When the Minnesota Vikings extended their lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers to 29-0 in the third quarter of Thursday night’s game at U.S. Bank Stadium, you would have thought that the purple would coast to an easy victory.
But, as we know, nothing is ever easy for this football team. . .is it?
Despite building a 29-point lead in this one, the Vikings had to hang on for dear life in securing a 36-28 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football.
After both teams missed a field goal on their first possession, the Vikings got on the board first courtesy of Justin Jefferson, as he reeled in a 14-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to put the Vikings on the board. Greg Joseph missed the extra point, leaving the lead at 6-0 near the end of the first quarter.
The Vikings then extended their lead early in the second quarter on a 38-yard field goal from Greg Joseph to make it 9-0. After a three-and-out from Pittsburgh, the Vikings added another touchdown on a 29-yard run by Dalvin Cook to increase their lead to 16-0 with ten minutes left in the second quarter.
After another three-and-out for the Minnesota defense, the Vikings put the ball into the end zone again, and it was once again Dalvin Cook as he went over from seven yards out to make the score 23-0 just before the two-minute warning.
The Vikings added to their lead on their first drive of the third quarter, getting a 42-yard field goal from Joseph to make the score 26-0. On the next drive, Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted by Bashaud Breeland, who took the ball into Pittsburgh territory at the 30-yard line to set the Vikings up nicely.
The Vikings turned the interception into three more points, as Joseph connected from 25 to extend the lead to 29-0 midway through the third quarter. After that, the Steelers finally dented the scoreboard as Ben Roethlisberger found Najee Harris for a 3-yard touchdown pass to make the score 29-7 late in the third quarter.
Cousins was then intercepted by Akhelo Witherspoon on the Vikings’ next offensive play, and the Steelers turned it into more points, as Harris went into the end zone from a yard out. The extra point was good, and early in the fourth quarter the score was suddenly 29-14 in favor of the Vikings.
After a three-and-out from the Vikings, Pittsburgh scored again on a 30-yard pass from Roethlisberger to James Washington. The Steelers went for a two-point conversion and failed, making it a 29-20 game with just over twelve minutes left in the contest.
Minnesota then took the momentum back, as Cousins. . .who had a pretty rough night overall. . .hit K.J. Osborn for a huge 62-yard touchdown on the next possession. Greg Joseph connected on the extra point, and that made it a 16-point game at 36-20 with just over ten minutes remaining.
Pittsburgh, however, was able to recapture the momentum after Kirk Cousins threw an awful interception to Witherspoon that was returned deep into Minnesota territory, and Roethlisberger then found rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth for a 15-yard score to cut the lead to 36-28 after a two-point conversion.
The Steelers got the ball back just before the two-minute warning with no timeouts remaining, and marched down into Minnesota territory with time running down. With two seconds remaining, the Steelers threw one into the end zone for Freiermuth, but it fell incomplete to secure a 36-28 victory for the Vikings.
There’s no way that this game should have been as close as it was. Dalvin Cook put up a career-high 205 yards, but Kirk Cousins had one of his worst games as a Viking to let the Steelers back into it.
The Vikings climb back to 6-7 on the year, and now have a bit of a mini-bye before facing the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field for Monday Night Football next week.
It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t easy, but the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by a final score of 36-28 on Thursday Night Football. Thank you to everybody that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!