KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Vikings saw their four-game win streak come to an end on the final play of regulation Sunday.
Minnesota was dealt a 26-23 loss to Kansas City as the Chiefs hit a game-winning, 44-yard field goal as time expired. There was a sense of frustration from the Vikings locker room. While the team felt there were plenty of positives, they lamented the negatives that led to the loss.
1. Missed opportunities
Missed chances for points were at the forefront, as the Vikings missed an extra point and also couldn't find the end zone at the end of the first half in the red zone.
Trailing 10-7, the Vikings threw the ball six straight times with less than 45 seconds remaining. Kirk Cousins completed just one of the attempts, and Dan Bailey had to settle for a 29-yard field goal.
Instead of taking the lead, the game was tied at the half.
Punter Britton Colquitt uncorked a number of pretty directional punts that kept Kansas City's dangerous return game at bay. But his final attempt traveled just 27 yards, allowing the Chiefs to start their final possession at the Minnesota 45-yard line.
The Vikings played well enough to win for most of Sunday's contest. But a few critical mistakes helped Minnesota fall to a 6-3 record.
2. Defense hurt by explosive plays
The Vikings defense talked all week about limiting big plays by a high-powered Chiefs offense that didn't have quarterback Patrick Mahomes available.
Kansas City scored just a pair of touchdowns on the day, but both were explosive plays.
The Chiefs opened the scoring when speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill got behind the secondary for a 40-yard scoring catch.
The backbreaker came in the third quarter when Minnesota allowed a 91-yard touchdown run to Chiefs running back Damien Williams.
Entering the game, the longest run allowed by the Vikings defense all season was 29 yards. Take away the 91-yard run, and the Vikings allowed 56 yards on 17 carries.
"They're going to make plays sometimes. And we made big plays," said Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter. "But that's a mistake that we made, and we won't let it happen anymore."
3. Third Downs Make a Difference
The Vikings limited the Chiefs to 4-for-13 on third downs and showed why teams try to avoid third-and-longs against Minnesota.
The Chiefs were 0-for-4 on third downs of 8 or more to gain and allowed sacks on two of the plays. Kansas City also struggled when it faced third-and-3 or fewer, going 1-for-5. The Chiefs were able to convert a fourth-and-1 before kicking a field goal in the first half.
For whatever reason, the Chiefs excelled when it was between 4 and 7 yards to gain, going 3-for-4. Those conversions included a 9-yard reception that was four plays before Kansas City's 40-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill in the first quarter, as well as gains of 11 and 13 on plays that set up the tying and winning field goals.
Minnesota's offense was 5-for-15 on the day and had a similar pattern of success. The Vikings converted one of three opportunities when needing 3 or fewer yards (a 3-yard TD pass to Kyle Rudolph). Minnesota was 3-for-5 on when needing 4 to 7 yards and only 1-for-7 when needing eight or more.
4. Penalties on O-Line halt momentum
The Vikings offensive line was flagged three times on three separate drives in the third quarter, accounting for all three infractions that were accepted by the Chiefs.
Minnesota overcame a holding call on Garrett Bradbury on the opening drive of the second half en route to taking a 16-10 lead with 11:51 left in the third quarter.
The Vikings were unable to cover two other calls that negated first downs.
A screen pass from Cousins to Irv Smith that gained 14 on a second-and-7 and advanced the ball to the Kansas City 29 was wiped off because officials ruled that Bradbury was downfield too early. Rather than an opportunity for a field goal or better, the Vikings punted.
An illegal use of hands to the face penalty against Josh Kline negated a 7-yard completion to Ameer Abdullah that would have advanced the ball to the Minnesota 49 and converted a third-and-4.
View game action images as the Vikings took on the Chiefs at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.
5. Plenty of Purple at Arrowhead
Whether it was in the parking lot before the game, or throughout a thriller in Week 9, Vikings fans made their presence felt in Kansas City.
There was plenty of Purple throughout the 73,615 in attendance, with SKOL Chants breaking out multiple times during the game.
And in a game that featured four lead changes — including two in the final quarter — it seems as if both fan bases were competing against each other.
Vikings fan would start a loud SKOL Chant, only to have Chiefs fans respond with their signature chop.
Minnesota ultimately came away with a loss Sunday, but Vikings fans surely impressed on the road.