Cousins, Vikings bounce back from blowout to beat Patriots 33-26

Cousins, Vikings bounce back from blowout to beat Patriots 33-26

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson celebrates after catching a 6-yard touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022, in Minneapolis. .  (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson celebrates after catching a 6-yard touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022, in Minneapolis. . (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

access point

The Minnesota Vikings have quickly become a confident and resilient team under rookie coach Kevin O’Connell and his staff, and they sure showed it in this short week.

Kirk Cousins ​​passed for 299 yards and three touchdowns, the last being a go-ahead score to Adam Thielen with 9:34 left to push Minnesota past the New England Patriots in a 33-26 victory Thursday night.

Justin Jefferson had 139 receiving yards and one of Cousins’ touchdown passes, who turned in a key performance against a formidable defense the Vikings (9-2) needed to bounce back from a blowout loss four days earlier.

They also bounced multiple times within the game. After a Cousins ​​shot was intercepted by Jonathan Jones and returned 55 yards to set up a field goal in the first quarter, the Vikings scored on five straight possessions, excluding a kneeling, to end the first half.

“Kevin has given me a lot of power. This team has given me a lot of power,” said Cousins, who shot 30 of 37. “Sometimes, it almost brings me to tears the way these guys support me.”

Mac Jones passed for a career-high 382 yards and two scores to kick off a trailing offense for the Patriots (6-5), but they ran out of steam down the stretch. Their final quarter included two three-and-out punts, a turnover on chances at the Minnesota 39 and a brief, desperate final drive.

Jones found Hunter Henry for a wide-open 37-yard touchdown pass to start the second half leading 23-16. Kene Nwangwu scored on a 97-yard kickoff return to hit the Vikings back.

Jones, who has completed more than 77% of his passes in the last two games, appeared to hit Henry for another score on the next possession with a spinning catch at the goal line that was ruled a touchdown down the field. The reversal of the replay to an incompletion forced the Patriots to settle for Nick Folk’s fourth field goal of the game.

“My hand was under it even when it hit the ground,” Henry said.

Another vital call came for the Vikings a few minutes later when Pierre Strong Jr. was called for running into punter Ryan Wright. With a new series of downs, Cousins ​​and the Vikings crossed the field for the go-ahead touchdown.

“We definitely had to come out and show people that last week, it just wasn’t our week,” Jefferson said.

O’Connell also got the bonus of a win over Bill Belichick, who drafted him with the Patriots in 2008.

“This one means a lot, just because I have a lot of respect for that organization and for Coach Belichick,” O’Connell said.

The Patriots have allowed just three points in each of their last two games and brought NFL sacks leader Matt Judon to the stadium where the Vikings were decimated by Dallas on Sunday while Cousins ​​had seven sacks, the best of his career.

With standout left tackle Christian Darrisaw sidelined with a concussion, the Vikings gave backup Blake Brandel plenty of extra help and put Cousins ​​in much more favorable situations with shorter, faster pitches. The Vikings had 231 yards in the first half, more than the Patriots had allowed in the previous two games combined.

CONTINUING UP

Jefferson made his mark on this entire game early on, when his 3-yard reception on a cross route in the end zone capped the opening drive. He made improbable catch after catch in tight coverage, including a 36-yard sack on a direct route just before Jonathan Jones and Devin McCourty sandwiched it. Thielen’s touchdown came on the next play.

“His ability to not hear footsteps and not arm him like an alligator, but bring him in and get bust, that’s one of his many traits,” Cousins ​​said.

Jefferson set the NFL record for most receiving yards in a player’s first three seasons to surpass Randy Moss. Jefferson has reached the 100-yard mark in 21 of the 44 games of his career, and this was one of the best given the way Belichick’s defenses often focus on taking star players out of the mix.

“Kevin did a good job,” Belichick said. “They made a few more plays than we did.”

INJURY REPORT

Patriots: RB Damien Harris (thigh) was injured in the third quarter and did not return. … C David Andrews (thigh) and RT Isaiah Wynn (foot) were inactive, replaced in the starting eleven by James Ferentz and Yodny Cajuste.

Vikings: Fourth-stringer Duke Shelley started at CB, with Cameron Dantzler Sr. (ankle), Akayleb Evans (concussion) and Andrew Booth Jr. (knee) all sidelined. … DE Dalvin Tomlinson (calf) missed his fourth straight game, with James Lynch filling in.

UNTIL NEXT TIME

Patriots: Host the Buffalo Bills on December 1 in another Thursday night game.

Vikings: Host the New York Jets on December 4. They can clinch the NFC North division with a win and some help.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

This story was originally published November 24, 2022 23:41.

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