Who won Thursday Night Football? Steelers-Vikings | NFL Week 14
The Minnesota Vikings needed a last second stop to keep the Pittsburgh Steelers from making a 29 point comeback. Dalvin Cook ran for 205 yards in the win.
In a game that Pittsburgh had no business being in after a flat first half performance, the Minnesota Vikings had to get a last second stop as the time ran out to secure the victory from U.S. Bank Stadium on Thursday night. Dalvin Cook was the top performer with 205 yards in the 36-28 win that pushes the Vikings to 6-7 on the season.
Minnesota used to leaving it late
The Vikings led 29-0 late in the third quarter, and seemed to be on their way to a much needed comfortable victory. Coming into the Thursday night’s game, 11 of Minnesota’s 12 games had ended as one possession contests, and Minnesota lost seven of those 11 games. Surely this wouldn’t be another one of those tight games that came down to the wire after the fantastic first half the Vikings had.
Indeed it was. Despite Dalvin Cook running rampant on the Steelers in the first half, despite shutting Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers to less than 70 yards of offense in the first two quarters, despite sacking Big Ben four times in the opening half the Vikings let control of the game slip through their fingers in the final 17 minutes.
Cook came back stronger than ever
After both teams had long, lengthy drives deep in to their opponents territory, both field goal kickers started off the night by exchanging misses. The game got it’s first score when Kirk Cousins hit Justin Jefferson for the second year wide receiver’s eighth touchdown catch of the year.
Dalvin Cook was the driving force behind Minnesota’s success in the first half. Yes, the same Dalvin Cook who missed last week’s game with an injured shoulder and was projected to miss at least another two weeks, came back for the Vikings’ must win game. He exploded for 73 yards in the first quarter after finding huge hole after huge hole. He ended the first half with 153 yards and two touchdowns as the home side went to halftime up 23-0.
Rapid fire TDs had Steelers back in fight
Two third quarter field goals from Greg Joseph put Minnesota up 29–0, but then everything started to unravel for the Vikings. The Steelers went on a 10 play four minute drive that was capped off with a Najee Harris three yard reception to give Pittsburgh their first score of the game with two minutes and change left in the third quarter.
An interception by Ahkello Witherspoon on the very next play shot a sense of belief into the Steelers that was absent in a team on a short week that looked battered and beaten following the win over the Ravens on Sunday.
Two minutes and fourteen seconds later the Steelers were in the endzone for a second time to bring the score to 29-14. It was a long shot but Pittsburgh was with in two scores in the snap of a finger.
Steelers: 28 points in under 13 minutes
A Minnesota three-and-out gave the Steelers possession back down 15 just a minute and a half in to the fourth quarter. It took Big Ben just three plays to drive a one time non existent offense into the endzone after a 30 yard James Washington touchdown catch. A failed two point conversion would leave the lead at nine with 12 minutes remaining.
Kirk Cousins’ 62 yard TD pass on the ensuing drive looked to be enough for the Vikings to squeak out of Week 14 with a lead, but Pittsburgh battled back yet again. Another Witherspoon interception led to a Pat Freiermuth 15 yard touchdown reception, and the two point conversion was successful after Big Ben hit Johnson in the endzone.
The Steelers would have one more chance after stopping the Vikings, but would have to march 96 yards down the field with 2:26 to go and no timeouts. Pittsburgh got all the way down to the Minnesota 12 yard line, and Roethlisberger put a pass in the hands of Freiermuth in the endzone but had it jarred out of his arms with a big hit from two Minnesota defenders.
Cook carries Vikes to victory
Cook ended the game with 205 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, while Cousins had 216 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Ben Roethlisberger ended his night with 308 yards and three touchdowns, most of which came in the final quarter, while Najee Harris had 94 yards and a touchdown.
The win brings the Vikings to 6-7 and right in the thick of the Wild Card hunt in the NFC, while the Steelers drop to 6-6-1.