Forbath’s Six Field Goals Give Vikings 24-16 Win over Ravens
October 22, 2017

Six field goals for Kai Forbath were enough that it didn’t matter that he missed the point-after on the only Minnesota touchdown of the game as the Vikings beat the Baltimore Ravens 24-16 to up their record to 5-2 and take over first place in the National Football Conference North Division.

Facing a team from the American Football Conference North Division, where Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer spent six years, Zimmer said he knew it was going to be a grind. “The teams there are always tough defensively.” Zimmer said he challenged his special teams, and knew if the defense stopped the run and prevented third-down conversions, the Vikings could stop the Ravens, who dropped to 3-4.

The first half belonged to the kickers with long field goals—including a 57-yarder by Baltimore’s Justin Tucker—and kickoffs that were too long to be returned. The punters contributed, too, included the Ravens’ Sam Koch, who boomed one 61 yards. Forbath prevailed 3-2 over Tucker on field goals, giving Minnesota a 9-6 halftime lead.

A 35-yard run by Latavius Murray on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter set up another Forbath field goal for a 12-6 lead. Zimmer commented on the “physicality of Murray,” who has a slashing style as a runner and is known for getting additional yards after contact.

Murray showed that on the next Minnesota line, bursting through the line and avoiding a tackle by safety Tony Jefferson for a 29-yard touchdown.

Tucker cut the lead to 18-9 with a 47-yard field goal, but Forbath connected on two more in the fourth quarter to open up a 15-point lead.

The Ravens finally reached the end zone on a 13 yard pass from Joe Flacco to Chris Moore, but the clock hit 0:00 as the pass was in the air, and all Baltimore could do was kick the extra point to end the game with a 24-16 win for Minnesota.

Minnesota pressured Flacco, who completed 27 of 39 passes but for only 186 yards. His longest was 23 yards. Even though Flacco got rid of the ball quickly to avoid the rush and the Vikings quit blitzing in the fourth quarter to work the clock, the Vikings had five sacks, including two by end Everson Griffen.

Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum had better protection and completed 20 of 31 passes for 188 yards and one interception. The pick came on the Vikings first play from scrimmage after Marcus Sherels put the team at the Baltimore 36 with an 46-yard punt return. Keenum fired down the right sideline to Laquon Treadwell, who was covered by Brandon Carr. Treadwell tipped the pass in the air, and Carr corralled it at the 2 and returned to the Baltimore 35.

Minnesota looked as if it got the ball back on the second play as Mike Wallace caught a short pass and coughed the ball up. Xavier Rhodes recovered for the Vikings, but safety Andrew Sendejo was called for unnecessary roughness. Baltimore retained possession and got 15 yards on the penalty. Wallace was helped off the field, went through a concussion protocol, and did not return. The Ravens got to the 30 and settled for a 48-yard field goal from Tucker for their only lead of the game.

Forbath tied the score with a 52-yarder and put the Vikings ahead with a 52-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Minnesota and Baltimore tied a National Football League record with nine field goals in a game.

The Vikings outgained the Ravens 357 to 208 in yards from scrimmage. Murray had 18 carries for 113 yards. Alex Collins, with 30 yards, was Baltimore’s leading rusher. Kyle Rudolph and Adam Thielen each had five receptions for the Vikings. Jarius Wright had 54 yards on 3 catches, two of them acrobatic grabs.

Baltimore’s next game is Thursday, and Tucker was perturbed by a question about how the rest of the Ravens can regroup, something that wouldn’t be a challenge for a kicker. “Well, that’s a pretty annoying assumption that as a specialist I can just go out there and kick a ball.”

The Vikings now go to London to face the Cleveland Browns. Zimmer said the team would leave after practice on Wednesday, a day earlier than most teams playing the London game. “I’m either going to look real smart or real dumb,” he said of this decision.

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