Sun Nov 17 4:52pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer
Players: Joe Flacco, Kirk Cousins, Kyle Rudolph, Brandon McManus, Ameer Abdullah, Brandon Allen, Andy Janovich, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Troy Fumagalli, Tim Patrick, Courtland Sutton, Drew Lock, Noah Fant
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is sacked by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Shelby Harris (96) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph celebrates after catching a 32-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) celebrates with teammate Bisi Johnson, right, after catching a 54-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) fumbles as he is sacked by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Shelby Harris (96) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. The Broncos recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Denver Broncos fullback Andy Janovich (32) scores on a 1-yard touchdown run in front of Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks, right, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Vikings erased a 20-0 halftime deficit with touchdowns on each of their four drives in the second half, fending off the Denver Broncos by forcing three straight incomplete passes in the end zone over the final 10 seconds to preserve a 27-23 victory on Sunday.
This was the first time in five years - a span of 100 games including the playoffs - that an NFL team won after trailing by 20 or more points after two quarters.
Kirk Cousins went 29 for 35 for 319 yards and three scores for the Vikings (8-3), overcoming a system-wide failure in the first half that included a lost fumble of his during a sack that led to one of three field goals by Brandon McManus for the Broncos (3-7).
Cousins hit Stefon Diggs for a 54-yard touchdown pass that brought the crowd noise to a deafening level and cut the lead to 23-20. McManus went wide right from 41 yards on his fourth attempt, and Cousins found Kyle Rudolph wide open for a 32-yard score on the next possession with 6:10 left. Both of those throws by Cousins came off bootleg rollouts to his left, the type of passing play he has long thrived on.
Brandon Allen, the fill-in quarterback after the injury to Joe Flacco and the impending debut of rookie Drew Lock, admirably drove the Broncos to the cusp of a comeback of their own with a drive that included three fourth-down conversions.
With first-and-goal from the 4, but only 10 seconds and no timeouts remaining, Allen had three chances at the winner. Trae Waynes knocked down the first one, Jayron Kearse had a hand on the second one and the last try for Noah Fant sailed past the rookie tight end after he and Kearse tussled for position.
The Broncos have not scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter for six straight games. The last team guilty of such a severe second-half collapse was Atlanta on Oct. 26, 2014, when a 21-0 lead at home turned into a 22-21 victory for Detroit. According to Sportradar, this was only the 14th time in NFL history that a 20-plus-point halftime deficit turned into defeat.
The Vikings hardly could have played more poorly over the first two quarters. They punted on their first four possessions and already trailed 10-0 when they finally got a first down, finishing with just 47 total yards in the first half. With the deficit at 17-0, Cousins hit Diggs for a 34-yard gain that was wiped out by a holding penalty on left tackle Riley Reiff, who had a particularly difficult time against the pass rush.
The Broncos drove 90 yards for their first touchdown, a third-and-goal throw to tight end Troy Fumagalli for his first career score. They spiced up their play calling with repeated success, using a 38-yard reverse pass by Courtland Sutton to fellow wide receiver Tim Patrick. Sutton kept the ball on two more end-around plays during that drive, including a fourth-and-1 run from the 7 to set up their second touchdown.
One break went Minnesota's way, an ominous end to Denver's momentum. The kickoff after the field goal that followed the fumble by Cousins was fumbled and lost by Ameer Abdullah at the 17 by Josey Jewell with 60 seconds left. Allen's pass for Noah Fant on the next play was intercepted by Andrew Sendejo, preventing the Broncos from taking a four-score lead.
Broncos: FB Andy Janovich, who bulled his way into the end zone on a third-and-goal run from the 1 in the second quarter, hurt his elbow while being tackled at the end of a short reception and did not return.
Vikings: SS Harrison Smith hurt his hamstring in the fourth quarter and didn't return. LB Ben Gedeon suffered a concussion in the first quarter and was done for the day. Four other starters were already inactive: Adam Thielen, RG Josh Kline (concussion), NT Linval Joseph (knee) and FS Anthony Harris (groin).
Broncos: Facing a stretch of four road games in five weeks that began here in Minnesota, the Broncos play at Buffalo next Sunday. They've lost their last two road games against the Bills in 2017 and 2011.
Vikings: After the second-latest bye week on the schedule in team history - in 1991, they were off the weekend of Dec. 1 - the Vikings return to action on Dec. 2 at Seattle. This is their second straight year with a Monday night game on the road against the Seahawks in December.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor has been ruled out for Monday Night Football due to a knee injury. Agholor being out means the Eagles will rely even more on tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. The only fantasy-relevant wide receiver on the Eagles will be Alshon Jeffery, who has played well in the past against the Giants and is coming off his best game of the season. Rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward will fill out the rest of the wide receiver depth chart in Agholor's place.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard won't play on Monday Night Football due to a shoulder injury. This was expected, as Howard still has not been cleared for contact since originally suffering the injury. Miles Sanders will be on the field a whole lot more than most Eagles running backs have been this season, with Jay Ajayi and Boston Scott backing him up.
Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith (pectoral) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Dec. 9. The team also signed free-agent LB Devante Bond (Buccaneers). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Jacksonville Jaguars LB Jake Ryan (hamstring) will miss some playing time because of a hamstring injury he suffered in Week 14, according to head coach Doug Marrone.
Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (knee) will miss the rest of the 2019 season because of the knee injury he suffered in Week 14. Head coach Pete Carroll said Penny is dealing with a significant injury, but he is still waiting for the MRI results.
Fantasy Spin: Chris Carson will be the main option in the running game with Penny out and should receive plenty of carries each week. Carson is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues no matter the opponent. C.J. Prosise likely will receive a bigger role in the offense and could be a flex option in some deeper leagues.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) still has a chance to play this season even if the team is eliminated from playoff contention, according to head coach Frank Reich.
Fantasy Spin: Hilton has missed the last several games because of the calf injury and is uncertain for the final three games of the season. Fantasy players can monitor the situation but probably should look for other options and keep Hilton on the bench.
Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (ankle) is still considered day-to-day, according to head coach Zac Taylor.
Fantasy Spin: Green has not played this season and suffered a setback a few weeks ago. Fantasy players should avoid Green until he is able to return to the practice field.
Updating a previous report, Indianapolis Colts PK Adam Vinatieri (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Dec. 9.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett had a good matchup in Week 14, and he took advantage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He finished the day 19-of-36 for 251 yards and two touchdowns. He also added four carries for 26 yards. Brissett has been without a number of receiving weapons this year due to injuries, but he was able to utilize the weapons he did have on Sunday afternoon. Brissett's matchups get difficult down the stretch, and he'll be trending downward with the Colts playoff hopes taking a major hit with the latest loss.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Marcus Johnson took advantage of a great matchup and opportunity in Week 14 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a number of other pass catchers out, Johnson was quarterback Jacoby Brissett's second-favorite target on the day. He caught three of his seven targets for 105 yards and a touchdown. As long as wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) remains out, Johnson will likely continue to see work while the Colts' coaching staff looks to determine their key pieces for the future.
Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack, in his return from a hand injury, was inefficient in Week 14 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he was able to get into the end zone to salvage his day. He finished with 13 carries for 38 yards and a touchdown. He didn't add anything in the passing game, but, in a big shootout, he wasn't utilized a ton. In the final weeks of the season, Mack won't be counted on for a ton of production, but he's still giving you an RB2 level of play on an every week basis.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal has shown the ability to be a great player this season, and he showed that again in Week 14. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he caught five his nine targets for 74 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett consistently relies on Pascal as his top wideout option every week, and it's just a matter of him completing the catches to be a good play in fantasy. His matchups are less-than-stellar down the stretch, but he still has the volume every week to give him consistent upside.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle exploded in Week 13, but he struggled in a big way in Week 14 despite a great matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He caught two of his six targets for 27 yards, and he failed to get into the end zone. Doyle gets the volume to be a consistent fantasy tight end, but he didn't convert on it this week. He'll be a consistent option down the stretch, but he'll never be a high-ceiling player like some of the other guys at the position.
Washington Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan (calf) will not play in Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles due to the calf injury he suffered in Week 14 versus the Green Bay Packers, according to interim head coach Bill Callahan.
Washington Redskins RB Derrius Guice (knee) will not play in Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles due to the knee he suffered in Week 14 versus the Green Bay Packers, according to interim head coach Bill Callahan.
Indianapolis Colts PK Adam Vinatieri (knee, leg) is scheduled to undergo surgery to address issues with his meniscus and patellar tendon Wednesday, Dec. 11. He is expected to need between four and six months of rehab.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (abdominal) announced on social media he will miss the rest of the season due to an abdominal injury he suffered in Week 14 against the Carolina Panthers.
Fantasy Spin: Ridley's second pro season will end with 63 catches for 866 yards and a team-high seven touchdown receptions - almost an exact replica of his production over 16 games as a rookie. There's no indication yet whether or not this injury will be a concern for him in 2020. The Falcons will move forward with Julio Jones and Russell Gage as their starting receivers for the remainder of this season. Jones will remain his usual WR1 self, while Gage is now worthy of flex consideration in shallow leagues.
Updating a previous report, Jacksonville Jaguars DJ Chark (ankle) will be 'week-to-week or day-to-day' with an ankle injury, according to head coach Doug Marrone.
Fantasy Spin: The always-popular non-update from the head coach, as there is a pretty significant difference between "week-to-week" and "day-to-day." At any rate, owners probably should not expect to have Chark available to them in Week 15 and perhaps the rest of the season. His absence would leave Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley as Gardner Minshew's top targets, and both receivers would be worth considering as low-end starters in fantasy if Chark's injury does sideline him the rest of the way.
Updating a previous report, Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (hand) did not suffer a broken bone in his hand in Week 14 and is expected to be fine for Week 15 against the Denver Broncos, according to head coach Andy Reid.
Fantasy Spin: Reid did admit to changing up his play-calling in the second half of Week 14 to account for his quarterback's injury, so owners should keep an eye on his practice participation throughout the week. Assuming he gets something close to regular work during the week, Mahomes should be trusted as a high-end QB1 in Week 15.