Vikings overcome 20-0 deficit at half to beat Broncos 27-23

Sun Nov 17 4:52pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is sacked by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Shelby Harris (96) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)


Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph celebrates after catching a 32-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)


Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) celebrates with teammate Bisi Johnson, right, after catching a 54-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) fumbles as he is sacked by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Shelby Harris (96) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. The Broncos recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Denver Broncos fullback Andy Janovich (32) scores on a 1-yard touchdown run in front of Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks, right, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Vikings erased a 20-0 halftime deficit with touchdowns on each of their four drives in the second half, fending off the Denver Broncos by forcing three straight incomplete passes in the end zone over the final 10 seconds to preserve a 27-23 victory on Sunday.

This was the first time in five years - a span of 100 games including the playoffs - that an NFL team won after trailing by 20 or more points after two quarters.

Kirk Cousins went 29 for 35 for 319 yards and three scores for the Vikings (8-3), overcoming a system-wide failure in the first half that included a lost fumble of his during a sack that led to one of three field goals by Brandon McManus for the Broncos (3-7).

Cousins hit Stefon Diggs for a 54-yard touchdown pass that brought the crowd noise to a deafening level and cut the lead to 23-20. McManus went wide right from 41 yards on his fourth attempt, and Cousins found Kyle Rudolph wide open for a 32-yard score on the next possession with 6:10 left. Both of those throws by Cousins came off bootleg rollouts to his left, the type of passing play he has long thrived on.

Brandon Allen, the fill-in quarterback after the injury to Joe Flacco and the impending debut of rookie Drew Lock, admirably drove the Broncos to the cusp of a comeback of their own with a drive that included three fourth-down conversions.

With first-and-goal from the 4, but only 10 seconds and no timeouts remaining, Allen had three chances at the winner. Trae Waynes knocked down the first one, Jayron Kearse had a hand on the second one and the last try for Noah Fant sailed past the rookie tight end after he and Kearse tussled for position.

The Broncos have not scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter for six straight games. The last team guilty of such a severe second-half collapse was Atlanta on Oct. 26, 2014, when a 21-0 lead at home turned into a 22-21 victory for Detroit. According to Sportradar, this was only the 14th time in NFL history that a 20-plus-point halftime deficit turned into defeat.

HORRID HALF

The Vikings hardly could have played more poorly over the first two quarters. They punted on their first four possessions and already trailed 10-0 when they finally got a first down, finishing with just 47 total yards in the first half. With the deficit at 17-0, Cousins hit Diggs for a 34-yard gain that was wiped out by a holding penalty on left tackle Riley Reiff, who had a particularly difficult time against the pass rush.

The Broncos drove 90 yards for their first touchdown, a third-and-goal throw to tight end Troy Fumagalli for his first career score. They spiced up their play calling with repeated success, using a 38-yard reverse pass by Courtland Sutton to fellow wide receiver Tim Patrick. Sutton kept the ball on two more end-around plays during that drive, including a fourth-and-1 run from the 7 to set up their second touchdown.

One break went Minnesota's way, an ominous end to Denver's momentum. The kickoff after the field goal that followed the fumble by Cousins was fumbled and lost by Ameer Abdullah at the 17 by Josey Jewell with 60 seconds left. Allen's pass for Noah Fant on the next play was intercepted by Andrew Sendejo, preventing the Broncos from taking a four-score lead.

INJURY REPORT

Broncos: FB Andy Janovich, who bulled his way into the end zone on a third-and-goal run from the 1 in the second quarter, hurt his elbow while being tackled at the end of a short reception and did not return.

Vikings: SS Harrison Smith hurt his hamstring in the fourth quarter and didn't return. LB Ben Gedeon suffered a concussion in the first quarter and was done for the day. Four other starters were already inactive: Adam Thielen, RG Josh Kline (concussion), NT Linval Joseph (knee) and FS Anthony Harris (groin).

UP NEXT

Broncos: Facing a stretch of four road games in five weeks that began here in Minnesota, the Broncos play at Buffalo next Sunday. They've lost their last two road games against the Bills in 2017 and 2011.

Vikings: After the second-latest bye week on the schedule in team history - in 1991, they were off the weekend of Dec. 1 - the Vikings return to action on Dec. 2 at Seattle. This is their second straight year with a Monday night game on the road against the Seahawks in December.

Player Notes
Jimmy Garoppolo Sep 21 2:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) suffered a high ankle sprain in the Week 2 win over the Jets, and he didn't play at all in the second half. The injury will keep Garoppolo off the field for at least one game and probably more. He was 14-for-16 in the game with 131 yards passing and two touchdowns before the injury, so it ruined what could have been a really good game for him. Already a low-ceiling QB2 in a run-first offense, Jimmy G can obviously be avoided for a few weeks in superflex leagues. Nick Mullens replaced Garoppolo in the second half on Sunday and should get the starts moving forward, but he doesn't have much fantasy appeal as more of a game manager under center.

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Gardner Minshew II Sep 21 2:20pm ET

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said that safety Byron Jones (groin) would "have to heal pretty quickly" in order to play on Thursday night against the Jaguars. At this point, Jones is a long shot to play in Week 3, which will leave Miami's secondary a bit more vulnerable against quarterback Gardner Minshew II and company. It's good news for Jacksonville wide receivers DJ Chark Jr. and rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. Jones had one tackle in Week 2 and has four total tackles through two weeks with his new team. You should be ignoring the Dolphins Defense in fantasy.

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Tyrod Taylor Sep 21 2:10pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor (chest) was released from the hospital late Sunday night after dealing with chest pain. His chest issue will be evaluated throughout the week, and head coach Anthony Lynn said that Taylor will remain the team's starter if he's fully healthy. The Chargers probably won't rush Taylor back after rookie Justin Herbert looked very solid in his NFL debut in the overtime loss to the Chiefs in Week 2. Lynn has been very loyal to Taylor, but even though Herbert had some rookie mistakes on Sunday, he probably presents the team with more upside right now. Keep a close eye on Taylor's status this week. If Taylor can't go for Week 3, the rookie signal-caller would become an attractive QB2 in superflex leagues in a great matchup with Carolina.

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Zach Pascal Sep 21 2:00pm ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal caught three balls for 19 yards and a touchdown in a win against the Vikings. Pascal has just seven targets over the first two weeks. The Colts are much higher on young receiversParris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. Campbell was injured in Week 2, so this may open the door for Pascal to see more targets with Campbell out indefinitely. With this being said, Pascal has just two games in his career where he has over 100 yards. History suggests that even with more opportunity, Pascal does not hold much value in any fantasy lineup. He will match up against the Jets next week and is worth considering as a waiver pickup in deeper leagues if you're hurting at the position.

From RotoBaller

Kenny Golladay Sep 21 2:00pm ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hamstring), who has missed the first two weeks of the season, is expected to return in Week 3 against the Cardinals, according to a league source. Golladay was close to playing in Week 2, but the Lions didn't want to risk aggravating the injury. The 26-year-old led the league with 11 touchdowns in 2019 and finished seventh in the league with 1,190 receiving yards, which was his second straight season with over 1,000 yards receiving. You still need to keep an eye on Golladay's practice status this week, but it looks like you can insert him back into starting lineups against Arizona, where he'll have WR1 upside if he's at full strength.

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Seattle Seahawks Sep 21 1:50pm ET

The Seattle Seahawks Defense got a takeaway in Week 2, but they struggled to slow down the New England Patriots all game long. They ran up 30 points on them and nearly lost the game late before a goal-line stand against quarterback Cam Newton. Cornerback Quinton Dunbar snagged an interception, but that was about the only positive this defense had, with only one sack on the night. Based on what we've seen through two weeks, it looks like this defense should be faded when you're looking for streaming options after allowing 55 points through two games.

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Mo Alie-Cox Sep 21 1:50pm ET

Indianapolis Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox took advantage of his opportunity, grabbing five balls for a game-high 111 receiving yards in Week 2 against the Vikings. Alie-Cox was inserted in the starting lineup due to an injury to starting tight end Jack Doyle. This was just the fourth start of his three-year career, and it is the first time where he had over two catches in a game. It was a nice performance, but this is more of a statistical anomaly than something we can expect to see going forward. He will have a good matchup next week against the Jets, but do not expect to see the same performance, especially if Doyle returns to the fold.

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Tyler Lockett Sep 21 1:40pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett wasn't quite perfect in Week 2, but he was pretty close to it. He caught seven of his eight targets for 67 yards and a touchdown. Lockett is quickly becoming one of the best fantasy wide receivers to roster, and with the connection he has with quarterback Russell Wilson, he's a threat to finish as a WR1 on a weekly basis. Just like Wilson, you should have no doubts about starting him every week, regardless of his matchup.

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D.K. Metcalf Sep 21 1:40pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf went long again in Week 2 and he turned in another solid fantasy outing. He caught four of his six targets for 92 yards and a touchdown. This is the second week in a row that Metcalf has averaged over 20 yards per reception, and it's clear that this offense is content to allow quarterback Russell Wilson to stretch the field more and more. As long as Wilson is airing it out, Metcalf is going to have WR2 upside on a weekly basis thanks to his big-play ability. His performance on Sunday night was even more impressive, considering the fact that he was being covered by Patriots All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Metcalf is the real deal, folks.

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David Moore Sep 21 1:40pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver David Moore had the most improbable touchdown of the season on Sunday night, but it counts just the same. He caught all three of his targets for 48 yards and the score. Due to wide receiver Phillip Dorsett's (foot) injury, the third wide receiver role in Seattle is up for grabs. He's shown a connection with quarterback Russell Wilson so far in his career, and as long as Dorsett remains out, Moore is going to present WR4/5 value on a weekly basis in deeper leagues.

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Freddie Swain Sep 21 1:40pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Freddie Swain seized the day in Week 2. Thanks to a nifty route design, he was wide open to catch his only target en route to a 21-yard touchdown. It was clear that Swain was the fourth receiving option among pass-catchers when you don't include the running backs. Moving forward, he's going to be nothing more than a flyer in extremely deep leagues, but you could be doing much worse than getting a talented pass-catcher in one of the league's best offenses.

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Jason Myers Sep 21 1:40pm ET

Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers was perfect in Week 2, but he was unable to get any field-goal opportunities due to his efficient offense. He went 5-for-5 on his extra points, and it was nice to get a solid outing from him. It's unlikely that this offense is going to score touchdowns exclusively moving forward, and you should get safe production out of him every week. If you're looking for a kicker that's going to get you points every week because of Seattle's high-scoring offense, Myers should be on your radar.

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Russell Wilson Sep 21 1:30pm ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson finished another phenomenal night in Week 2 with a thrilling win over the New England Patriots. He finished the night 21 of 28 for 288 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. He also added five carries for 39 yards on the ground. His impressive performance nearly wasn't enough, but his defense was able to hold on for a win. Wilson looks like the early favorite for the MVP award, and he's going to be winning a lot of fantasy MVPs if he keeps playing at this level. Fire him up every week with no doubts.

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Chris Carson Sep 21 1:30pm ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson continues to be a valuable fantasy asset with a solid performance in Week 2. Carson finished with 17 carries for 72 yards to go with three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown that came late in the game. Carson is firmly in the RB2 conversation, and he has RB1 upside on a weekly basis thanks to his work in the passing game in this explosive offense. While he may not finish every game with a bloated stat line, he tends to come up with a solid performance by the time it's all said and done. Keep him in your lineups moving forward.

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Chris Godwin Sep 21 12:53pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (concussion) has cleared the concussion protocol and is good to go for Week 3 against the Denver Broncos.

Fantasy Spin: The Broncos were bitten hard by the injury bug, and Godwin should be a low-end WR1 play next week.

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Christian McCaffrey Sep 21 12:53pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Mike Davis could be the featured back if the team doesn't go outside the organization for help. He should be owned everywhere as a flex option. Curtis Samuel had four rushes in Week 2, and he could continue to see a small workload in the backfield, but it doesn't move the needle much for fantasy purposes.

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Breshad Perriman Sep 21 12:43pm ET

Updating previous reports, New York Jets WR Breshad Perriman (ankle) is considered week to week with a sprained ankle.

Fantasy Spin: Chris Hogan had six grabs for 75 yards in Week 2. He'll continue to be highlighted and should be owned for depth.

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Saquon Barkley Sep 21 12:33pm ET

Updating previous reports, New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley (knee) will miss the rest of the season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Fantasy Spin: Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis figure to divvy up the workload, and neither of them will replace Barkley in fantasy for you. However, both should be owned as flex options. The team plans to meet with Devonta Freeman, and he could be worth the speculative pickup as well.

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Courtland Sutton Sep 21 11:53am ET

Updating previous reports, Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (knee) is feared to have a significant knee injury, according to sources.

Fantasy Spin: DaeSean Hamilton is next up on the depth chart, and he could be worth the pickup off waivers for depth if Sutton is out a lengthy period.

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Christian McCaffrey Sep 21 11:50am ET

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (ankle) is expected to miss multiple weeks after injuring himself during the matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The 24-year-old, who has never missed a game throughout his tenure in the league, has compiled four touchdowns so far this season, leaving a void that will be undoubtedly hard to fill for both the team and fantasy managers. Until he returns, Mike Davis will likely handle a bulk of the carries out of the backfield, with Trenton Cannon coming in for relief.

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