalen Naylor’s head for a second down.
Jefferson left the game twice for brief examinations after being hit hard in the chest. Second down Stephon Gilmore also had him wearing a facemask and an unnecessary roughness penalty in the fourth quarter.
Twice after Jefferson left the game, Cousins threw to Jalen Reagor on the next play and was intercepted after an apparent miscommunication on the route. Julian Blackmon returned the first for a 17-yard touchdown to make it 30-0 in the second half.
Jefferson had 12 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown for his season total of 1,623 receiving yards. Calvin Johnson’s all-time rushing record was set in 2012 with 1,964 yards in 16 games.
Colts: RB Jonathan Taylor (ankle) went down the field and left the game after a hard hit on the first drive. He missed three games earlier this season with an injury.
Vikings: LT Christian Darrisaw returns from three-game absence with concussion. He pulled his leg twice in overtime and limped down. Peterson left shortly after with the same problem.
Colts: Host the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 26.
Vikings: Host the New York Giants on Dec. 24.
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