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The Vikings Came Back

Greg Joseph #1 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates with teammates after hitting the game winning field goal in overtime against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

You don’t have to know much about football—or anything, really—to know that it is unlikely for a team to overcome a 33-0 halftime deficit. Do you need some stats to prove it? Sure. Numberfire said the Colts, up 33-0 over the Vikings yesterday, had a 98.72 percent chance of winning at halftime. In regular-season history, the largest deficit a team had ever overcome was 28, when the 49ers were down 35-7 at halftime in a 1980 game against the Saints and won. There's also The Comeback—or The Choke—when backup QB Frank Reich led the Bills back from a 35-3 third-quarter deficit, but that was in a 1993 playoff game. At the time, the Bills had been to consecutive Super Bowls; the 49ers, though they went 6-10 in 1980, were quarterbacked by Joe Montana and coached by Bill Walsh.

Yesterday, Minnesota outdid them all and rallied for a 39-36 overtime victory over the Colts. The win clinched the NFC North and a home playoff game for the Vikings, and it kept their hopes alive for the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC. Unlike those 1980 49ers, the Vikings do not have a young Montana under center. And everything did not even go right for Minnesota during the comeback. Justin Jefferson left the game briefly with an injury in the fourth quarter. Kirk Cousins threw a pick not long after trying to target Jalen Reagor. The Vikings punted on their first drive after halftime; they didn’t score until 8:22 remained in the third quarter. Down eight in the fourth, the Vikings turned it over on downs in their own end. The Colts had the ball, in overtime, with two minutes to play—and the game did not end in a tie, or a loss for the Vikings. Minnesota won!

Down 33-0 at halftime, Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson told the offense, “We only need five touchdowns.” Only! It was enough. The Vikings scored five touchdowns, plus one two-point conversion, in the second half. They won it in overtime. As you can see from this report, their fans were quite excited. I especially like how eloquent the person in the full Vikings costume was while talking with this reporter after the game. This is what makes football great.

Another thing that makes football great are halftime shows where mascots play football against children. They had that yesterday in Minnesota too.

Is it even legal for an adult in a mascot costume to truck a kid like this? Whatever the legality, I have to imagine that this is what inspired the Vikings to victory. Nobody said that after the game, and the players were inside the locker room when it happened. I just want it to be true.

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