The second quarter of play started with another penalty for the Bills, as Manny Lawson was drawn offside by Teddy Bridgewater's hard count to give the Vikings a 1st-and-5. The Vikings got into a 4th-and-1 situation and lined up to go for it. . .but the Bills were called for 12 men on the field to give the Vikings a free first down. On the next third down play, Bridgewater dropped back to pass and threw a ball that, literally, bounced off the back of Brandon Spikes and into the hands of Leodis McKelvin for his fourth interception in two games.
The Bills moved the ball into Minnesota territory on the ensuing drive, but a sequence of very nice plays by Xavier Rhodes forced the Bills to punt the ball away. Minnesota took over at their own 14-yard line. On the Vikings' very next play from scrimmage, Bridgewater tried to find Adam Thielen and was intercepted by McKelvin again, setting the Bills up nicely at the Minnesota 26-yard line.
And on the very next play, the Bills took the lead on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Orton to Sammy Watkins to give the Bills their first lead of the day at 7-3. Captain Munnerlyn got beat by Watkins, and Orton threw a very nice ball for the score.
Another Buffalo penalty on the kickoff gave the Vikings the ball at their own 40 to start their next drive. Bridgewater bounced back from the interceptions (and a delay of game penalty) to find Greg Jennings for a first down into the Buffalo red zone. The pass from Bridgewater to Jennings went for 37 yards. Bridgewater then found Jennings again down to the Buffalo 4, putting the Vikings at first-and-goal. Bridgewater then threw his first NFL touchdown pass, finding Cordarrelle Patterson on a swing pass for a 4-yard touchdown to give the Vikings the lead back at 10-7.
The pass from Bridgewater to Patterson was the Vikings' first passing touchdown since the first quarter of Week 2, and the first touchdown for a Vikings' wide receiver since Jennings' touchdown catch in the season opener in St. Louis.
The Bills started at their own 20 following a Blair Walsh touchback, and the Vikings promptly gave most of the yardage up after a 12-yard pass to Watkins and a 52-yard run by C.J. Spiller. Spiller appeared to hurt his shoulder or collarbone on the play. Spiller was carted off for the Bills, who lost their other primary back, Fred Jackson, to a groin injury in the first quarter. The run took the Bills down to the Minnesota 13-yard line, but the Vikings' defense stood tall thanks to an Everson Griffen sack of Orton on third down. Dan Carpenter put it through from 32 yards, and the game was once again tied, 10-10.
The Vikings took over at their own 30 yard line on the next drive, and after a poorly executed screen on first down that lost six yards, Bridgewater was sacked by Mario Williams to force the Vikings to go three-and-out. Jeff Locke's punt put the Bills at their own 15-yard line to start their next drive.
The Bills got a first down to start their next drive, but the Vikings then forced their third turnover of the afternoon, as Robert Blanton intercepted an Orton pass with 1:19 left on the clock. The Vikings took over at the Minnesota 41-yard line with one time out left. It was Blanton's first career interception.
A pass from Bridgewater to Wright put the Vikings into Buffalo territory at the 45, and the Vikings burned their last time out after a short completion to Greg Jennings. The Vikings completed a pass to Cordarrelle Patterson just short of the first down, and brought in Blair Walsh for a field goal from 55 yards out. And Blair Walsh was GOOD from 55 yards out to give the Vikings a 13-10 lead. That's where we sit as we move to the second half of play at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The offensive numbers haven't been great for the Vikings. . .or the Bills, for that matter. For Minnesota, Bridgewater has completed 11-of-19 passes for 93 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Jerick McKinnon is the Vikings' leading rusher with nine carries for 42 yards against the league's #1 rush defense. Greg Jennings is the team's leading receiver with five catches for 64 yards.
For Buffalo, Orton is 16-for-23 for 124 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Spiller's big run made him the Bills' leading rusher, but he's been ruled out for the rest of the game (and probably much longer) with a broken collarbone. Anthony Dixon (4 carries, 20 yards) is the only back the Bills have left for the rest of the afternoon. Watkins is leading the Bills in receiving with five receptions for 68 yards and the Bills' touchdown.
The Minnesota Vikings lead the Buffalo Bills by a score of 13-10 as we go into the third quarter in Buffalo. Can the Vikings hang on for a victory in this one?