He’s already been called “Game of the Year” by none other than LeBron James.
In a dramatic final that required overtime to settle the result, the Minnesota Vikings somehow defeated the Buffalo Bills 33-30 on Sunday, improving their record to 8-1.
Leading 27-10 in the third quarter and still 10 points up five minutes from the end of the fourth, the Bills were heading for a victory in regulation time, but chaos unfolded around them in the closing minutes. of the fourth quarter, as defeat took them away. in third place in the AFC East Division.
And the frenetic atmosphere inside the stadium spilled over onto social media which buzzed with superlatives in an attempt to describe the game.
“Vikings-Bills = best regular season game of the year. Maybe the decade. Maybe never,” tweeted NFL website ProFootballTalk.
“*screams* THE VIKINGS ARE FOR REAL,” said former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III.
The NFL simply tweeted “WINNESOTA VIKINGS”.
Much of the build-up to the game was dominated by questions surrounding Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s health after sustaining a sprained elbow in Buffalo’s loss to the New York Jets last week, but that became a mere footnote at the final whistle.
Allen’s lingering discomfort was eased early on by the strength of his team’s running game, with Devin Singletary rushing for two first-half touchdowns.
Allen seemed to gain confidence with his passing as the game went on – exemplified by an 11-yard touchdown to Gabe Davis in the second quarter – as the Vikings struggled to break down a stubborn Bills defense for much of the game, with the score 27-10 still at the end of the third.
However, a Vikings resurgence began late in the third with a wild play from running back Dalvin Cook who rushed 81 yards for a touchdown with an incredible flurry down the left sideline to give his team a glimmer of power. hope.
CJ Ham rushed for a three-yard touchdown with just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter to cut the Bills’ lead to three.
As the Vikings tried to drive downfield to tie or take the lead late in the fourth, Justin Jefferson arguably had the catch of the year, scooping the ball up with one hand and somehow holding it. another even as he fell to the ground entangled. with the Bills defense on a key fourth conversion.
According to ESPN, it was the fourth-longest down converted by a team this season, taking Minnesota from its own 27-yard line to Buffalo’s 41, keeping it in the game.
Jefferson caught 10 balls for a career-high 193 receiving yards, the most by any player in a game this season, and two touchdowns, according to NFL.com
“One of the most outstanding catches I’ve ever seen,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said afterward, according to NFL.com. “He’s such a special, special player. I’m really proud of how Justin has fought through the season against so many different looks and so many different covers.
Three times in the final minute, the Vikings nearly reached the end zone: one score crossed out in review, another fumbled in sight of the goal line, and Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins’ attempt went wide. snuck in just before they flipped the ball over the downs.
It seemed like that defensive stop had sealed the game for the Bills, but when Allen tried to sneak out of his own end zone to avoid taking a safety, he fumbled the ball with a sloppy snap and he was picked up by the Vikings defense for a standout defensive touchdown to take a dramatic lead late in the game.
Minnesota managed to convert the extra point to take a 30-27 lead, but the game still wasn’t over.
That left the Bills with 41 seconds to rush into field goal range to tie the game, and they did so with receiver Gabe Davis making a controversial catch before Allen threw a 15-yard pass to Isaiah McKenzie who rushed for 15 extra yards on fourth down. Tyler Bass eventually converted a field goal on the final drive to lead the game into overtime.
The Vikings won the toss and Dalvin Cook made a number of impressive plays to drive his team forward, before another catch from Jefferson took them to the Buffalo two-yard line.
The Cousins failed to lead the team into the end zone – getting sacked for 10 yards on second down – however, and the visitors settled for a field goal.
Although the Bills got the ball back and Allen made several impressive scrambles to get into the field goal range and have a few touchdown shots to win the game, Buffalo couldn’t convert the chances and Allen threw his second interception of the game by hand. the Vikings victory.
“Losing sucks,” Allen told reporters afterward. “It’s even worse like that. Horrible second half. I have to be better. I have to be better… It’s on me. I can’t have this.
The Vikings now lead NFC North on a seven-game winning streak.