MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings just made the biggest comeback in NFL history. let that sink
Bigger than the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. More than the Buffalo Bills in the 1992 playoffs.
Minnesota made it Saturday, converting a 33-0 halftime deficit into a 39-36 overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts. In doing so, the Vikings secured the NFC North and held a one-game lead for the No. 2 over the San Francisco 49ers.
This game will be talked about for generations in Minnesota. The Vikings only scored after 8 minutes, 25 seconds remained in the third quarter. From that point on, they surpassed the Colts 39-3 and won in overtime with Greg Joseph’s 40-yard field goal.
Fans at US Bank Stadium, already nervous about a team turning an 8-1 start into a 10-3 record, roared with boos as the team headed into the dressing room at halftime. But the majority that stayed saw a day that will live on in franchise history for eternity.
Her earlier frustration was understandable. The Vikings special teams allowed kickoff returns of 49 and 47 yards and also had a punt that was blocked for a touchdown. Quarterback Kirk Cousins had returned an interception for a goal, and a fumble from Stau Dalvin Cook in the first quarter ended a promising drive.
Describe the game in two words: Totally historical. It must be repeated. What we saw on Sunday is unprecedented in NFL history
Biggest hole on the board: Coach Kevin O’Connell didn’t take into account that cornerback Chandon Sullivan returned two fumbles for touchdowns, only to have both called back by referee Tra Blake’s crew, one in each half. At the first, Blake decided the fumbling had occurred after forward progress was established, making the game dead. On the second, Sullivan was credited with the fumble recovery but was decided at the 46-yard line. The Vikings did not score in the subsequent possession of the ball.
QB collapse: Cousins only managed 43 yards in the first half but rallied to throw for 460 yards and four touchdowns after the half. This was his seventh comeback this season after falling behind in the fourth quarter. Cousins is the third quarterback in Vikings franchise history, according to Elias, to throw four passing TDs in the second half of a game, joining Tommy Kramer (2x) and Fran Tarkenton. — Kevin Seifert
Knowing underestimated statistics: The Vikings have now won 10 one-score games, the most single-score wins in NFL history.
Next game: vs. Giants (1pm ET, Dec. 24)
Say this for the Colts: You don’t get bored. After giving up a 33-0 run in the fourth quarter of their last game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Colts allowed the Vikings to pull off the greatest comeback in NFL history before eventually clinching a win at US Bank Stadium.
That game provided some of the best evidence yet of the depth of the Colts’ offensive struggles. They led 33-0 at halftime, but their offensive ineptitude showed in the second half, allowing the Vikings to stage a massive comeback. Indianapolis only scored three points in the final 40 minutes of the game (second half and overtime).
The loss put the Colts 4-9-1 and is their fourth straight loss in five games under interim head coach Jeff Saturday.
The Colts have found new and creative ways to lose this season, and their recent tendency is to fall apart in the second half. They dominated much of their game against the Eagles on November 20 before allowing a game-winning touchdown on Philadelphia’s last possession. They also went level with Dallas before conceding turnovers on a staggering four straight possessions to end the game.
Saturday’s game was a continuation of what has become an issue for the struggling Colts.
Promising trend: Kicker Chase McLaughlin had another impressive day, starting five field goals as the Colts’ offense struggled to finish drives. McLaughlin came as a temporary solution to the team’s dilemma after struggling veteran Rodrigo Blankenship was released. But McLaughlin has made a strong offer to keep the job long-term after making 7 out of 10 attempts from 50 yards or longer. He converted a 52-yard kick in the third quarter on Saturday, along with a successful 49-yard attempt earlier in the day.
QB collapse: Matt Ryan was far from dominant in this game, despite the Colts’ 36-point effort. On the one hand, Ryan managed to avoid the mistakes he’d made in so many of the Colts’ previous games. Ryan has not committed a turnover for the third time this season. But Ryan’s attempt at 5.5 yards per pass speaks to the Colts’ continued inability to stretch the field, a fact that has made drives particularly difficult to sustain. The Colts totaled just 102 yards combined offense in the third and fourth quarters. Ryan was now on the wrong side of both the biggest comeback in regular-season history and the Super Bowl. Ryan’s former team, the Atlanta Falcons, lost a 28-3 lead against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
Decisive game: The fourth quarter saw a number of crucial plays, including a failed return from a Minnesota touchdown. But there was another call earlier in the game that went in favor of the Colts but could have given the Vikings the momentum they needed. Colts receiver Michael Pittman Jr. appeared to fumble for a third down catch in the second quarter, with the Vikings recovering and returning for a possible touchdown. But officials noted that a whistle had blown before Pittman lost the ball. The Colts were leading 23-0 back then.
silver lining: The Colts entered Week 15 and are expected to have their seventh overall pick in the next NFL draft. A win on Saturday would have negatively impacted Indianapolis’ position in the draft order, which is crucial for a team desperate to solve a year-long quarterback problem. The Colts have had just one top-10 pick since 2012, when they picked quarterback Andrew Luck with the first overall pick. Guard Quenton Nelson has been the only top-10 pick since, with the Colts picking him sixth overall in 2018. Stephen Holder
Knowing underestimated statistics: The Colts’ 33-point lead at halftime was the widest since November 12, 1967, when the Baltimore Colts led the Atlanta Falcons 35-0 at halftime in Atlanta.
Next game: vs. Chargers (8:15 p.m. ET, Dec. 26)
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/35273614/vikings-charge-back-33-0-deficit-complete-largest-comeback-nfl-history Vikings charge back from 33-0 deficit to complete largest comeback in NFL history