Thanksgiving can include plenty of household arguments, but some particularly loud ones might have come after a would-be New England Patriots touchdown that loomed large in a 33-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Tied at 23-23, the Patriots appeared to score a go-ahead touchdown on a pass from Mac Jones to tight end Hunter Henry in the red zone at the 6:44 mark of the third quarter. It was an impressive-looking catch, with Henry acrobatically catching the ball behind his body and holding it as it hit the ground.
Unfortunately for Henry and the Patriots, the officials decided to take a closer look at that moment when the ball hit the ground.
What followed were the kinds of instant replay where two people can see something completely different. Some argued Henry managed to keep his hand under the ball, others believed the ball touched grass, which would have turned the touchdown into an incomplete pass as Henry bobbled the ball after contacting the ground.
The play was called a touchdown on the field, but the officials saw enough to be comfortable reversing the score. The incomplete pass left the Patriots with fourth-and-goal, leading to a Nick Folk field goal.
The turn of events was a boon for a Vikings defense that was struggling one week after getting its doors blown off by the Dallas Cowboys. Up to that play, Jones was 20-for-25 for 278 passing yards and two touchdowns through the air.
A momentum swing followed, with the Patriots posting back-to-back three-and-outs on their next two drives as the Vikings’ pass rush finally started getting to Jones.
That four-point swing ended up being rather important, as the Patriots found themselves driving into Vikings territory down 33-26 with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. They could have attempted a game-tying field goal had the score been 33-30, but instead had to go for a touchdown.
That drive finished with an ugly turnover on downs. They would get the ball back with a minute left and timeouts, but a sack of Jones and a few in-bounds tackles drained the clock before they even reached midfield.
Vikings bounce back with huge performance from Justin Jefferson
Of course, the Patriots’ loss was much more than just one questionable call.
The biggest factor was Minnesota star receiver Justin Jefferson, who more than doubled the team’s scoring output from last week’s ghastly loss to the Dallas Cowboys with a touchdown on the first drive. The All-Pro wide receiver finished the game with nine catches, 139 receiving yards and a touchdown on 11 targets.
Some of those catches were the biggest plays of the game, like this one on the Vikings’ go-ahead touchdown drive after the Henry play:
He threw an 11-yard pass, too.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins finished 30-of-37 for 299 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception, his first three-touchdown performance of the season. That was exactly what the Vikings needed after last week’s ugliness, but their defense giving up a season-high 382 passing yards to Jones might be a smidge concerning.