Without much offense, it took a big play on defense for the Minnesota Vikings to get their first win in Raymond James Stadium, a 19-13 overtime victory.
Following a 38-yard field goal from Vikings kicker Blair Walsh to send the game to overtime, it was rookie linebacker Anthony Barr with the game-ending heroics.
The Vikings led from the first points scored in the game, on a 46-yard field goal to end the first half, until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers scored with a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins with 2 minutes, 2 seconds to play in regulation. But after rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater drove the Vikings 61 yards into field goal position and Walsh tied the game as time in regulation expired, it was Seferian-Jenkins with the critical mistake in overtime.
On the first play from scrimmage in overtime, Bucs QB Mike Glennon hit Seferian-Jenkins with a short pass, but Barr stripped him of the ball, scooped it up and scored from 27 yards out for the 19-13 overtime win.
It ended a six-game losing streak at Raymond James Stadium for the Vikings that dated back to the only loss in the Vikings’ 1998 regular season. The win Sunday moved the Vikings to 3-5 on the season but still three games behind the NFC North-leading Detroit Lions, who won in similarly dramatic fashion in London.
Offensively, there wasn’t a lot to like for either team until late in the game.
Bridgewater completed 24 of 42 passes for 241 yards, and threw the second touchdown pass of his young career, but he averaged only 5.7 yards per pass. After taking 13 sacks the previous two weeks, Bridgewater was only sacked once and settled for the checkdown passes when he didn’t see anything open downfield.
When it counted, Bridgewater found Cordarrelle Patterson in the clutch, hitting him for two big third-down conversions on the final drive of regulation. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he told Patterson he had his best week of practice prior to Sunday’s game and it showed late. Facing third-and-15, Patterson hauled in a 28-yard pass along the right sideline. On third-and-10, he made leaping catch for 15 yards on third-and-10 to get the Vikings into Bucs territory.
“The catch that Cordarrelle made, that was an unbelievable catch because I’m standing right there and he must have went up 12 feet high to get that ball,” Zimmer said.
Greg Jennings, Jarius Wright and tight end Chase Ford were all successful targets for Bridgewater in his final drive. He completed five passes for 54 yards, was aided by a pass interference penalty and was fortunate to avoid an interception when cornerback Johnthan Banks got two hands on one of Bridgewater’s passes in Minnesota’s final drive.
“I think it helps everybody’s confidence. I think it helps the offense’s confidence that they can go down and do that,” Zimmer said. “I think he made some great throws in that last drive.”
Bridgewater joked that Banks’ missed interception is why cornerbacks aren’t receivers, but he also referred to a letter that Zimmer read from an 8-year-old Make-A-Wish boy that visited the Vikings eight days prior, saying the Vikings’ luck should turn around.
Running back Jerick McKinnon added with an efficient game, gaining 83 yards on 16 carries for a 5.2-yard average.
The wild finish that featured 13 of the game’s 32 points in the final three minutes was not indicative of the first half, which was marred by offensive struggles for both teams and ended with a 3-0 Vikings lead.
Minnesota picked up 10 first downs but struggled on third downs, converting only 1 of 6 in the first half. Fortunately for the Vikings, the Bucs were even worse, picking up only four first downs, converting 1 of 7 third downs, throwing one interception and committing six penalties.
By the end of the half, the Vikings had outgained the Bucs 131 yards to 72, with a 70-yard advantage in passing yards.
Bridgewater finished the first half 13 of 18 for 101 yards while Glennon had only 31 yards on 6 of 12 passing.
“With as good as we did last week and didn’t come away with it, it was important for us to finish,” Zimmer said. “Today it was important that when they did score that touchdown that offensively Teddy took them down there and Blair hit the field goal.”
And that Barr made the biggest play of all in the first play from scrimmage in overtime.
Barr scoops and scores for Vikings OT win
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