What Went Right, What Went Wrong

What went right, wrong at Vikings

COIN TOSS: Steelers win the toss and elect to defer. Vikings get the ball first.

8:28 p.m. – What Went Right: The Vikings first possession lasted six plays, and Justin Jefferson was involved in three of them and Dalvin Cook was involved in two. Jefferson caught two passes for 13 yards and came close to making a circus catch in the end zone on a deep ball, and Cook carried twice for 24 yards. But the drive ended when Greg Joseph was wide left on a 53-yard field goal attempt, and the Steelers took over at their 43-yard line with 11:43 left in the first quarter.

8:43 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Steelers first possession mirrored the Vikings' first possession in that both ended with missed field goals, and with both misses coming wide left. After getting one first down, a 6-yard completion to Chase Claypool turned into a loss of yardage when Claypool was flagged for unnecessary roughness after getting into a foolish confrontation with MacKensie Alexander. That put the Steelers behind the chains, and the best they could manage as a result was Chris Boswell's missed 49-yard field goal.

Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 14 game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium

8:51 p.m. – What Went Wrong: What happened to the run defense the Steelers showed vs. the Ravens? Dalvin Cook opened the drive with a 30-yard run through a gaping hole, and then Alexander Mattison followed that with a 14-yard run. Two plays later, a 14-yard touchdown pass to Justin Jefferson capped the five-play, 61-yard drive. When Greg Joseph missed the PAT, the Vikings had a 6-0 lead with 3:31 left in the first quarter.

8:56 p.m. – What Went Wrong: Not a good first quarter for Chase Claypool. After a foolish penalty that helped sabotage the Steelers first possession, he had the ball punched out of his hands by Harrison Smith while stretching for extra yardage, but that "fumble" was overturned on replay, and it set up a third-and-1. But Claypool failed to get a block on defensive back Xavier Woods on the short-yardage running play, and Woods dropped Najee Harris for a 1-yard loss to force a punt.

FIRST QUARTER: Vikings 6, Steelers 0

9:07 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Vikings again started with good field position, this time at their 43-yard line after a 41-yard punt and a 17-yard return, and they took advantage to take a 9-0 lead with 14:43 left in the second quarter thanks to a 38-yard field goal by Greg Joseph. When the first quarter ended, Dalvin Cook had five carries for 73 yards.

9:19 p.m. – What Went Wrong: Way too easy. The Vikings continued to carve up the Steelers defense both running and passing, and their lead grew to 16-0 with 9:55 left in the second quarter when Dalvin Cook capped a five-play, 78-yard drive with a 29-yard touchdown run during which he made it all that way untouched.

9:26 p.m. – What Went Wrong: A personal foul penalty on the Vikings on the PAT meant the kickoff came from the Minnesota 20-yard line, but the Steelers messed up the potential for good field position for an illegal double-team block on the kickoff return that cost them 15 yards and had the offense start at the 19-yard line. A pass to Chase Claypool gained four yards, and then a Najee Harris run lost 2. On third down, safety Harrison Smith came in clean and sacked Ben Roethlisberger for a loss of seven to force a punt.

9:38 p.m. – What Went Wrong: Sixty yards on 12 plays, and it was 23-0 with 2:20 left in the first half, and after Dalvin Cook crossed the goal line after his 7-yard touchdown, he had rushed for 144 yards on 13 carries (11.1 average) and two touchdowns. As a team, the Vikings had rushed for 167 yards on 17 carries (9.8 average).

HALFTIME: Vikings 23, Steelers 0

10:13 p.m. – What Went Wrong: On their first possession of the second half, the Steelers went three-and-out for the fourth time in the game. The half started with a 33-yard kickoff return by Ray-Ray McCloud that was nullified by a holding penalty on Miles Killebrew. Then when an offside penalty on D.J. Wonnum set up a third-and-2, a false start penalty on Trai Turner gave those 5 yards right back, and then Sheldon Richardson sacked Ben Roethlisberger for an 8-yard loss. Pressley Harvin's 41-yard punt was returned 15 yards by Dede Westbrook.

10:20 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Vikings extended their lead to 26-0 on a 42-yard field goal by Greg Joseph set up largely by the previous possession that ended with the Steelers punting out of their own end zone. There was 9:36 remaining in the third quarter.

10:26 p.m. – What Went Wrong: One play after Najee Harris broke a 23-yard run for a first down at the Steelers 42-yard line, Ben Roethlisberger's attempt at a quick slant pass to Diontae Johnson was intercepted by Bashaud Breeland, and his 18-yard return gave the Vikings the ball at the Steelers 30-yard line with 8:22 left in the third quarter.

10:32 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Vikings cashed in the field position resulting from the interception with a six-play, 23-yard drive that ended with a 25-yard field goal by Greg Joseph that upped the Steelers deficit to 29-0 with 6:15 left in the third quarter. Dalvin Cook started off the drive with two runs for a combined 21 yards, which gave him 179 yards on 18 carries to that point in the game.

10:43 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers got on the scoreboard when a 3-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Najee Harris capped a 10-play, 75 yard drive. Harris rushed for 19 yards on three carries in addition to the touchdown catch, and James Washington made a combat catch for 29 yards over Kris Boyd, who later drew a taunting penalty that gifted the Steelers another 15 yards.

10:55 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers scored a second touchdown on a seven-play, 42-yard drive capped by another Najee Harris touchdown, this one a 1-yard run that made it 29-14 with 14:49 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Steelers got the ball back quickly after their first touchdown when Ahkello Witherspoon intercepted a Kirk Cousins pass on the first play after the Vikings received the kickoff following Harris' first touchdown. Chase Claypool make an important combat catch for 11 yards to convert a third-and-4, and the Steelers also were helped by a pass interference penalty on Cameron Dantzler that put the ball at the 1-yard line.

11:06 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers scored a third touchdown in a five-minute span on a 30-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to James Washington with 12:11 left in the fourth quarter that made it 29-20 following a failed 2-point conversion attempt. The defense set things up with a three-and-out sealed when Minkah Fitzpatrick broke up a third-down pass for Justin Jefferson. The third touchdown capped a three-play, 69-yard drive, with the big play being a 37-yard hookup with Diontae Johnson.

11:13 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Vikings ran only three plays on their possession following the Steelers touchdown, but the third of those plays was a 62-yard pass to K.J. Osborn for a touchdown that restored Minnesota's lead to 36-20 with 10:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.

11:24 p.m. – What Went Right: Ahkello Witherspoon's second interception of the game and his 41-yard return gave the Steelers the ball at the Vikings 21-yard line. After a 6-yard completion to Ray-Ray McCloud, Ben Roethlisberger found Pat Freiermuth for the touchdown. Then a 2-point conversion pass to Diontae Johnson brought the Steelers to 36-28 with 4:14 left in the fourth quarter.

11:44 p.m. – What Went Wrong: So close. So very close. Ben Roethlisberger moved the Steelers from their own 4-yard line to a first down at the Vikings 12-yard line with three seconds left. One last chance to make one play to have a chance to tie the game and get it into overtime after being down, 29-0. Roethlisberger stood in the pocket and delivered a near-perfect pass to Pat Freiermuth, who had the ball in his hands in the end zone only to have it knocked out when he got sandwiched by the Minnesota safeties.

FINAL SCORE: Vikings 36, Steelers 28