Vikings’ Justin Jefferson saves the day with ‘remarkable’ catch, 193 yards in win at Buffalo


			Vikings’ Justin Jefferson saves the day with ‘remarkable’ catch, 193 yards in win at Buffalo
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — When Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson returned to the locker room after Sunday’s dramatic victory at Highmark Stadium, he watched his game-saving catch on video.

It looked even better than he had initially thought.

In Minnesota’s 33-30 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills, Jefferson caught a 32-yard pass from Kirk Cousins on fourth-and-18 at the Vikings 27 on the first play after the two-minute warning in regulation to keep a drive alive. Jefferson went high in the air in an attempt to grab the ball, and Bills cornerback Cam Lewis got two hands on it before the Vikings star ripped it away with one hand while falling to the ground.

“For sure,” Jefferson said of the catch looking even better on video. “Just the way my body … I went up, him catching the ball in his hands and me taking it away from him. I mean, the whole play was crazy.”

The Vikings didn’t score on that drive when Cousins was stopped on a sneak on fourth-and-inches from inside the 1-yard line with 49 seconds left. But Bills quarterback Josh Allen fumbled on the next play and Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks recovered it in the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown. Minnesota eventually went ahead for good on Greg Joseph’s 33-yard field goal with 3:42 left overtime.

“That was probably the craziest catch I’ve ever seen,” Kendricks said of Jefferson’s grab. “I felt like the guy had two hands on it, but J.J. had it underneath, and he just snatched it away with one hand.”

Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell also was amazed by the reception.

“It was one of the most remarkable catches I’ve ever seen,” O’Connell said. “He’s such a special, special player. … He’s showed up time and time again when we’ve needed him.”

The Vikings sure needed Jefferson on Sunday against the powerful Bills, and he delivered. Jefferson caught 10 passes for a career-high 193 yards and a touchdown.

Jefferson caught a 22-yard touchdown pass on Minnesota’s first drive for a 7-0 lead. And he continued to come up with big receptions the rest of the game.

“I didn’t think that he could surpass what I already felt about him as a player, but he just keeps outdoing himself,” fellow Vikings receiver Adam Thielen said.

Jefferson joined the Vikings after helping lead LSU to a 15-0 season in 2019 and a national championship. He said the greatest game of his career remains LSU’s 42-25 win over Clemson in title game, but that Sunday’s win, in which the Minnesota came back from a 17-point third-quarter deficit, is also right up there.

“Definitely top two for sure, just off us being down and going up against a team like that,” Jefferson said. “It shows a lot how much this team is together and how much we fight together.”

The game had extra meaning for Jefferson since the Vikings for the first time faced wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who played for them from 2015-19 before being traded to Buffalo. In the trade, Minnesota received the No. 22 pick in the first round of the 2020 draft, which they used to select Jefferson.

Diggs had 12 catches Sunday for 128 yards.

“We talked after (the game),” Jefferson said. “It was just us congratulating (each other) on the performance. Both of us had great games, but we had a better one. But I love Stef. I love his game.”

The two agreed after the game to swap jerseys, although Jefferson said it was too cold to do it immediately. So they will make the exchange through the mail.

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