SPORTS

Cousins, Vikings overtake Patriots to win 33-26 – KGET 17

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Kirk Cousins ​​threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns, Adam Thielen’s last catch in the fourth quarter to push the Minnesota Vikings past the New England Patriots 33-26 on Thursday night.

Justin Jefferson had 139 yards and one touchdown pass from Cousins, who provided clutch precision against a formidable defense the Vikings (9-2) needed to bounce back from a loss to Dallas. That gave rookie coach Kevin O’Connell the win over Bill Belichick, who drafted him to the Patriots in 2008.

Mac Jones passed for a career-high 382 yards and two scores to spark an offense that had trailed for the Patriots (6-5), but they ran out of steam down the stretch. Their fourth quarter included two three-and-out punts, a turnover on downs at the Minnesota 39 and a desperate last drive that went nowhere.

Jones found Hunter Henry for a wide-open 37-yard touchdown pass to open the second half for a 23-16 lead. Kene Nwangwu scored on a 97-yard punt return to right guard for the Vikings.

Jones — who went 23-for-27 last week for a career-high completion rate — appeared to hit his tight end for the second score with a goal-line twist that was ruled a touchdown on the field. A turnover on the punt — Henry’s lower arm appeared to be under the ball as it briefly took a knee — forced the Patriots to settle for Nick Faulk’s fourth field goal of the game late in the third quarter.

Another important call for the Vikings went minutes later when Pierre Strong Jr. called for running into punter Ryan Wright. With another set of downs, Cousins ​​and the Vikings cruised down the field for the go-ahead touchdown.

The Patriots allowed just three points in each of their last two games and brought NFL rushing leader Matt Judon to the stadium where the Vikings had been decimated by Dallas just four days earlier, while Cousins ​​had a career-high seven sacks.

With standout left tackle Christian Darrisaw sidelined with a concussion, the Vikings gave backup Blake Brandel plenty of extra help and put Cousins ​​in far more favorable situations with shorter drops and quicker throws. The Vikings had 231 yards in the first half, more than the Patriots had allowed in the previous two games combined.

Jefferson had his marks on this game from the start, when his 3-yard touchdown pass in the end zone capped the opening drive. He made catch after incredible catch in tight coverage, including a 36-yard grab on a go route just before Jones and Devin McCourty sandwiched him to set up Thielen’s touchdown.

Jefferson set the NFL record for most receiving yards in a player’s first three seasons passing Randy Moss. Jefferson has reached the 100-yard mark in 21 of 44 career games.

THE LITTLE THINGS

The first half was filled with examples of those extra edges the Patriots have long carved out for themselves under Belichick as one of the league’s most well-rounded teams.

Marcus Jones, who had an 84-yard touchdown return with 5 seconds left in the win over the Jets the previous week, returned the second-quarter kickoff 46 yards to set up a field goal. Then, after the Vikings regained the lead and Greg Joseph’s fifth fumble of the season, the Patriots saved all three timeouts with 1:30 left and marched 70 yards in nine plays for another Faulk touchdown.

INJURY REPORT

Patriots: RB Damien Harris (thigh) was injured in the third quarter and did not return. … WR Jakobi Meyers (shoulder) was injured on a 26-yard rushing reception on their first drive. He returned late in the second quarter. … C David Andrews (thigh) and RT Isaiah Wynn (foot) were inactive, and James Ferentz and Yodny Cajuste were replaced in the starting lineup.

Vikings: Fourth-stringer Duke Shelley started at CB, with Cameron Dantzler Sr. (ankle), Akayleb Evans (concussion) and Andrew Booth Jr. out. (knee). … DE Dalvin Tomlinson (calf) missed his fourth straight game and was replaced by James Lynch.

NEXT

Patriots: Host the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 1 in another Thursday night game.

Vikings: Host the New York Jets on Dec. 4.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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