Vikings vs. Patriots score, takeaways: Justin Jefferson shines on Thanksgiving as Minnesota improves to 9-2

After taking down the Patriots in the last game of the NFL’s Thanksgiving triple-header, 33-26, the Vikings moved to 9-2 on the season.

After being held to field goals in Week 11, both of these offenses wasted no time getting into the end zone to start this game. Minnesota needed just eight plays to go 80 yards to score on the opening drive of the night. New England then made it one of their own as Mack Jones connected with Nelson Agholor for a 34-yard touchdown. From there, the offenses went back and forth throughout the first half, tied at 16 at halftime.

New England opened the final half with a 75-yard field goal to go up by seven. It didn’t take long for Minnesota to get the game back on track, even with Kene Nwangwu returning a 97-yard field goal for a touchdown.

The score was 26 early in the fourth quarter and that’s when the Vikings started to pull away. A New England rushing penalty gave Minnesota new life on third-and-4, and they cashed in. After the penalty, Cousins ​​completed a 36-yard pass to Justin Jefferson, followed by a 15-yard field goal. Adam Tilenge to take and hold the lead.

Kirk Cousins ​​finished 30-of-37 for 299 yards with three TDs and an interception. Justin Jefferson was his target and the star wideout had 9 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown. Randy broke Moss’ record in the process. Meanwhile, Mack Jones was 28-of-39 for a season-high 382 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions.

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For more information on this game, see our guide below.

Why the Vikings won

Despite the narrative surrounding Kirk Cousins ​​in prime-time games, the Vikings quarterback was mostly good on Thursday. He shot poorly, but outside of that, he was great for Minnesota. He was able to match every Patriots scoring drive and distribute the ball to seven different pass catchers. That said, Justin Jefferson was his intended target and the star has been exposed and the criminal case continues. On top of just piled up stats, Jefferson was making a number of touchdowns, including a 36-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter that helped set up Thielen’s go-ahead touchdown.

While the defense allowed a number of plays through the air, you have to give them credit for stopping the Patriots offense to close out the game. After Minnesota took a 33-26 lead, the defense forced a three-and-out on downs on the ensuing possession and then kept them out of the end zone until the clock ticked down in regulation.

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Why the Patriots lost

New England’s red zone struggles continued Thursday. Coming into this game, the Patriots ranked 31st in red zone touchdown rate and went 0-3 in the red zone against the Vikings. Indeed, the offense relied on a big play from Mack Jones, who was able to deliver, as both of his scoring passes were of 30-plus yards. When they knocked on the door to the end zone, they couldn’t break through. Indeed, the Patriots had two drives where they got the ball to at least the Vikings 6-yard line and failed to score touchdowns on either. Yes, there was a controversial Hunter Henry fumble that was eventually called back, but the Patriots had multiple plays inside the 10-yard line and couldn’t find a way to pass it.

Of course, you can’t talk about this loss without raising special teams. It was a very poor performance by that unit, and their lack of play directly cost the Vikings 14 points. After taking the lead to start the second half with a 75-yard scoring drive, the Patriots’ special teams allowed Minnesota State to immediately tie the game back up with a 97-yard scoring drive. In the fourth quarter, they also had a free kick that allowed the Vikings to score the game-winning touchdown.

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The turning point

It was a back-and-forth game all night as these clubs held each other to tie the game at various points. The score was tied at 26 in the early stages of the fourth quarter, and it looked like New England would get the ball back with a chance to force a three-and-out and take the lead. However, rookie Pierre Strong was flagged for tackling Ryan Wright as he tried to clear the ball. A five-yard penalty was enough to give the Vikings a first down and preserve the drive. Three plays later, Kirk Cousins ​​hit Adam Thielen.

Play a game

Let’s give Kene Nwangwu some props for taking it 97 yards to the house. It was the second half after New England scored on a 37-yarder to Hunter Henry that seemed to be swinging in the Patriots’ direction. After Nwangwu turned it over, any positive juice the Patriots were getting quickly disappeared.

It was Nwangu’s third career comeback.

What is next

From there, the Patriots return to Foxboro and prepare for another game on Thursday night as they host the Buffalo Bills for their first meeting of the season. As for the Vikings, they will hang around US Bank Stadium and prepare for the New York Jets.


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