With the game tied at 7-7, the Minnesota Vikings were facing a 3rd-and-3 from their 40-yard line to start the second quarter of play against the New York Jets. Kirk Cousins’ pass for Stefon Diggs fell incomplete, and the Vikings called on Matt Wile to punt the ball away. Wile’s punt floated to Andre Roberts at the Jets’ 9-yard line, and he muffed his attempt at a fair catch. Jayron Kearse was right there and appeared to have recovered the muff, but the officials ruled that Roberts had gotten it back.
The Vikings’ defense forced another three-and-out, and Lachlan Edwards dropped the snap in the end zone. He then got off a very short punt, with the ball going out of bounds in Jets’ territory at the 40-yard line, with a 5-yard penalty giving the Vikings great field position at the New York 35.
The drive started with Morris Claiborne getting flagged for pass interference trying to cover Adam Thielen to give the Vikings a first down. Cousins then found Latavius Murray for seven yards, and a quick pass to Thielen got a first down to the 19-yard line. After a short run by Murray, Cousins found Thielen again to set up a first-and-goal at the 3-yard line. After an incomplete pass and a false start penalty, the Vikings faced third-and-goal from the 8-yard line, and Cousins’ pass for Kyle Rudolph fell incomplete. Dan Bailey came on to attempt a 26-yard field goal, and he blasted it through to give the Vikings the lead back at 10-7 with just over ten minutes left in the half.
Bailey’s kickoff was returned by Andre Roberts to the Jets’ 31-yard line, and Sam Darnold and company set up shop there. A long pass intended for Robby Anderson fell incomplete, and on second down the Vikings got their first sack of Darnold, courtesy of Danielle Hunter. That’s his seventh straight game with a sack, and his eighth on the season. Darnold’s pass on third down fell incomplete, and it was a second straight three-and-out for the Minnesota defense. Marcus Sherels returned the punt to the Minnesota 20 to start the Vikings’ next drive.
Murray got stuffed on first down to start things off, losing four yards and putting the Vikings behind schedule. Mike Boone then dropped a pass to bring up third and long, and Cousins’ third down throw fell incomplete. Wile came on to punt the ball away, and his punt was fair caught by Roberts at the Jets’ 43-yard line.
Isaiah Crowell got a short gain on the ground to start the drive for the Jets, and on second down Darnold and Crowell botched the exchange and fumbled the ball, with Anthony Barr falling on it at the Jets’ 44-yard line.
Unfortunately, the Vikings’ offense did nothing with the football, as they only gained about three yards. Wile came on to punt the ball away again, and Roberts fair caught the punt at the Jets’ 16-yard line.
The Jets were kind enough to answer with a three-and-out of their own, as Darnold’s pass for Robby Anderson fell incomplete. Edwards punted the ball away, and Marcus Sherels got a nice return to give the Vikings the ball at their own 33.
Once again, however, the Vikings went three-and-out, as Cousins’ pass on third down wasn’t anywhere close to anybody. Wile punted the ball away again, and the Jets got the return out to their own 20-yard line.
The Jets’ started their drive with a holding penalty to move themselves back to first-and-20. A screen pass for the Jets then lost five more yards, and the Jets were looking at second-and-25 from their own 5.
Sebastian Thunderbucket Tom Johnson then dropped Crowell for a loss on third down, and the Jets punted it away again. Marcus Sherels got a nice return, and with a penalty on the Jets the Vikings started out at the New York 30-yard line.
Minnesota’s offense continued to struggle, as Cousins’ third down pass to Diggs was short of the sticks on third down. They brought in Dan Bailey for a 42-yard field goal attempt, and he pushed it wide to the left to keep the score at 10-7. That’s how we went into the locker room at the break.
The Vikings’ offense has been downright ugly since the first drive of the game, and that’s reflected in the numbers. Kirk Cousins started out having completed 9-of-11 passes, but at halftime has completed 12-of-23 for 104 yards and a touchdown. The running game has gone back to being ineffective, as Latavius Murray has just 13 yards on seven carries. Mike Boone has nine yards on his lone carry of the afternoon.
On the receiving side, Adam Thielen has five receptions for 63 yards in the first half. Kyle Rudolph has a 16-yard reception, and Stefon Diggs actually has four receptions, but they’ve netted a total of just 15 yards. Latavius Murray and Laquon Treadwell each have one catch in the first half.
The Jets will get the ball to start the second half, as they won the coin toss and chose to defer.
We’re at halftime at MetLife Stadium, ladies and gentlemen, and in an ugly game the Vikings hold a 10-7 lead over the Jets. Come on in and join us for the third quarter of play, won’t you?