What We Saw: Week 15

Vikings and Raiders and Jaguars - oh my!

Colts @ Vikings

Final Score: Vikings 39, Colts 36 OT

Senior Writer: Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)


Using the immortal words of Mindy Kaling’s character from The Office, Kelly Kapoor – “This day is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S”, and so it was in Minneapolis for this remarkable game in which the Minnesota Vikings engineered a miraculous comeback, the biggest comeback in NFL history, to turnaround a 33-0 deficit to the Indianapolis Colts and win the game with a last minute field goal in overtime from Greg Joseph. This phenomenal recovery meant that the Vikings clinched the NFC North for the first time since 2017 and everyone in the stadium, and at watching at home, was in an ecstatic state of disbelief and euphoria all mixed together.


Kirk Cousins had completed just six passes for 42 yards at the half, which included a terrible pick-six that had many people switching the channel, this game was over.


But, of course it wasn’t and Cousins went 28 of 42 for 417 yards and 4 passing touchdowns after the half…yes, after the half. The Vikings offense put in one of the greatest performances of modern times to claw level by the end of the fourth quarter, Dalvin Cook taking a screen pass 64 yards to the house to setup a 2Pt conversion to complete the unlikeliest comebacks.


Cousins found tight end TJ Hockenson in the end zone to send the fans in Minnesota fans wild and spoil Jeff Saturday‘s er…Saturday.


The overtime period was a disappointment in truth after the chaos that had preceded it, however Cousins nailed two perfect throws to Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson to setup Joseph for the winning field goal. Madness!


Indianapolis Colts




Matt Ryan: 19/33, 182 Yards, TD, 3 Sacks | 3 Carries, 0 Yards


Hmmm, I’m not going to talk much about Matt Ryan here, who was nothing more than a below average passer in this game, something that cost his team dearly in the second half. Despite leading 33-0 and then having an overtime period, Ryan threw for less than 200 yards and outside of the first two drives of the game, he looked terrible when trying to progress through reads and hit the open receiver. Instead, I am going to big up the best offensive unit the Colts had – their defense! The Colts defense, led by the indomitable DeForest Buckner, had a sensational first half. The statistics are phenomenal.


The crown jewel was the special teams unit adding a blocked punt and returning it for a touchdown to give the Colts a big lead.


Ryan was unable to play past the adjustments the Vikings defense made at the half and looked as shellshocked as his teammates on the sidelines as the Vikings roared back into the game. When they needed their veteran to settle things down and move the chains he couldn’t, coughing up the biggest lead in NFL history. Ryan now has this unfortunate accolade and the 28-3 Falcons Super Bowl debacle on his resumé now. Yikes!



Running Back


Zack Moss: 24 Carries, 81 Yards | 1 Target

Deon Jackson: 13 Carries, 55 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 1 Yard, TD | 1 Fumble (Lost)

Jonathan Taylor: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 13 Yards


A crushing blow to the Colts’ ability to run the ball in the second half and chew up the clock was the fact that Jonathan Taylor was removed from the game and downgraded to out with a high ankle sprain after catching a screen on his firth touch of the game. That left Deon Jackson and Zack Moss to takeover the workload, and things didn’t look too bad after Jackson ran in to give the Colts a healthy 17-point lead near the end of the first quarter. Jackson saw his first meaningful work since Week 9 but only really contributed on third downs, which were a disaster after the break.


Instead, Zack Moss led the team with 24 carries (the same amount of carries he had seen total back through the rest of the season) and his measly 3.4 yards per carry wasn’t particularly impressive to the eye either. Moss was very lucky not to be charged with a fumble that would be recovered by the Vikings for a score late in the game, the officiating unit, which might not see an NFL field for some time after this horror show, blowing this play dead when it was a clear turnover.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Michael Pittman Jr.: 2 Carries, 30 Yards | 14 Targets, 10 Receptions, 60 Yards

Jelani Woods: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 36 Yards

Kylen Granson: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 34 Yards

Ashton Dulin: 1 Carry, 5 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 25 Yards

Parris Campbell: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 13 Yards

Mo Alie-Cox: 1 Target

Alec Pierce: 4 Targets, 1 Fumble (Recovered)


It was a very odd day for this receiving unit, which probably suffered from the team going up big early in the game. Michael Pittman Jr. had shown ability to separate and find room in the porous Vikings passing defense in the first couple of drives but after that was limited to running short to intermediate routes as the Colts stagnated on offense and the Vikings brought more pressure on Ryan. Still, Pittman saw 14 targets and was excellent throughout. This contested catch late in overtime should have been the catalyst to feed him and go win the game. But, the Colts blew it. He remains the fantasy WR1 to roster on this offense.


There was a number of nice grabs in the first half from the likes of Kylen Granson and Ashton Dulin as the Colts punished the Vikings’ disastrous start to the game, however those targets dried up quickly in the second half. Probably the biggest waste was the lack of usage of promising rookies Alec Pierce (zero catches) and Jelani Woods (one catch), the latter making a terrific catch and run to setup the Colts’ second score.


Minnesota Vikings




Kirk Cousins: 34/54, 460 Yards, 4 TD, 2 INT, 7 Sacks | 2 Carries


A wonderful second-half performance from Kirk Cousins rallied his team back from the grave to win a game that clinched the NFC North. Cousins set season highs in passing attempts, completions, yards and touchdown passes. He was unstoppable despite the offensive line woes he has faced all season. Cousins was sacked seven times and his interception for the pick-six was terrible. But his inspired performance after the break forgives all. Cousins spread the ball around and recognized the impressive play of young KJ Osborn, who led the team in yards and was the catalyst for the comeback.


Cousins threw dart-after-dart in the second half, connecting with all top receivers for scores. Justin Jefferson getting in on the act with a red zone score, Cousins rewarding his receiver for a nasty route to upstage Stephan Gilmore.


And if the performance didn’t wow fantasy managers with the eye test, his 33.40 fantasy points (the highest score of his season) in the first round of the fantasy playoffs will have many appreciative.


Running Back


Dalvin Cook: 17 Carries, 95 Yards | 4 Targets, 4 Receptions, 95 Yards, TD | 1 Fumble (Lost)

C.J. Ham: 2 Carries, 1 Yard, TD | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 4 Yards

Alexander Mattison: 2 Carries, 1 Yard


Dalvin Cook went off for 95 yards on the ground and the same amount through the air to put up a monster 26.50 fantasy points to leave fantasy managers drooling going into the Sunday slate. Cook broke off a number of big runs against an impressive Colts run defense but also coughed up a fumble on the Vikings’ second possession which allowed the Colts to stretch their lead to 17 points.


Still, Cook ran brilliantly and showed his usual evasive running style with his quick feet too much for the Colts’ linebackers at the second level. The game-tying touchdown drive showed why Cook can be a fantasy superstar, breaking tackles and making people miss where it counts. Still, he had a goal line touchdown vultured by C.J. Ham. It could have been even better.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


K.J. Osborn: 16 Targets, 10 Receptions, 157 Yards, TD

Justin Jefferson: 16 Targets, 12 Receptions, 123 Yards, TD

Adam Thielen: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 41 Yards, TD

T.J. Hockenson: 9 Targets, 3 Receptions, 33 Yards

Johnny Mundt: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 7 Yards

Jalen Reagor: 1 Carry, -5 Yards | 2 Targets

Jalen Nailor: 1 Target


Have a day, K.J. Osborn! The third receiver for the Vikings had the game of his life as he led the team in yards and set season highs across the board in targets, catches and yards. It could have been even better if this 40-yard grab had stood – Osborn a little unlucky to get the decision overturned on review.


Still, he was the catalyst for the Minnesota comeback and by drawing a pass interference flag in the end zone late in the fourth quarter, he set up the fourth of the Vikings’ five second-half touchdowns to complete the miracle! It wasn’t the receiver we expected to be the difference maker but Osborn deserved it for his positivity, determination and belief right from the off in the second half. For once, Justin Jefferson took a backseat but still put up another superstar display. Jefferson led the team in catches and put up his ninth 100+ receiving yards game of the season. MVP, surely! This move on veteran Stephen Gilmore, who resorted to some dirty tactics to try to stop him late on, was mind-blowing.


Not receiving his first target until late in the third quarter, Adam Thielen hit paydirt for the third week running as his second half of the season renaissance continued. Thielen has been consistently excellent when called upon, which hasn’t been as often as he would have hoped. For the second week running Thielen was seen deep in conversation with Kevin O’Connell on the sideline before finally seeing some ball. “Hey, remember me coach?!” is all it takes apparently.


Vikings fans and Kirk Cousins have pretty much given up on Jalen Reagor‘s time with the team. The former Eagles wideout stopped running on a deep ball that was intercepted when the game was on the line. It provoked an alarming statistic on Twitter – he is 5-for-28 when targeted on 20+ yard passes. The results have been no touchdowns but five interceptions. Yikes!

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