Things started off with a bang for the New England Patriots (6-5) offense on Thursday night. Mac Jones and Co. were hot out of the gate, scoring 26 points in the first three quarters, but that was it. The offense sputtered in the final quarter and a half as the New England defense couldn’t slow down Justin Jefferson and the Vikings offense.
In the end, New England’s last chance fell short as they lost 33-26.
Here’s everything you need to know from the Thanksgiving contest.
Thursday 24 November at 20.20 ET | US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis MN | Broadcast Information | Inactive
Minnesota got the ball first to start Thursday night’s contest and immediately went to work. Cousins found Johnny Mundt for 13 yards, then immediately went to Justin Jefferson on a quick screen for another seven — a Jon Jones facemark penalty added 15 more yards. After Cousins found Thielen for 16 yards, Minnesota called the trick when Jefferson found Thielen for another first down. Three plays later, Cousins found his superstar receiver streaking across the field for an early score. [Patriots 0 : 7 Vikings]
Trailing early, Mac Jones and the Patriots’ offense quickly answered Minnesota’s scoring. Starting under center, Jones wasn’t phased by a muffed snap and hit Jakobi Meyers downfield off play-action for 26 yards. After an RPO run by Damien Harris for seven yards and an extra carry for four more, Mac found Henry for a four-yard gain before ripping a pass downfield between the safeties to Nelson Agholor for a 34-yard touchdown. [Patriots 7 : 7 Vikings]
After a fast start from both offenses, the Patriots defense collapsed on their second drive. Facing a third-and-one after a six-yard catch by Jefferson and three-yard carry by Dalvin Cook, Cousins’ third-down pass intended for Jefferson was broken up (and almost intercepted) by Jonathan Jones.
New England turned to Rhamondre Stevenson on their next drive as the back put together a five-yard carry and two-yard catch to start the drive. On third-down, Jones’ quick pass to Stevenson was a little high but fell incomplete, leading to a punt.
After allowing an opening first-down, the Patriots’ defense found their successful script. By blowing up Cook’s second-down run to put Minnesota in a third-and-long, New England was able to get after Cousins and force an errant pass — which was intercepted by Jonathan Jones.
Starting at the Minnesota 17-yard line after the interception, New England’s red zone woes continued. A designed run to Kendrick Bourne on second-down was stopped for a loss of seven yards. Jones’ third-down pass to Agholor missed the sticks, leading to a 34-yard field goal by Nick Folk. [Patriots 10 : 7 Vikings]
Back with the ball and facing a third-and-seven, Kirk Cousins delivered a strong anticipation ball to TJ Hockenson along the right sideline for a 14-yard conversion. Two plays later, Cousins ripped a play-action pass across the middle of the field to Jefferson for a 21-yard gain. Minnesota then moved into the red zone after running backs Alexander Mattison and Dalvin Cook picked up a pair of first downs. Facing a third-and-15 after Matthew Judon drew a team penalty, Cousins’ pass to Adam Thielen fell short. Greg Joseph’s 30-yard field goal was good to cap a 14-play, 72-yard drive. [Patriots 10 : 10 Vikings]
New England started just outside midfield on a 46-yard kick return from Marcus Jones, who picked up right where he left off. Stevenson then got the drive started with a 14-yard run, but just missed picking up an extra third-down through the air several plays later. Nick Folk then connected on a 46-yard field goal. [Patriots 13 : 10 Vikings]
The Vikings started their next drive on the ground, but Jahlani Tavai plowed through the line to stop Cook for a two-yard loss. Facing a then third-and-12, an offside by Judon set up Minnesota for a third-and-seven. Cousins then aired one out downfield to who else but Jefferson, who hauled it in for 37 yards. Two plays later, Cousins again found Jefferson for 17 more yards. Out of the two minute warning, Cousins found TJ Hockenson along the goal line for a touchdown. However, Greg Joseph pushed the extra point to the right. [Patriots 13 : 16 Vikings]
With 1:30 left in the half, Mac Jones went into action. He first found Stevenson in the left flat for five yards before Hunter Henry broke loose for a 22-yard gain. However, Henry didn’t get out of bounds and New England had to burn one of their remaining timeouts. Jones then connected on back-to-back passes to DeVante Parker for 30 combined yards, but then gave himself up on the field and New England was forced to burn its final timeout. Jones then found Agholor for 13 yards to set up New England at the 5-yard line, but they had just nine seconds left after being forced to burn their two timeouts earlier. On their one play, Jones’ goal line pass to Kendrick Bourne fell incomplete. Nick Folk then hit a 23-yard field goal. [Patriots 16 : 16 Vikings]
With two seconds left in the half, Kirk Cousins knelt.
After an upbeat first half, the Patriots faced an opening drive on third-and-one. Without play-action, Jones found DeVante Parker on a shallow cross for a 10-yard conversion. New England then faced another third-and-shot, which Jones again converted by finding Jakobi Meyers across the middle of the field for 13 yards. Two plays later, New England called play-action power — after running the power twice earlier this drive — and Jones found Henry for a 37-yard catch and run touchdown. [Patriots 23 : 16 Vikings]
Minnesota immediately answered Henry’s touchdown when Knee Nwangwu returned the kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. [Patriots 23 : 23 Vikings]
Back on the field immediately, Mac Jones continued to act for New England. Jones found Stevenson and Agholor to start the drive for 17 combined yards, then got a crown out of bounds to DeVante Parker for a 40-yard gain three plays later. On third-and-goal at the Minnesota six-yard line, Jones found Henry on an out route for another score, but it was ruled incomplete after a lengthy review. Nick Folk hit a 25-yard field goal to give New England another lead. [Patriots 26 : 23 Vikings]
Injury report: RB Damien Harris (thigh) is questionable to return.
On their first offensive possession of the second half, Cousins found Cook through the air to convert a short third-down. On the next play, Cousins connected with Thielen for three more yards, but Jonathan Jones’ second facemask penalty of the day tacked on another 15 yards. Just short of midfield on a ensuing third-and-seven, Myles Bryant dropped in man coverage, leaving Jalen Reagor wide open for a 25-yard gain. Several plays later, Cousins’ pass fell incomplete to Theilen, but Bryant was flagged for unnecessary roughness when he hit a falling Thielen in the back. With another set of downs at the 11-yard line, Cook gained two yards before Josh Uche quickly hit backup left tackle Blake Brandel and brought Cousins down for a sack. On third-and-17, the pass fell incomplete, leading to a 36-yard field goal. [Patriots 26 : 26 Vikings]
New England’s first drive of the fourth quarter did not bring the same success that the last few have had. A 1-yard pass to Stevenson started the drive, followed by an incompletion to Nelson Agholor. On third-and-nine, Jones was forced right and lobbed one up to Jakobi Meyers, who just fell incomplete. Michael Palardy returned to Minnesota.
Quickly back on the field after a 14-play drive, Minnesota turned to Dalvin Cook, who picked up four yards on the ground, but then lost three yards on a screen blown up by Ja’Whaun Bentley and Raekwon McMillan. On third-and-nine, a false start penalty pushed Minnesota back into a third-and-14, where Cousins’ pass to Hockenson went short of the sticks. On the punt, Pierre Strong was flagged to run into the punter to give the Vikings a first-down. Two plays later, Cousins connected with Jefferson downfield between Jonathan Jones and Devin McCourty for a 36-yard completion. After using a timeout, Cousins hit Adam Thielen on the next play off play-action for a 15-yard touchdown. [Patriots 26 : 33 Vikings]
Now behind, New England’s offensive struggles remained. Facing a third-and-one, Jones looked downfield to Hunter Henry, who ended up on the ground. Henry looked for a hold while Jones looked for a hand to the face in the backfield, but neither was called. Palardy’s punt return to Minnesota went only 31 yards.
With over eight minutes left, the Patriots defense did their job. After surrendering a first down, Cousins’ second-down screen was beaten by Jalen Mills for a four-yard loss. On third-down, Cousins’ pass fell incomplete, leading to a punt.
Injury update: RB Damien Harris (thigh) was downgraded to out.
Trailing by seven with 4:21 left, Mac Jones found Kendrick Bourne for a 14-yard gain. After an incompletion, Stevenson broke off a screen pass for 40 yards. Things went south when Jones was sacked on third-down to set up a fourth-and-16. On fourth-down, Jones’ pass downfield to Nelson Agholor fell incomplete.
After the turnover on downs, Minnesota handed off to Dalvin Cook three straight times. New England held him to just one total yard.
With 53 seconds left and no timeouts, Mac Jones and the Patriots offense took the field needing a touchdown. Jones then took a first-down sack before connecting with Bourne and Meyers. But without timeouts, it didn’t matter. [Patriots 26 : 33 Vikings]