The (8-3) New England Patriots host the (6-4-1) Minnesota Vikings in a clash between two of the better teams in the league. Can the Patriots offense overcome the Vikings strong defense? Can Stephon Gilmore and the Patriots secondary slow down Adam Thielen and the Vikings receivers?
We’ll find out! Here’s everything you need to know.
Make sure to stick around after the game for the Pats Pulpit Postgame Show!
Date: Sunday, December 2, 2018
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro MA
SB Nation affiliate: Daily Norseman
TV: FOX, with Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (color commentary) and Erin Andrews (sideline)
Patriots rooting guide
Inactives Report: Danny Shelton isn’t playing, but Rex Burkhead is!
Patriots win the opening coin toss and defer to the second half.
Patriots starting D:— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) December 2, 2018
LB Van Noy
On the first two snaps Patriots had JMac on Thielen, Gilmore on Diggs, Jackson on third WR. Just what I predicted.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) December 2, 2018
The Patriots kicked off and Stephen Gostkowski set the Vikings up on the 25-yard line with a touchback. The New England defense did a great job and forced a three-and-out with Minnesota gaining eight yards. The Vikings got off a nice punt and pinned the Patriots on their own 19-yard line.
Rob Gronkowski started off the drive with a false start, setting the Patriots behind. But Tom Brady found Julian Edelman for 13 yards, then Chris Hogan for 18 yards to get towards midfield, a wide open Cordarrelle Patterson for 24 yards, and a wide open Rex Burkhead for 15 yards to get into the red zone. Edelman ran the end-around for 15 yards to get to the goal line and James Develin punched it in from 1 yard out to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead.
Gostkowski knocked through another touchback to set up the Vikings on their 25-yard line, but the Vikings started to find their groove, with Dalvin Cook gaining 10 yards on 2 carries, Kyle Rudolph gaining 10 yards, and Cook picking up 32 yards through a huge hole on the right. The defense held strong in the red zone with Adam Butler picking up a 7-yard sack and Kyle Van Noy a half-second away from another big sack on third down. Dan Bailey kicked the 48-yard field goal wide left as the Patriots held on to their 7-0 lead and start their next drive with great field position at the 38-yard line.
Sony Michel carried the first two plays for 7 yards and on third down Tom Brady scrambled for 5 yards to midfield to reach 1,000 rushing yards in his career. Edelman dropped a first down pass on third down and the Patriots had to punt back to Minnesota.
Minnesota converted a a third-and-1 to get to the 24-yard line, but Dont’a Hightower sniffed out a slip screen to Dalvin Cook and tackled the running back for a 2-yard loss to end the quarter. The Vikings have a second-and-12 from their own 22-yard line to start the second quarter.
Malcom Brown tackled the Vikings receiver after 6 yards to send up a third-and-6 and Kirk Cousins threw an incomplete pass to Dalvin Cook with Duron Harmon in great coverage and Trey Flowers generating a lot of pressure as the Patriots defense forced another punt.
Julian Edelman fielded the punt and returned it six yards, but fumbled the ball out of bounds. It’s been a rough start to the game for Edelman. Rex Burkhead started the drive with a 10-yard plunge up the middle, but lost 4 yards on the next play. Brady found James White on three-straight plays for 34 yards before Patterson ran around the end for 6 more yards. Burkhead, Michel, and White chipped in to get to the Vikings 7-yard line. Edelman picked up 5 yards to set up a third-and-1 from the goal line, but Brady was incomplete looking in Edelman’s direction as the Patriots settled for a 20-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead. The Patriots goal-to-go struggles continue.
And the Patriots special teams coverage struggles continued as the Vikings returned the kickoff to the 34-yard line. Dalvin Cook picked up 18 yards to get towards midfield, but the New England defense held firm and forced the Vikings to punt again. The Patriots now have an opportunity get the double-whammy with the ball before and after the half. Look for New England to be more conservative (ie: settle for a field goal over a touchdown) in exchange for draining more time off the clock.
The Patriots started the drive with the goal of getting past the two-minute warning. A challenge by the Vikings showed that Rob Gronkowski was short of the first down setting up a third-and-1 situation, and James White was unable to convert on a direct snap before the two-minute warning, forcing New England to punt back to Minnesota with three time outs and plenty of time for another possible score. I feel like vintage Gronkowski would have been able to fall forward for a first down.
And that’s a bad turn for New England. Cousins found Stefon Diggs for 24 yards to get to midfield and Kyle Rudolph for 23 yards to get into field goal range. Both passes were directed at Patrick Chung in coverage. Two plays later and the Vikings had a first-and-10 from the Patriots 15-yard line with 32 seconds left in the half and two time outs. Cousins found Diggs for 10 yards on a slip screen to get to the 5-yard line with 19 seconds left and one time out. Cousins found Adam Thielen for a 5-yard score to bring the score to 10-7.
The Patriots had a chance for a Hail Mary score with Brady throwing from midfield, but Brady dumped it to James White for 42 yards to come up short of the end zone and bring us to the half.
What a disastrous two-minute situation for the Patriots. Instead of adding a few points before the half, the Patriots offense came up short and the Vikings turned around and scored a touchdown of their own. Poor situational football all around by New England.
The Patriots offense hasn’t been great, but still hold a slim 10-7 lead. Tom Brady has completed 13 of 17 passes, but the vast majority of the completions have been short targets, with all 4 incompletions directed at Julian Edelman.
Tom Brady has 10 completions so far. They've traveled a total of zero yards in the air.— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) December 2, 2018
Josh Gordon doesn’t have a single target, while Gronkowski has been pretty unimportant as a receiver. The Patriots rushing attack is also lacking, with Michel, Burkhead, and White combining for 29 yards on 12 carries (2.42 YPC). It was pretty uninspiring.
The Patriots defense was outstanding outside of that two-minute drill, but we can’t discount that drive because it allowed Minnesota to get on the board. Jason McCourty and Stephon Gilmore have done a pretty good job of limiting Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen (combined 45 yards and a touchdown on 4 targets), as the Patriots have clearly decided to allow Dalvin Cook to be the heart of the Minnesota offense- Cook has 62 rushing yards on 5 attempts and has a team-high 5 receptions, but for a mere 11 yards.
If the Patriots can continue to limit the Minnesota receivers, they should be in a good position to win this game. The Patriots get the ball after the half.
Patterson returned the opening kickoff of the second half to the 36-yard line, but the Patriots offense squandered the great field position with a three-and-out, including two incomplete passes to James White. The Patriots had hoped to get the double-whammy around the half, but instead they went three-and-out on both drives. Ugly, ugly, ugly.
Fortunately, the Patriots defense is putting the team on its collective shoulder as they forced another three-and-out. Adam Thielen got a step on Devin McCourty and Jason McCourty on third down, but Cousins overthrew him. The Patriots special teams struggles continue as a holding penalty against Brandon King wiped out an excellent return by Edelman to the Vikings 44-yard line and set the Patriots up on their own 24-yard line- a 32-yard penalty.
Patriots used Obi Melifonwu on Kyle Rudolph on third-and-5. He's played in dime packages.— Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy) December 2, 2018
Sony Michel started the next drive by getting flagged for a false start, but Patterson collected a 29-yard deep pass against his former team to get to midfield to erase the penalty. Michel gained 7 yards on the next play, before Brady found Develin for 9 yards to get into field goal range. A holding penalty by Gronkowski pushed the Patriots back five yards. Brady had to find Hogan for 2 yards to convert on fourth down and keep the drive alive, but then Joe Thuney was subsequently flagged for a holding penalty of his own. That stalled the Patriots drive and Gostkowski missed the 47-yard field goal attempt wide right.
This has been an awful showing by the Patriots offense and special teams thus far. Gronkowski, Edelman, and Michel have been wildly ineffective, combining for 72 yards from scrimmage on 10 carries and 9 targets. Josh Gordon hasn’t been targeted. Yuck.
The Vikings were penalized on first down, but Cousins found Aldrick Robinson in front of J.C. Jackson on three consecutive plays to get a new set of downs by midfield. Kyle Rudolph converted another third down on a play that Bill Belichick challenged because Obi Melifonwu appeared to have broken up the reception. Dalvin Cook ran for 18 yards (I wonder if the Patriots are re-thinking their decision to make Danny Shelton a healthy scratch), but solid coverage by J.C. Jackson on two plays forced the Vikings to kick a 39-yard field goal to tie the game 10-10.
Josh Gordon is playing! Brady found him for a 24-yard catch-and-run to open up the drive and get to midfield and then found Gronkowski for 15 more yards to get into field goal range. Gronk took a major hit and got up limping and came out of the game after White ran around the left end for 12 yards. Brady subsequently found Gordon for a 24-yard touchdown to take a 17-10 lead.
Press-box announcement: Tom Brady's 508th regular-season TD pass, tying him with Brett Favre for 3rd most all-time. When including playoffs, it's 579 TDs for Brady, which ties him with Peyton Manning for most of all time.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 2, 2018
The Vikings gained five yards before ending the quarter. Minnesota will have a third-and-5 from their own 30-yard line to start the final quarter.
Trey Flowers! Flowers sacked Cousins for a 10-yard loss to start the fourth quarter and Edelman returned the punt 23-yards to get to midfield.
Brady targeted Gordon on the first play and drew a 20-yard defensive pass interference penalty. Brady connected with Edelman for 7 yards before Michel ran for 2 yards on back-to-back plays to get into the red zone. Michel collected a 7-yard reception, Gordon added 10 more yards to get to the 2-yard line, and Develin plunged in for his second score of the game to take a 24-10 lead.
Who could have known that getting Josh Gordon involved would be a good thing?
The refs are now getting involved, huh? The Patriots pretty clearly stuffed the Vikings on fourth-and-1 (Latavius Murray didn’t even get back to the line of scrimmage), but the officials called it a first down and the lack of sideline cameras meant there wasn’t enough to overturn the call on the field.
No way Murray made the first down in New England. That’s an absurd stick with the call.— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) December 2, 2018
Ball don’t lie, though, as the Vikings were flagged for offensive holding and the Patriots tackled Adam Thielen on back-to-back plays for a total of 9 yards to set up fourth-and-11 at midfield with 6:58 left on the clock. Cousins threw a short pass to Laquon Treadwell for 4 yards with a fantastic open field tackle by Stephon Gilmore and a turnover on downs.
Well that’s ugly. Tom Brady threw an interception in the direction of Julian Edelman to give new life to the Vikings. Minnesota gets the ball on the 45-yard line, down two scores with 5:25 left in the game.
That’s a turnaround! J.C. Jackson swatted the ball away from Aldrick Robinson in the end zone and into the open arms of Duron Harmon, The Closer. Patriots get the ball back on the 20-yard line with 4:41 left in the game.
Brady and the Patriots led an excellent four-minute drive to punt the ball back to Minnesota with 48 seconds left in the game. This is over.
And Jonathan Jones just intercepted Cousins with 21 seconds on the clock. Brady kneeled for no yards to drain the clock.
The Patriots win with a 24-10 final score.
Pats Pulpit Live Postgame Show: Patriots 24, Vikings 10
Welcome to the Pats Pulpit Live Postgame Show!Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Sunday, December 2, 2018
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