Recap: Patriots take care of business against Vikings, earn 24-10 win in Foxboro
The New England Patriots defeated the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 at Gillette Stadium, improving to 9-3 on the season. Tom Brady finished 24-of-32 for 311 yards, one touchdown, and one interception for a 102.5 passer rating in the win. The Pats head to Miami next to take on the Dolphins.
FINAL: Patriots 24, Vikings 10. The Vikings were not ready to bring their A-game to Foxboro in December. And at the same time, the Patriots defense was mostly superb while the Pats offense was good enough in the Patriots’ second straight win by 14 points. For the most part, this is what we’re used to seeing with the Pats at this time of year. The offense could still use more consistency and discipline, but overall another strong effort for the Patriots to take care of business at home against a talented team.
Q4, 4:41: Finally, the Patriots defense gets a turnover of its own. On a ball to the end zone intended for Aldrick Robinson, J.C. Jackson tips it in the air and Duron Harmon reels in the interception to give it back to Brady. Time to actually kill the clock for the Pats.
Q4, 5:25: Once again, mistakes by the Patriots offense keep the Vikings alive. This time, it’s an interception by Tom Brady as linebacker Eric Kendricks picks off an under thrown ball intended for Julian Edelman. Brady took a pretty good hit on the throw. The Vikings have the ball on their own 45-yard line with another chance to get back in the game, but the clock is ticking.
Q4, 5:50: Kirk Cousins targets Adam Thielen deep again, but the ball sails out of bounds. The Vikings commit holding on the play, setting up second-and-23 from their own 43. Thielen makes the catch on second down, but Jason McCourty gets a hold of him and refuses to let go as he makes it third-and-15. Thielen makes another catch but it’s only four yards and the Nikes have to go for it on fourth-and-11. It’s complete to Laquon Treadwell, but he’s immediately wrapped up after just four yards by Stephon Gilmore. Patriots take over.
Q4, 8:34: The Vikings go for it on fourth-and-1, and Latavius Murray is stood up at the line by Lawrence Guy and Trey Flowers. Officials give the Vikings the first down, but Bill Belichick challenges the ruling. The replay shows that Murray may have been stopped before he could get the football across the line to gain. The call stands and the Vikings get to keep their fresh set of downs, as Belichick is charged with a timeout.
Q4, 10:54: The Patriots’ next drive starts with a flag – on the other team. Josh Gordon draws a clear pass interference from the VIkes’ Hilton Hill to set up first-and-10 at the 26. Julian Edelman picks up three yards on the next play with a wide-open screen that he can’t quite take around the corner for more than a small gain. Sony Michel barrels ahead for six yards to make it third-and-1. The play-call this time is a simple handoff to Michel, who shifts through an opening on the right side to pick up two yards and give the Patriots a fresh set of downs.
Gordon nearly gets it into the end zone again, but he’s just short to make it first-and-goal from the 2-yard line. James Develin does it again, taking another handoff and powering into the end zone to make it 24-10 Patriots in the fourth.
Q4, 14:06: To start the fourth quarter, Trey Flowers comes up with a huge sack to bring down Kirk Cousins for a 10-yard sack. Vikings forced to punt deep in their own territory, and Julian Edelman runs it back to the 50.
END 3: Patriots 17, Vikings 10. Kirk Cousins is way off going deep down the field for Aldrick Robinson, and Latavius Murray picks up five yards to set up a big third-and-5 for the Vikings. That’s how the third quarter ends in Foxboro.
Q3, 0:35: Josh Gordon sighting! Tom Brady hits Gordon with a quick sideways throw, and Gordon breaks free to run it 24 yards to give the Pats a first down at the Vikings’ 48. Brady hits Rob Gronkowski over the middle for 15 yards and another first. James White slips through an opening for another 12 yards on the next snap. Then, Brady hits Josh Gordon for another 24 yards over the middle, and this time Gordon finds the end zone. Finally, the Patriots offense looks as good as it did on the opening drive. It’s 17-10 Patriots with the fourth quarter coming up.
Q3, 2:20: Dalvin Cook takes the handoff and runs to the left for 18 yards to pick up a first down at the Patriots’ 22. J.C. Jackson is all over Adam Thielen in the end zone on a first-down incompletion, and the rookie cornerback appeared to barely avoid a flag. Latavius Murray picks up a yard to set up third-and-9. Cousins heaves it to the end zone again, but it’s incomplete for Aldrick Robinson to force a field goal attempt. Dan Bailey is good from 39 yards to tie the game 10-10.
The Patriots defense has given up some plays, but has otherwise put together a solid effort against the Vikings, who have barely threatened to find the end zone besides their one touchdown drive. It’s on the Pats offense to shed the penalties, which were also an issue in Week 12 against the Jets, and start executing plays more cleanly. They’ve had several opportunities to start pulling away from the Vikes but haven’t been able to capitalize.
Q3, 3:51: The Vikings get a spark from Aldrick Robinson, who makes a four-yard catch to convert on third-and-3. Stefon Diggs picks up five yards to set up third-and-5, and Kyle Rudolph gets the conversion with a five-yard grab – but Bill Belichick throws the red challenge flag. The replay shows that Rudolph may have lost possession of the ball just before his foot landed out of bounds. The call stands, as the play was too close to overturn.
Q3, 6:21: With a chance to get rolling and start pulling away from the Vikings, the Patriots offense shoots itself in the foot on multiple occasions over the course of their next drive, which had a strange mix of explosive plays and uncharacteristic sloppiness.
The drive gets off to a less-than-ideal start, with Sony Michel getting flagged for a false start. But on first-and-15, Tom Brady and Cordarrelle Patterson make up for it and then some with a 29-yard hook-up. After a seven-yard rumble by Michel, they pick up another first down on the next play with a nine-yard catch for James Develin. White slices up the middle for a five-yard gain on first down. But it turns to second-and-15 after Rob Gronkowski gets flagged for holding. White picks up 10 yards to make it third-and-5, and White takes a handoff for just four yards to make it fourth-and-1.
The Patriots go for it … and Chris Hogan makes the catch and pushes to the sticks for a first-down. No. 15 celebrates with a flourish after the potentially big fourth-down conversion.
Unfortunately, yet another penalty on the offense, this time holding on Joe Thuney, makes it first-and-20 at the Vikings’ 40-yard line. James White gets it two straight snaps, and is able to pick up just five yards between them. On third-and-15, Brady targets Gronkowski for a potential first-down catch and it’s broken up by Mackensie Alexander. To make things worse, Stephen Gostkowski’s field goal attempt is tipped and flutters wide right. After a promising but ultimately sloppy drive, it’s still 10-7.
Q3, 12:37: After the Patriots can’t capitalize on starting the second half with the football, the Vikings have a three-and-out of their own. Two short gains by Dalvin Cook lead to third-and-5. Adam Thielen gets behind both McCourtys in double-coverage, but can’t reel in the deep pass attempt and the Vikings have to punt. Julian Edelman’s nice return is wiped out by a holding penalty on the Patriots.
HALFTIME: Patriots 10, Vikings 7. The Vikings’ final drive of the first half starts with a 24-yard catch-and-run by Stefon Diggs, and they follow that up with a 23-yard completion from Cousins to tight end Kyle Rudolph. Suddenly, the Vikings are in business. After three short gains, Cousins finds an open Adam Thielen in the end zone for a five-yard touchdown to cut the Patriots’ lead to 10-7.
Thielen broke away from double-coverage by Jason and Devin McCourty to catch the wide-open fade. A tough swing for the Patriots, who had a chance to go up 13-0 or 17-0 with just two minutes to go in the half. Instead, they punt and the Vikings respond with an explosive drive that ends in the Thielen TD. The game looks closer than it’s been for most of the first half, thanks to some shoddy defense at the end of the second quarter for the Patriots.
Tom Brady and James White made it a little interesting on the last play of the first half, as the running back catches it and runs for 42 yards before being brought down well short of the end zone. The Vikings defended against the Hail Mary and the Pats couldn’t quite pull off the miracle.
— Q2, 2:00: Mike Zimmer challenges the spot of the ball and wins, as Gronkowski is ruled to have been tackled one yard short of the first down. So the Patriots instead have third-and-1 at their own 26-yard line. They try a direct snap to James White with a fake by Brady, and he’s wrapped up for no gain. Patriots forced to punt again, and the Vikings may have spoiled their attempt at a double-score. We’ll see if Minnesota can get on the board before halftime and make themselves feel better about what was an uninspiring half of football for them.
— Q2, 2:00: After a five-yard pickup for Sony Michel, Tom Brady finds Rob Gronkowski open in one-on-one coverage and the tight end catches his first target of the game. First down Patriots at their own 27 as the first half reaches the two-minute warning.
— Q2, 3:07: The Patriots still need a little work on their kick coverage, as the Vikings’ Ameer Abdullah takes it 33 yards to set up the Vikings at their own 34. Dalvin Cook is barely tripped up to be brought down for “only” 18 yards on a run that could’ve been taken to the house. But a holding penalty knocks the Vikings back to second-and-17, and Kirk Cousins appears to have a miscommunication with his receiver as his pass attempt goes to no one at all. Devin McCourty steps up and makes the tackle on the third-and-17 dump-off to Latavius Murray, forcing another punt from the Vikings. Julian Edelman makes the fair catch at the 17-yard line and the Patriots take over.
Clearly, the Vikings had a Dalvin Cook-heavy game plan against the Patriots, which is usually a sound strategy versus this group. But the Patriots defense appears more than ready for the challenge; besides a few scattered chunk plays, Cook hasn’t gotten the Vikings offense going like they’ve hoped. And Cousins has otherwise been under pressure up front, which has forced his passes all over the place.
— Q2, 5:45: Facing second-and-14, Brady goes to ol’ reliable James White. First White takes it eight yards on a quick pass to the right, then Brady drops it off to White on a fly sweep for 11 yards to get the first down. White picks up another 15 yards with a catch-and-run on the next play. That’s 34 yards in a span of three snaps for White. Sony Michel gets the next first down for the Pats with a two-yard push up the middle, with a little help from the offensive line. After seven yards on two touches for Rex Burkhead, James White picks up yet another first down on third-and-3 with a nice catch to the left where Brady put the ball in a spot that only he could get it.
Julian Edelman picks up five yards on third-and-6, and it’s third-and-1 – from the 1. The pass attempt to Edelman is broken up by Anthony Harris, and the Patriots are forced to kick a 20-yard field goal. Stephen Gostkowski nails it, and the Patriots extend their lead to 10-0.
— Q2, 14:11: Facing third-and-6, Kirk Cousins is under intense pressure from Trey Flowers and has to roll out to his right. His pass intended for Dalvin Cook is batted down and the Vikings are forced to punt it back to the Patriots. It’s been a punt-fest since the Patriots’ first touchdown of the game. Let’s see if Tom Brady & Co. can recreate that magic to extend their lead.
— Q1, 0:00: Facing third-and-1, Kirk Cousins dumps it over the middle to Dalvin Cook for five yards to pick up a first down. Cook catches it but Dont’a Hightower closes quickly to wrap him up for a two-yard loss. And that’s how the first quarter ends in Foxboro.
— Q1, 2:34: Brady picks up five yards on his own on third-and-3, which officially put him over 1,000 rushing yards for his career. Another “milestone” for TB12. However, two straight incompletions to Julian Edelman force the Patriots to punt it and the Vikings take over at their own 10-yard line.
The first incompletion was a low throw for Brady, who had to step up and out of the pocket to evade pressure and couldn’t quite hit the mark on the move. The second was a straight-up drop for Edelman, who would’ve had the conversion for a first down.
— Q1, 5:26: Dan Bailey’s field goal attempt is no good. Patriots hold their 7-0 lead with Tom Brady and the offense taking over at their own 38-yard line.
— Q1, 11:08: James Develin takes it up the middle for a one-yard touchdown to put the Patriots up 7-0 early. Tom Brady completed passes to Julian Edelman (13 yards), Chris Hogan (19 yards), Cordarrelle Patterson (24 yards), and Rex Burkhead (15 yards), plus a handoff to Edelman for another 15 yards, to set up first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. The Vikings defense kept leaving guys wide open, and Brady consistently found the open guys on an efficient and explosive opening drive.
— WR Stefon Diggs (knee) and CB Xavier Rhodes (hamstring) are both active for the Vikings after being listed as questionable on the final injury report. Neither practiced for the Vikings on Wednesday or Thursday, but were limited in their Friday walkthroughs.
— Patriots inactives: TE Dwayne Allen, CB Keion Crossen, DE Keionta Davis, CB Duke Dawson, OL James Ferentz, DE Derek Rivers, DT Danny Shelton
— Vikings inactives: WR Chad Beebe, RB Mike Boone, LB Devante Downs, DT Jalyn Holmes, C Brett Jones, TE David Morgan, QB Kyle Sloter
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