Jefferson has 12 receptions and 1 memorable pass in the victory of the Vikings

Receiver Justin Jefferson’s smile didn’t get much bigger after his latest record — a career-high 12 receptions for 154 yards in the Vikings’ 29-22 win over the Bears on Sunday — than when he he mentioned his pitch in the locker room. After the match.

“I love it,” said Jefferson. “An opportunity for me to show my arm a little bit. I wish I had scored.”

‘He’ is running back Dalvin Cook, who was on the receiving end of a trick play Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell called to get off a rare long third down against the Bears. Jefferson caught a screen pass and immediately threw the ball to the other sideline, where Cook ran for 23 yards.

Even Jefferson’s passes, like those of Kirk Cousins, were “automatic” for the Vikings in the first half. Cousins ​​began by completing 17 straight passes, including eight to Jefferson for 122 yards as he built a 21-3 first-half lead.

“If you go back and look at those 17 pitches, I think you’ll see that they’re very automatic,” Cousins ​​said. “That says a lot about the plan, the coaches and my teammates.”

Jefferson’s latest monstrous effort, the third time he has reached at least 147 receiving yards in five games, came courtesy of a game plan that routinely had Jefferson running wide against the Bears’ defense. Jefferson broke Randy Moss’ team record for receptions in a player’s first three seasons. He now has 236 catches in 38 games.

“I’m trying to be like him,” Jefferson said of Moss. “It’s definitely great to have the seasons that I’ve been having but, you know, we’ve got to get to the playoffs, get to that Super Bowl. That’s the main goal of our season. Not the accolades and the touchdowns and all that.” .”

Jefferson found success against what the Bears tried in the first half. He had four receptions for 55 yards on the opening touchdown drive, including a 14-yard run against Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon’s soft zone coverage and a 16-yard snap against Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon’s man-to-man coverage. Bears cornerback Jaylon Jones. Chicago played without its top corner Jaylon Johnson due to a quad injury.

After Jefferson’s 10-catch first half, the Bears moved to deep zone coverage almost exclusively to get the long ball. He was limited to just two catches for 16 yards in the second half.

“They were trying to disguise it,” receiver KJ Osborn, “but at the end of the day, they were trying to get to a coverage two or a [cover] six, some kind of [deep] zone. He wasn’t much of a man. They were able to make some plays, keep everything in front of them, but we were able to get that last drive down.”

Jefferson touched the ball just once on the Vikings’ go-ahead touchdown drive, which required 17 plays and seven minutes of play. Even though the offense pulled off a victory against a divisional opponent, Jefferson was left wanting more for the team after they faltered down the stretch.

“We can’t just have a touchdown in the second half,” said Jefferson, who is the fifth NFL player with at least 12 receptions in a game this season. “I feel like our defense played really well the whole game. We just have to help them out a little bit more.”

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