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Minnesota Vikings 33 Cleveland Browns 16: Vikings outlast winless Browns

PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 October 2017

Cleveland Browns' Isaiah Crowell (right) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings' Anthony Harris (centre) and Minnesota Vikings' Eric Kendricks (left) (pic: Simon Cooper/PA)

Cleveland Browns' Isaiah Crowell (right) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings' Anthony Harris (centre) and Minnesota Vikings' Eric Kendricks (left) (pic: Simon Cooper/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

NFL: Minnesota Vikings 33 Cleveland Browns 16

Minnesota Vikings took their time to put away Cleveland Browns, but they are now 6–2 and 1.5 games ahead of the idle Green Bay Packers in the NFC North Division. A final score of 33–16 may have been a little harsh on the Browns (0–8 and bottom of the AFC North), but they were authors of their own misfortune by making key mistakes.

It didn’t start well for Minnesota as their opening possession ended with an interception by Joe Schobert, Case Keenum’s pass being tipped at the line of scrimmage. Two plays later, from 28 yards out, Isaiah Crowell ran for a touchdown straight down the middle. The extra point kick was no good, Zane Gonzalez hitting the right post, so it was 6–0 to the Browns.

Cleveland forced Minnesota to punt on their next possession, but Bryce Treggs muffed the reception in the swirling wind and Minnesota’s Emmanuel Lamur came away with the ball. The drive stalled and Kai Forbath kicked a 40-yd field goal.

After a succession of punts, with 2.48 left in the first half, the Vikings took the lead. A short Browns punt gave Minnesota good position and the drive ended with a 18-yard Keenum pass to Adam Thielen. The extra point by Forbath was blocked.

Cleveland’s response was rapid, two passes by DeShone Kizer, to Ricardo Louis and then to Isaiah Crowell, took them to the Minnesota six-yard line. Two plays later Kizer scored a touchdown on a one-yard quarterback sneak. Gonzalez added the extra point.

But there was enough time for Minnesota to move downfield and they finished the half with a 34-yard field goal from Forbath to go in with a one-point deficit.

On the second play of the second half, Cleveland fumbled and Minnesota again recovered the ball in Browns territory. The Vikings couldn’t score a touchdown but Forbath took the chance to retake the lead with a 43-yard field goal.

Gonzalez missed with a 35-yard field goal but then converted from 23 yards to restore the Cleveland lead, at 16–15. The lead continued to switch hands as the third quarter ended as Jerick McKinnon went in from one yard out. The position was set up by a pass interference penalty in the end zone. McKinnon then ran in a two-point conversion to make 23–16 to Minnesota.

Minnesota’s first drive of the fourth quarter was aided by three penalties, totalling 30 yards and it set them up for the score that broke the Browns’ backs as Keenum threw a four-yard pass to Kyle Rudolph.

The extra point from Forbath took Minnesota to 30 points and a two-touchdown lead. Kizer continued to struggle with the passing game – he had only 179 yards through the air for the afternoon – and the Vikings ended the Browns’ final drive with a fourth-down sack on Cleveland’s own 32-yard line.

It set up the final score of the game, a 51-yard field goal from Forbath, his fourth of the day.

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