Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson survived one of the wildest finishes in recent NFL history on Sunday afternoon.
It took a remarkable one-handed grab, an end zone fumble and a last-second interception, but the Minnesota Vikings beat the Buffalo Bills 33-30 in overtime at Highmark Stadium in what should easily go down as the game of the season — if not recent NFL memory.
The Vikings improved to 8-1, trailing only the 8-0 Philadelphia Eagles for best record in the NFC. Meanwhile the Bills fell to 6-3 and they no longer control the AFC East.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen had a shot to pull off the win in overtime, and had quickly marched into the red zone after Buffalo gave up a Vikings field goal. Yet Allen threw an interception directly to cornerback Patrick Peterson in the end zone, which sealed the three-point win for Minnesota. It marked Allen’s fourth red zone interception in the past two weeks.
That ending was just part of the ridiculous finish that was full of mistakes from Allen.
“Losing sucks. Sucks this way even worse,” Allen said plainly after the game, via WKBW’s Matthew Bove. “Horrendous second half. I’ve got to be better. I’ve got to be better … It’s on me. Can’t have that.”
Justin Jefferson sparks wild fourth quarter
First, on a big fourth down late in the fourth quarter, Jefferson somehow hauled in a one-handed grab through Bills cornerback Cam Lewis.
Lewis had two hands on the ball at the time, too, which made his catch that much more incredible.
The NFL tweeted multiple angles of the amazing catch:
— NFL (@NFL) November 13, 2022
Jefferson finished the day with 193 receiving yards and a touchdown on 10 catches.
The Vikings’ drive, though, didn’t quite make it into the end zone. Cousins’ quarterback sneak on fourth down was ruled inches short, which gave the ball back to the Bills on the goal line.
Allen fumbles, throws INT in rough finish
On the very first play at the goal line, Allen lost the ball.
The fumble was quickly recovered by linebacker Eric Kendricks for the touchdown, which gave Minnesota the 30-27 lead.
Though Allen quickly got the Bills down the field with a five-play, 69-yard drive to set up Tyler Bass’ game-tying field goal — which wasn't without controversy.
Allen found receiver Gabe Davis for a diving grab during that drive, though the ball was clearly moving as he went out of bounds. Officials never stopped play and the Bills carried on, something they admitted was a mistake after the game. Had the play been reviewed, officials said, it would have been overturned.
— SportsGrid (@SportsGrid) November 13, 2022
Still, it didn't matter in the end.
The Bills led 27-10 late in the third quarter and blew it. Allen’s interception in the end zone was his second of the game and fourth in two weeks. He finished the day throwing 29-of-43 for 330 yards with one touchdown. He was the Bills’ leading rusher with 84 yards on the ground.
The Bills are now 2-9 in one-score games since the start of last season. In that same span, they are 16-1 in games decided by more than one score. They’ve now lost two straight.
Allen was questionable all week with a right elbow injury. The Bills need him if they’re going to make the Super Bowl run many thought they were capable of ahead of the season. The Allen that showed up Sunday against the Vikings — who had plenty to prove themselves — simply won’t cut it.
“I got his back, no matter how that s**t shakes out,”receiver Stefon Diggs said, via WGRZ. “My quarterback gives a lot of effort. At the end of the game, you saw him lead us all the way down the field … He’s gonna hate it for 24 hours, but I got his back. My quarterback is a winner.”