The Minnesota Vikings trailed 33-0 at halftime on Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts, with many football fans turning off their televisions to witness a million other things that would be more entertaining. They missed out on the largest comeback in NFL history.
Things looked bleak for Minnesota. Trailing by 33 points at home, fans were witnessing one of the ugliest performances by the team in years. The Vikings went into Saturday’s matchup as a 3.5-point favorite and a win would have won the NFC North.
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Even after quarterback Kirk Cousins hit K.J. Osborn for a touchdown midway through the third quarter, most still assumed the game was over. But for a team led by Matt Ryan, who fell victim to the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, the football world was in for a treat.
Indianapolis responded with a field goal, taking a 36-7 lead late into the third quarter. It would be their final score in regulation as Minnesota’s defense and offense came through with a two-way effort to complete the largest comeback in NFL history in just two quarters.
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Entering the fourth quarter down 36-14, the Vikings answered with three surgical touchdown drives. Cousins hit Justin Jefferson for an 8-yard touchdown with 12:53 remaining to make it 36-21. A few minutes later, Cousins found Adam Theilen for the 1-yard touchdown to make it an eight-point game.
The Vikings blew their first chance at a comeback, turning it over on downs with 2:52 remaining in a 36-28 game. Once again, however, Minnesota’s defense came through and delivered a pivotal fourth-down stop to provide Cousins with another shot at NFL history.
More than an hour after the Vikings took the field down 33-0, Cousins hit Dalvin Cook on a screen and the Pro Bowl running back covered 64 yards in seconds as U.S. Bank Stadium erupted into chaos as Cook found the end zone then Cousins hit T.J. Hockenson for the game-tying two-point conversion.
A shocking blowout became one of the most incredible games in NFL history. In the closing seconds of overtime, Greg Joseph drilled the game-winning kick to seal the victory and clinch the NFC North for the Vikings.
It’s an all too familiar position for Ryan and put interim coach Jeff Saturday into an extremely uncomfortable position. Unsurprisingly, the football world had plenty of reactions to this unprecedented moment.