Last year, the Minnesota Vikings had the NFL’s most unbelievable run in close games. They played in 11 one-score games in 2022 and won every single one, setting an NFL record for victories in such games. Many considered it an extreme stroke of luck for the team, especially with some of the ways they ended up winning those games.
Well, it appears that late-game luck hasn’t carried over to 2023. In their Week 1 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Vikings—as 5-point home favorites—lost what has to be an extremely frustrating debut.
The Vikings offense never had a chance for any late-game heroics. After punting the ball away to the Buccaneers down 20-17 with 3:52 left, the Vikings never got the ball back. Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield helped generate three first downs, bleeding all the Vikings’ timeouts and allow the Bucs to kneel away the rest of the clock.
Mayfield came up with two huge third-down plays on the drive. First, a third-and-2 scramble where Mayfield lowered his shoulder to force his way beyond the sticks.
On the ensuing set of downs, Mayfield rifled a pass to Chris Godwin, who made this phenomenal grab to ice the game.
Our favorite formation ♥️ pic.twitter.com/O4hSRjhEvd— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 10, 2023
What a change in fortunes for the Lions. The Vikings, who won the NFC North with a 13-4 record last year, may not have the magic they had last year. Meanwhile, Mayfield—who had a big hand in why Detroit didn’t make the playoffs after his poor performance against Seahawks in Week 18—makes amends to Detroit fans.