The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) came into this game looking to not only fortify their hold on the No. 6 seed, but to also continue their pursuit of the No. 5 overall seed with a win over the Minnesota Vikings (6-7).
The Bucs got off to a slow start, but were able to make enough plays to win the game at the end of the day. Let’s revisit the highlights from the Week 14 matchup.
Dalvin Cook draws first blood
The Bucs stopped the Vikings on 3rd and 7, but an offside penalty from Ndamukong Suh enable the Vikings to continue their second offensive drive of the game. Cook capped off the 14-play, 79-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run, but Dan Bailey missed the PAT.
Tom Brady finds Scotty Miller deep to take the lead
The first half went about as bad as you can imagine for the Bucs until Brady found Miller deep for the Bucs’ first touchdown. This is a helluva throw from Brady.
Ronald Jones II extends Tampa Bay’s lead with his sixth rushing touchdown of the year
Penalties on Harrison Smith and Jeff Gladney helped make this possible, but regardless, RoJo caps off the drive with a one-yard touchdown and Ryan Succop hits the PAT to put the Bucs up, 14-6, with :44 seconds left in the first half.
Rob Gronkowski makes it a three-score game
The Bucs put together a beautiful drive to start the second half that resulted in a Brady-to-Gronk touchdown. Succop missed the PAT, but the Bucs still led, 23-6, with 10:09 left in the third quarter.
The Vikings answer right back....eventually
There was no doubt that Minnesota needed a touchdown at this point. They had to work for it, but Irv Smith Jr. capped off a 8:33, 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to make it a 23-12 game. Minnesota went for two after the touchdown and Jefferson plowed through two Bucs defenders to make it a 23-14 game with under two minutes left in the third quarter.
Jason Pierre-Paul gets the strip-sack and the recovery
Dan Bailey’s third miss and a 48-yard field goal from Succop made it a 26-14 game with just a few minutes left in the game. The Bucs defense came through when JPP not only recorded the strip-sack, but also recovered the fumble to officially put the Vikings away.