What in the World Just Happened? Battered Vikings Beat the Bills
At some point, the comebacks have to be taken seriously. Without Cam Dantzler and Dalvin Tomlinson, and after losing both Christian Darrisaw and Akayleb Evans, the Minnesota Vikings somehow completed a 17-point comeback on the road to beat the Super Bowl favorite Buffalo Bills, 33-30.
Things got off to a fast start once again on Sunday as the Vikings forced the Bills to go three-and-out on their opening drive. As the Vikings have done more than anyone else in the NFL, they then proceeded to score a touchdown on their opening drive, opening up a 7-0 lead in Buffalo.
Along the way, Justin Jefferson caught two passes for 68 yards and the touchdown. He finished the day with a ridiculous 10 catches for 193 yards.
However, from this point through the end of the third quarter, it was all Buffalo Bills. They scored 27 of the next 30 points. Kirk Cousins threw a pair of ugly interceptions, and Josh Allen torched the Vikings defense for 414 total yards on the Vikings defense.
Then, when things seemed bleakest, a glimmer of hope was provided by chef Dalvin Cook. He cooked up his longest career run by scampering 81 yards for a touchdown. He totaled 119 yards on the ground and added another 27 as a receiver.
Now only down 10, the Vikings desperately needed a defensive stop to remain in this game. It didn’t look great as the Bills promptly drove down the field and got all the way inside the Vikings 10-yard-line. Then, with the game essentially on the line (for the first of about four or five times), Patrick Peterson snatched a timely interception.
It was then Cousins’ turn to put the purple cape on. He completed four passes for 47 yards, including a 4th and 6 rifle to T.J. Hockenson. He also rushed for 15 yards and set up a three-yard push by C.J. Ham to get into the end zone. However, Greg Joseph’s kicking woes continued, and he missed the extra point. Because of this, the Vikings trailed by four rather than three.
The Vikings followed up this impressive TD drive by forcing a punt on the defensive end, setting up a chance to win the game.
The offense once again drove all the way down to the goal-line, but it would not have happened without one of the greatest catches in recent memory by Justin Jefferson on 4th and 18 (clip below).
With the Vikings on the doorstep, they ended up with a fourth-and-an-inch. On that play they tried a QB sneak with Cousins, but Buffalo’s defense stood up the banged up offensive line. For all intents and purposes, it seemed like the game was over.
Au contraire, my purple friends, for this is the 2022 Minnesota Vikings. The Bills had to try to do a QB sneak of their own because they were too close to the end zone to simply kneel out the remaining 49 seconds. On this play, Josh Allen fumbled the snap, and Eric Kendricks recovered, putting the Vikings up 30-27. The Vikings had completed a 20-0 run in the second half to take the lead.
Once again, though, this game was not over. Josh Allen stepped back onto the field and led the Bills all the way down the field, and Tyler Bass chipped a 29-yard field goal through the uprights to send the game to overtime tied at 30.
In overtime, Justin Jefferson once again made a ridiculous catch which set up the Vikings in the red zone again. However, Buffalo’s defense tightened up and forced the Vikings into a field goal to take the lead 33-30.
The Bills proceeded to do what they did all day: drove all the way down into the red zone. For the second time on the day, though, it was Patrick Peterson standing in the way as he sealed the Vikings eighth win of the season with another interception. The Vikings completed their comeback by outscoring the Bills 23-6 in the second half and overtime.
Everyone had to contribute for the Vikings to win this game. All of T.J. Hockenson, Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, and Adam Thielen caught 4+ passes. Dalvin Cook rushed for 119 yards. Patrick Peterson intercepted a pair of passes. Akayleb Evans and Eric Kendricks were both involved in forced fumbles. Even Duke Shelley, making his defensive debut for the Vikings, had a key pass breakup down the stretch.
Minnesota (8-1) keeps finding ways to win these games, no matter how big a hole they dig for themselves. They now head back home for three straight weeks, and in the first of these games, they take on the Dallas Cowboys (6-2). Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills (6-3) play host to the Cleveland Browns (3-6).
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.