Minnesota’s miraculous win over the Buffalo Bills may have cemented their status as a top tier team in the league. For the longest time, people couldn’t argue about the record, but they could with the competition. Now however, that narrative has been put to bed, and it’s mostly thanks to one of the greatest performances in Justin Jefferson’s career. One that many will look back on in the future as the game that defined his talent.
There’s an obvious note to get to, it’s important to state that Jefferson had already been a major game changer. The first drive for Minnesota was a well scripted, well executed drive that ended in a terrific contested catch by JJ that immediately set the tone for the game; Minnesota had come to play. From that point forward however, the offense would struggle to finish off drives as Buffalo kept piling on the points. All this time though, Jefferson was playing well. He was making key receptions, helping the team move the ball forward.
It wasn’t until the Dalvin Cook scamper that revitalized the offense where we really saw Jefferson bring the heat. Time and time again, Jefferson was in the right spot at the right time and was making all the catches Minnesota needed him to make. He was instrumental in the 4th quarter comeback, as it felt like all Minnesota had to do was get the ball into his hands and let him work his magic. After the CJ Ham touchdown, and Greg Joseph miss, Minnesota was down by 4 and needed to drive down the field after the Patrick Peterson interception. It was on this drive where Jefferson etched his name into football history.
What. A. Catch. There’s no explaining it, there’s no analysis of it that does it justice. Justin Jefferson simply defied the laws of physics and made one of the most clutch one-handed catches the league may have ever seen. When a ladder-climbing one hander by Stefon Diggs isn’t the best catch of the game, you know you did something right. The catch on 4 and 18 kept the drive alive and although Cousins couldn’t sneak the ball in, the defense still managed to make the forced field position to be the death sentence for the Bills as the very next play Eric Kendricks recovered a fumble in the end zone to put Minnesota in the lead by 3 with less than a minute to go. Not much to talk about with that, other than the Gabe Davis catch that wasn’t a catch, but Jefferson’s performance in OT was just as impressive as his performance in the rest of the game with multiple drive-saving catches that put Minnesota near the goal line before stuttering out and conceding for a field goal. The Patrick Peterson interception in the end zone would seal off what was one of the best team wins Minnesota’s been able to enjoy in a very long time, a lot of it thanks to Jefferson’s performance.
To end the day, Jefferson had 10 catches for 191 yards and a touchdown in what was without a doubt the game of the year. Many all-time greats have a game to point to in regards to proving their pedigree, and this game was no different. In a game against the Super Bowl favorites, with a reputation for being a fraudulent team on the line, Jefferson had the game of his life and helped the Vikings realize their aspirations as a true contender. He was an electrifying jolt to an energetic game that had everything you could ask for, including a Vikings win. There’s not much to argue, Jefferson has made his statement clear. You wanna be the best receiver in the league? Beat that.