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Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers: Third Quarter Open Thread

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NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The second quarter got off to quite the awful start for the Minnesota Vikings, as Trae Waynes was flagged for a 49-yard pass interference penalty while covering Martavis Bryant, pushing the Pittsburgh Steelers down to the Vikings’ 12-yard line. Three plays later, Ben Roethlisberger found rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 4-yard touchdown pass, and the Chris Boswell extra point made the score 14-0 in favor of the home team.

Minnesota’s next drive started at the 25-yard line after a touchback, and they managed to generate a first down after a pass from Case Keenum to Jarius Wright and a pair of runs by Latavius Murray. A pass from Keenum to Kyle Rudolph moved the Vikings into Steelers territory for the first time on the afternoon. Keenum then found Thielen for a 24-yard connection down to the Pittsburgh 24. That was followed by three straight incompletions, however, and the Vikings called on Kai Forbath. Forbath hit his 19th straight field goal as a Viking, connecting from 42 yards out to cut the score to 14-3.

Pittsburgh started at their own 25-yard line after a touchback, and the Vikings’ defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back to their offense. Marcus Sherels got the punt out to the Minnesota 45-yard line to give the Vikings very good field position. Unfortunately, all the Vikings could do was answer with a three-and-out of their own, giving the Steelers the ball at their own 11 after a Ryan Quigley punt.

Ben Roethlisberger and company picked up one first down on their next drive, but the Vikings defense forced another punt. Sherels, who set the Vikings’ franchise record for punt return yardage on the previous return, called for the fair catch at the Minnesota 42-yard line. However, the Vikings once again did nothing, as Bud Dupree sacked Case Keenum to force another Ryan Quigley punt. Pittsburgh took over at their own 11-yard line for the second straight possession.

Pittsburgh pushed into Minnesota territory after the two-minute warning at the 46-yard line, but Roethlisberger misfired on three straight passes to force the Steelers to punt. Jordan Berry booted it away, and Marcus Sherels called for a fair catch at the 10-yard line. The Vikings ran out the clock from there and went into the locker room.

The stat sheet for the Vikings, as you might imagine, looks pretty ugly at this point. Keenum has completed just 6-of-13 passes for 53 yards through two quarters of play. To say the offense looks much less explosive than it did in Week 1 is an understatement.

Adam Thielen has been the primary recipient of Keenum’s throws, as he’s caught two passes for 26 yards thus far. Kyle Rudolph has one catch for 11 yards, Jarius Wright has one reception for nine yards, Stefon Diggs has one catch for six yards, and Dalvin Cook has one catch for one yard.

Speaking of Cook, the Vikings’ rushing game has done pretty much nothing all day, as Cook has just three yards on six carries. Jerick McKinnon has 16 yards on three carries to “lead” the Vikings in that category.

The Vikings’ defense has one sack of Ben Roethlisberger, that one being collected with Everson Griffen.

We’re halfway through the Week 2 contest at Heinz Field, and the Minnesota Vikings trail the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 14-3. Can the Vikings mount a comeback in the second half?