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Atlanta Falcons 40, Minnesota Vikings 23: Minnesota dominated from start to finish

A truly ugly loss for Mike Zimmer’s team

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody was expecting a work of art when the 0-5 Atlanta Falcons traveled to U.S. Bank Stadium to take on the 1-4 Minnesota Vikings in Week 6 action.

As it turned out, the game was only truly ugly for one side.

Thanks in large part to three first-half interceptions from Kirk Cousins, the Falcons got their first victory of the season in convincing fashion. Matt Ryan threw four touchdown passes en route to leading Atlanta to a victory over Minnesota.

Atlanta got on the board first, following Deion Jones intercepting Kirk Cousins on the Vikings’ first play from scrimmage. That interception gave the Falcons great field position, and they cashed in with Matt Ryan connecting with Julio Jones for a 20-yard touchdown to stake the visitors to an early 7-0 lead.

The Falcons added to their lead on their next possession, courtesy of a 50-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo to make the score 10-0.

After a Falcons’ turnover to end the first quarter, the Vikings pushed down to the Falcons’ 1-yard line, and faced a 4th-and-goal, but a handoff to Mike Boone did not convert and the Vikings turned it over on downs. On the next drive, Cousins threw another interception, this one a juggling pick from Falcons’ rookie A.J. Terrell to set the Falcons up in Minnesota territory again.

The Falcons once again cashed in on a turnover, as Ryan found Calvin Ridley for an 8-yard score to make it 17-0 just after the two-minute warning. After Cousins was intercepted again on the ensuing drive, Koo tacked on a 21-yard field goal to make it 20-0 going into the locker room at halftime.

Koo added a third field goal on the Falcons’ first drive of the third quarter, a 47-yarder to extend the Atlanta lead to 23-0. The Vikings finally got on the board midway through the third quarter, with Cousins hitting rookie Justin Jefferson for an 11-yard score to cut the deficit to 23-7.

The good feelings didn’t last long, though, as Ryan and Jones connected again, this time on a 40-yard play that saw Ryan roll out to his left, step back, and loft one to Jones over Jeff Gladney in coverage. That made the score 30-7 late in the third.

Koo added a fourth field goal midway through the fourth quarter, a 43-yarder, to make it 33-7. The Vikings did get some points at the end on a 2-yard pass from Cousins to Adam Thielen, who just a few plays earlier had to come off the field after a hard landing on a long catch. The Vikings got a two-point conversion on a pass from Kirk Cousins to Irv Smith Jr. to cut the score to 33-15.

Atlanta also added an extra score at the end, as Ryan got his fourth touchdown of the day as he found Hayden Hurst on a 4th-and-1 play that the tight end turned into a 35-yard score. Koo added the extra point, and the Vikings fell behind by a score of 40-15.

Not to be outdone, the Vikings got another garbage time score, this one from Cousins to Jefferson again. It was a 49-yard score and, after a two-point conversion to Jefferson, the score was cut to 40-23.

That’s how it ended, as the Vikings suffered one of the worst losses of the Mike Zimmer era in a home game that they were favored to win.

Again, we’re not going to go over the stats, because a lot of them were accumulated after the game had been decided, and therefore really don’t matter.

The one stat that does matter is that the Vikings are now 1-5, and the competitive part of their season is basically over as they head into their bye week. Will the team make any significant changes before they travel to Green Bay in Week 8? We’ll have to find out.

The Vikings get blown out of their own building in Week 6, as they fall to the Atlanta Falcons by a score of 40-23. Thanks to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!