To get things started for America’s Game of the Week, the Minnesota Vikings lost the coin toss to the New England Patriots. New England elected to defer to the second half, meaning that the Vikings got the football to start things out. The kick from Stephen Gostkowski went into the end zone for a touchback, giving the Vikings the ball at their own 25. Kirk Cousins led the Vikings out onto the field, and threw incomplete to Dalvin Cook to start things off. A short run by Cook brought up a third-and-long situation, and Cousins’ pass to Stefon Diggs was short of the line to gain for a three-and-out. Matt Wile came on to punt it away, and the Patriots started out at their own 19-yard line.
The Pats’ drive started with a false start on Rob Gronkowski to make it 1st-and-15, and Tom Brady then misfired on a pass to Julian Edelman. Brady then found Edelman to make it 3rd-and-2, and then found Chris Hogan for a big gain of 18 for a first down to the 45-yard line. Brady then found our old friend Cordarrelle Patterson for another big gain, this one for 21 yards, and the Patriots were into Minnesota territory at the 31.
Brady then found running back Rex Burkhead for a 15-yard gain to the 16, and the Patriots were in the red zone. Edelman then took an end-around down to the 2-yard line to set up a first-and-goal. Sony Michel was stuffed on the first down attempt, and on second down fullback James Develin plowed his way into the end zone for a New England touchdown. Gostkowski knocked home the extra point, and the Patriots took an early 7-0 lead with 9:33 left in the first quarter.
Gostkowski’s kickoff went for a touchback again, and the Vikings’ offense came out to give it another go. Cousins connected with Cook for a gain of five to start things off, and Cook then carried for five more to move the chains. Cousins then hit Kyle Rudolph for a 10-yard gain and another first down, and the Vikings were approaching midfield at the 45. Cook then took a handoff from Cousins and rumbled down the right side for a big 32-yard gain to the New England 23!
Latavius Murray then ran for a short gain, and Cousins was sacked on second down by Adam Butler to make it 3rd-and-17. Cousins got the pass away while he was getting hammered on third down for an incompletion, and the Vikings brought on Dan Bailey to attempt a 48-yard field goal. Bailey pushed the kick wide to the left, and the Vikings remained down 7-0 with 5:26 left in the quarter.
The Patriots started with good field position at their own 38-yard line, and Michel started things with a 7-yard run on first down, but the Vikings stopped him for no gain on second down. On 3rd-and-3, it looked like the Vikings’ defense had Brady surrounded, but he managed to get away and scramble for a 5-yard gain to midfield move the chains. Michel then picked up a few yards on first down to put the Patriots into Minnesota territory.
Brady misfired attempting to hit Edelman on second down to bring up 3rd-and-6, and then Edelman dropped what would have been a first down to bring out the Patriots’ punt team for the first time today. Ryan Allen booted it away, and Marcus Sherels called for the fair catch at the Minnesota 10-yard line.
Latavius Murray got the drive started with a 4-yard run, and then Cousins connected with C.J. Ham to make it a 3rd-and-1. Cousins hit Cook for a short gain to move the sticks, and on the final play of the first quarter Cook lost a couple of yards on a screen. So, as we move to the second quarter, the Vikings are looking at a 2nd-and-12 from their own 22-yard line.
Fifteen minutes in the books from Gillette Stadium, and the Vikings trail the Patriots by a score of 7-0. Come on in and join us for the second quarter of play!