Crunch Time: Bucs at Vikings, Week 1

The specifics from the end-of-half situations that went a long way to deciding Tampa Bay's Week 1 road win at Minnesota.

Case study from Tampa Bay at Minnesota, Week 1

First half

The Vikings were up seven when they got the ball back on their own 14 with 4:55 left in the first half. Ideally, Minnesota would have staged a prolonged drive to get the clock inside of 2 minutes perhaps even force the Bucs to burn a timeout or two. Instead, the Vikings run three plays, gained 9 yards and punted.

Tampa Bay started on its own 39, 2:39 left in the half and drove 61 yards in seven plays, scoring a touchdown and tying the game 10-10 with 1:09 left. The Bucs scored so fast, though, the Vikings got the ball back with 1:09 left and all their timeouts. Minnesota got the ball to the Tampa Bay 13 only to have Kirk Cousins get picked off by rookie safety Christian Izien.

Second half

The Bucs took the lead on a field goal with just over 5 minutes remaining. The Vikes got the ball at their own 25 with 5:10 left, nearly an identical situation to the first half. They went three-and-out just like they did in the first half. The Bucs got the ball back with 3:52 remaining and never gave it back, gaining two first downs and running out the clock in a 20-17 victory.

Here’s a drive chart for each team on those end-of-half possessions with the final column showing what the opponent did on its ensuing possession:

Join the conversation

or to participate.