Holding on to a 6-3 lead over the Minnesota Vikings, the Cleveland Browns started the second quarter of play with 2nd-and-7 from their own 39-yard line. DeShone Kizer found Bryce Treggs to move the chains for Cleveland into Minnesota territory at the 49, but Trae Waynes broke up a pass intended for Ricardo Lewis to bring up fourth down. Britton Colquitt came on for his second punt of the afternoon, and Marcus Sherels called for a fair catch at the Minnesota 10 to give the Vikings a fresh possession.
Case Keenum found Diggs on the first play of the drive for a 10-yard gain to move the sticks. Jerick McKinnon then picked up six, and then Keenum found Adam Thielen for a huge gain into Cleveland territory at the 33-yard line. . .but a penalty for a chop block on Riley Reiff brought it back. On third down, Keenum found Thielen for 22 yards, and this one stood to give the Vikings another first down. A pass interference penalty on the Browns on a pass intended for Stefon Diggs gave the Vikings a fresh set of downs in Cleveland territory at the 45, but Latavius Murray was then dropped for a short loss.
Jerick McKinnon then took a pitch and rambled to the 39-yard line, and Keenum appeared to have another conversion to Kyle Rudolph, but the ball was knocked away by linebacker Christian Kirksey. Quigley came on to punt once again, and he did his job, dropping the punt down at the 9-yard line.
Minnesota forced a three-and-out on the Browns’ next possession, and Colquitt came on to punt it away again. Stacy Coley and Marcus Sherels were again both back for the punt, and it was Coley calling for the fair catch at the Minnesota 40.
Jerick McKinnon had a nice nine-yard gain on second down on the ensuing drive, and Keenum then found David Morgan for a big 14-yard gain into Cleveland territory at the 37. McKinnon then carried the ball for six more, and then had an eight-yard reception for another first down to the Cleveland 23. Two plays later, Keenum ran a scramble drill to his right, and then found Adam Thielen in the back right corner of the end zone for a 18-yard touchdown! It was Thielen’s first touchdown of the season, and Kai Forbath celebrated the occasion by missing another extra point. However, the Vikings still had the lead at 9-6.
Matthew Dayes returned Kai Forbath’s kickoff to the Cleveland 18 to start the Browns’ next possession, and the Browns went into the two-minute warning looking at 3rd-and-13 from their own 15. DeShone Kizer found Ricardo Lewis for a 38-yard gain into Minnesota territory at the 47-yard line, and Kizer then hit Isaiah Crowell for a huge 38-yard gain all the way down to the Minnesota 6. Crowell then carried the ball down to the 1 on first-and-goal, and on third down Kizer ran a sneak into the end zone for a touchdown. Zane Gonzalez connected on the extra point, and the Vikings found themselves trailing again by a score of 13-9.
Minnesota put together a two-minute drive of their own, with Keenum completing passes to several different receivers to get the Vikings deep into Cleveland territory, including a lob to Laquon Treadwell that put the Vikings at the Cleveland 11-yard line with two seconds remaining. Forbath came on and connected from 34 yards out, and the Vikings went into halftime down by a point at 13-12.
The stats aren’t exactly pretty for the Vikings thus far. Case Keenum has completed 18-of-28 passes for 196 yards, one touchdown, and one interception through one half of play. Adam Thielen has led the way in receiving for the Vikings, hauling in three passes for 57 yards and a score. Jerick McKinnon has 49 yards on four receptions, and Stefon Diggs has four catches, but for just 27 yards. David Morgan has a pair of catches for 21 yards, and Laquon Treadwell has 21 yards on a reception. Kyle Rudolph has 14 yards on three catches, and Michael Floyd has a catch for seven yards.
On the rushing front, McKinnon is leading the way with 33 yards on seven carries, and Latavius Murray has 20 yards on eight carries.
The Minnesota Vikings trail the Cleveland Browns as we go into the locker room at halftime at Twickenham by a score of 13-12. Can Minnesota get it together in the second half of play?