It was two drastically different results for the New England Patriots and the Minnesota Vikings last weekend. When Marcus Jones returned to the house at the last second to give the Patriots a narrow 10-3 win, the Vikings entered the field and were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys with a final score of 40-3.
However, both teams had to quickly reflect on last week’s ups and downs as they will take the field on Thanksgiving night to wrap up a short week.
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Thursday, November 24 at 8:20 p.m. ET | US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis MN | broadcast information | inactive
Minnesota got the ball first to start Thursday night’s competition and went straight to work. Cousins found Johnny Mundt for 13 yards and then immediately went to Justin Jefferson on a fast screen for another seven – a Jon Jones facemark penalty added another 15 yards. After Cousins found Thielen for 16 yards, Minnesota picked the trick when Jefferson found Thielen for another first down. Three games later, Cousins found his superstar receiver, who raced across the field for an early result. [Patriots 0 : 7 Vikings]
Mac Jones and the Patriots offense, trailing early, responded quickly to Minnesota’s score. Jones started under center, was unphased by a muted snap, and hit Jakobi Meyers 26 yards off the field. After a seven-yard RPO run by Damien Harris and an extra carry for four more, Mac found Henry for a four-yard gain before tearing a downfield between the safeties against Nelson Agholor for a 34-yard touchdown. [Patriots 7 : 7 Vikings]
After a quick start from both attacks, the Patriots defense braced for their second drive. With a third-and-one after a six-yard catch by Jefferson and a three-yard carry by Dalvin Cook, Cousins’ third-down pass intended for Jefferson was canceled (and almost intercepted) by Jonathan Jones.
New England turned to Rhamondre Stevenson on their next drive when the back pulled in a five-yard carry and two-yard catch to start the drive. In third place, Jones’ quick passout to Stevenson was a bit high but fell incomplete, resulting in a punt.
After allowing a first opening, the Patriots’ defense found their winning script. Blasting Cook’s second-down run to put Minnesota in third and long, New England was able to get behind Cousins and force a faulty pass – which was intercepted by Jonathan Jones.
Beginning at Minnesota’s 17-yard line after the interception, New England’s problems continued in the red. A planned run on Kendrick Bourne at second down was stopped for a seven-yard loss. Jones’ third down pass Agholor was short of the sticks and led to a 34-yard field goal from Nick Folk. [Patriots 10 : 7 Vikings]
Back with the ball and looking for a third and a seventh, Kirk Cousins delivered a powerful anticipatory ball to TJ Hockenson down the right touchline for a 14-yard conversion. Two games later, Cousins ripped a play-action pass down the middle of the field to Jefferson for a 21-yard gain. Minnesota then moved into the red after running backs Alexander Mattison and Dalvin Cook clinched two first downs. After Matthew Judon took a penalty, he came up short with a third and 15th pass to Adam Thielen. Greg Joseph’s 30-yard field goal was good to round out a 14-play, 72-yard drive. [Patriots 10 : 10 Vikings]
New England started just outside of midfield after a 46-yard kick return from Marcus Jones, who picked up right where he left off. Stevenson then started the drive with a 14-yard run, but narrowly managed to get an additional third down through the air a few games later. Nick Folk then connected with a 46-yard field goal. [Patriots 13 : 10 Vikings]