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NFC North Week 8: Vikings, Lions continue streaks

The winning streak that so often eluded the Minnesota Vikings last season is back in their grasp.

The Arizona Cardinals can vouch for that.

Za’Darius Smith had three sacks to help a red-hot defense against Kyler Murray and the Vikings beat the Cardinals 34-26 on Sunday in Minneapolis for their fifth straight win.

Dalvin Cook rushed for a season-high 111 yards and a touchdown, Kirk Cousins ​​returned two scores and ran for another, and the Vikings (6-1) remained undefeated at home in coach Kevin O’Connell’s first year.

“I thought we were a very good football team last year,” Cousins ​​said. “We just couldn’t find the inches in too many games. Why we found them now, I don’t know.’

Murray passed for 326 yards and a season-high three touchdowns, including a one-handed grab from DeAndre Hopkins with 47 seconds left in the second quarter, but he threw two interceptions in the second half that cost the Cardinals (3-5). .

In last year’s action-packed game in Arizona, Murray had three touchdowns and two interceptions in a 34-33 victory. Last season, the Vikings lost eight games by eight points or less. All five of their series wins have come within that margin.

“It feels good,” Smith said. “I just hate that people still don’t talk about us, but that’s okay. We will continue to be outsiders.”

Hopkins had 12 receptions for 159 yards in his second game back from the suspension, Rondale Moore had seven receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Murray’s speed kept the Vikings’ active defense honest all game.

The Cardinals took a 17-14 lead on Murray’s touchdown pass to Zach Ertz early in the third quarter, but the lead lasted just 3:26.

The Vikings drove the other way for Alexander Matheson’s touchdown. They then marched 31 yards in four plays for a touchdown after Murray’s dangerous heave under pressure in his own end zone was tackled by Harrison Smith.

Patrick Peterson, who had been trashing his former team all game, was so excited that he turned to the Cardinals sideline and started dancing while Smith was still returning.

“It’s built into us,” said Peterson, who had three passes defensed. “We’re just waiting for that moment where we can go and get the ball.”

Cousins ​​connected with KJ Osborne on third-and-2 from the 5 for a 34-26 lead that Greg Joseph failed to score when his extra point hit the post. That touchdown was set up by a fumbled punt return by Greg Dortch at his 25.

“We just crushed ourselves, just did too many things that we can’t do,” Cardinals quarterback JJ Watt said. “Against a good football team, they will beat you.”

The Cardinals drove down midfield on each of their final three possessions in the final half of the fourth quarter, trailing by one point — and never got closer than 37.

Murray’s throw to Ertz was well behind and was deflected by Kamryn Bynum. Then former Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks almost pulled In Benjamin to the marker on fourth-and-4 to turn the ball over with 2:39 left.

Finally, with the Cardinals running out of timeouts on their final drive, Murray was sacked by Za’Darius Smith on 44th down with 10 seconds left and was tackled by Harrison Phillips for a big loss on the final play. to finish the game.

“We are right there. It’s not like we’re getting blown up,” Hopkins said. “This is one of the best teams in the NFL and we had a chance to win today.”

Said Cousins: “You just have to keep earning your way. The difference between 6-1 and 1-6 is quite subtle.”

Cardinals: Five starters are out with injuries: LG Max Garcia (shoulder), LT DJ Humphries (back), OLB Dennis Gardeck (ankle), RB James Conner (ribs) and C Rodney Hudson (knee).

vikings: DE Dalvin Tomlinson (calf) left in the third quarter. … Za’Darius Smith (knee) has been out twice for treatment with a serious injury, but has returned both times.

Cardinals: The Seattle Seahawks will host their first of three straight games against NFC West foes on Sunday.

vikings: Visit the Washington Commanders on Sunday, Cousins’ first trip to face his former team since coming to Minnesota in 2018.

Dolphins linebacker Tua Tagovailoa walks off the field after the win against the Lions, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Detroit.

Tua Tagovailoa stepped back, planted his feet and looked through three options before finding a teammate.

Tagovailoa’s cool, calm development led to his third touchdown pass, an 11-yard return to Mike Gesicki late in the third quarter that halted the Miami Dolphins’ rally from a double-digit deficit in the second half for a 31-27 win over the Lions on Sunday at Detroit.

“It was the first time we’ve run a route like that on that concept, and that’s rare you see,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said. “It was #4 in the progression.”

Tagovailoa usually doesn’t need a third or fourth read because he has a couple of tough-to-stop pass game options.

Tyreke Hill had 12 receptions for 188 yards and Jalen Waddle had eight catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Hill and Waddle have combined for 1,688 receiving yards, setting a Super Bowl-era record for two teammates through the first eight games of a season.

Is the duo feeling unstoppable?

“Always,” Hill said.

In the fourth game, Hill had over 160 receiving yards, one shy of the NFL record set by Roy Green of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1984.

Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) runs over Lions cornerback Amani Oruvarie (24) and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez (44) during the first half Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Detroit.

The Dolphins (5-3) have won two straight since Tagovailoa returned from a concussion. The freshman was 29 of 36 for 382 yards with three touchdowns,

The Lions (1-6) have lost five straight, falling short of a season that began with higher expectations, at least in part because of their appearance on HBO’s preseason series “Hard Knocks.”

“We couldn’t stop their receivers,” said second-year coach Dan Campbell, the Dolphins’ former interim coach. “We didn’t beat them at the line and that was part of the game plan. We didn’t want to turn it into a track and field meet, and it was a track and field meet.”

The Lions scored on all five of their first-half possessions to take a 27-17 lead after scoring a total of six points in the previous two games.

The Dolphins opened the second half with a touchdown that ended when fullback Alec Ingold made a snap that fooled the defense for a 1-yard score.

The Dolphins took their first lead late in the third on a pass from Tagovailoa to Gesicki, who was wide open in the end zone, for his fifth straight field goal.

Lions quarterback Jared Goff was 27 of 37 for 321 yards with a touchdown. Goff could have had a second touchdown pass late in the first half, but Josh Reynolds fumbled a pass in the end zone and the Lions settled for a field goal. The difference of four points turned out to be critical.

“It turned out to be significant,” Campbell said, adding that a lot of fines also proved to be key.

Goff had an opportunity to convert a fourth-and-1 from the Miami 35 on his final drive, but he threw a deep punt to Reynolds and missed the opportunity.

“I wish I had thrown the ball better,” Goff said. “If I had left him outside, maybe we would have had a chance.”

D’Andre Swift was healthy enough to play after missing three games and had a 7-yard touchdown reception that gave the Lions a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Jamal Williams had two touchdowns for the Lions, who led 21-7 after he scored for the second time early in the second quarter.

“In the second half, we stopped with penalties and turnovers,” Campbell said.

Dolphins: LG Liam Eichenberg suffered a game-ending knee injury in the second half.

Lions: TE Brock Wright left the game with a concussion and CB AJ Parker (hip) was injured on the play.

Dolphins: Visit the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Lions: Take on the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Ford Field.


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