The Minnesota Vikings Weren’t the Only Team to “Win Ugly” This Week

Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) reacts with tight end Irv Smith Jr. (84) after scoring a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings won an ugly game on Sunday against the Detroit Lions after coming back from two separate double-digit deficits. Ultimately, a 28-yard touchdown connection between Kirk Cousins and K.J. Osborn put the game in Minnesota’s favor for the first time with just 45 seconds left in the game.

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Obviously, it would be preferable if the Vikings did not have to comeback from double-digit deficits, and they’d just blow out each of their opponents. That is just an irrational belief and unrealistic for any team. There are many bumps in the road that every NFL team has to go through over the course of the season. Some fans may be frustrated that it took a last-minute drive to overcome the Detroit Lions, but a win counts the same whether the team wins by four points or 40 points.

In fact, the Vikings weren’t even the only team to win in an ugly fashion just in the past weekend. There are multiple examples across the league of teams that didn’t necessarily play at their best in Week 3 and still won. Here are a few of them.

Green Bay Packers

For the second time in three games this season, the Green Bay Packers scored 14 or fewer points. They got nothing going in the running game, averaging a mere 2.8 yards per carry between AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones. The Packers were also penalized eight times for 65 yards in the game.

This was not a good game for their offense by any means, but the defense stepped up and helped them win a 14-12 slugfest in Tampa Bay. None of Green Bay’s games have been particularly good on the offensive side of the ball, yet they find themselves 2-1. Of course, Aaron Rodgers is still their QB, but should their situation be considered any better than the Vikings’ at this point? I’d argue no.

Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins burst onto the scene in Week 2 with Tua Tagovailoa’s 469-yard, 6-TD performance. Going into their Week 3 matchup with the Buffalo Bills, everyone (including myself) expected this to be a high-flying game with lots of points.

Instead, we were treated to a 21-19 final that included a butt punt.

Certainly, the weather had something to do with the low scoring as players struggled with the humidity and near 100-degree heat. However, the Dolphins were very lucky to escape with a win. They ran just 39 offensive plays compared to the Bills 90. Josh Allen passed for 400 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but the Dolphins did just enough to come away with a victory.

Denver Broncos

So far, every game under Nathaniel Hackett has been ugly for the Denver Broncos, and Sunday night against the 49ers was no different. Just the score alone, 11-10, screams that this was a gross game. Indeed, the only touchdown that the Broncos scored in the entire game came with just over four minutes left in regulation.

To add insult to injury, Russell Wilson’s two-point conversion pass to Javonte Williams fell incomplete. Even when the Broncos scored, they found ways to screw up. Even with all these struggles on the offensive side of the ball, Denver found a way to come away with the win, and they moved to 2-1 on the season.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas is still trying to figure out their offense now that Cooper Rush is the starting QB rather than Dak Prescott, but they don’t escape this conversation just from that excuse. In the first half of Monday night’s game between the Cowboys and Giants, it was all about kickers and punters.

The game went into halftime with a score of 6-3 with the Giants on top because of a pair of field goals. Eventually, the two offenses started clicking a bit in the second half, and Dallas scored a pair of touchdowns on their way to a 23-16 win. Regardless, if they were going up against one of the more premier teams in the NFL, there’s a very good chance that Dallas would have gotten blown out.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, not every game is going to be the prettiest of affairs. This past weekend, many teams that won did it by overcoming multiple flaws throughout the game, including the Minnesota Vikings. The teams that find ways to win despite not playing their best games are the ones that make it far when January rolls around. We should be excited about the fact that the Vikings managed to pull off a win this weekend.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken