A strong day of Thanksgiving football had an exciting finish, with the Vikings holding on to defeat the Patriots 33-26 on Thursday night.
While it was a back-and-forth game for most of the contest, Minnesota took the lead for the last time early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Kirk Cousins hit receiver Adam Thielen for a 15-yard touchdown.
Receiver Justin Jefferson set up the score with another outstanding catch, reeling in a 36-yard pass down the left side. Jefferson finished the game with nine catches for 139 yards with a touchdown—a 6-yard score that was the first TD of the game. He also broke Randy Moss’ record for most receiving yards in a player’s first three seasons, with six games left on the schedule.
Jefferson also had an 11-yard pass to Thielen on Minnesota’s opening possession.
The Patriots had a chance to tie the game with one final drive that started with 53 seconds on the clock at their own 11-yard line. But with no timeouts, quarterback Mac Jones was sucked on the first play and cornerback Patrick Peterson made an outstanding sideline tackle to keep the clock rolling on the second.
By the time Jones hit Jakobi Meyers with a 23-yard pass on third down, time expired before New England could run another play.
Jones played well for the most part, finishing the game 29-of-39 for 382 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. But the Patriots’ run game could not get going, as they netted just 45 yards on the ground.
On the other side, Cousins finished 30-of-37 for 299 yards with three touchdowns and one pick. While Jefferson led the club in receiving yards, Thielen also had nine catches for 61 yards. Tight end TJ Hockenson had five catches for 43 yards with a TD.
With the win, the Vikings are now 9-2 and running away with the NFC North. After a long weekend, Minnesota will host the Jets in Week 13.
Now at 6-5, the Patriots will host the 8-3 Bills on regular rest next Thursday night.