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Stats That Stood Out: Vikings-Buccaneers in Week 14

The Vikings moved the ball well against the Buccaneers, particularly in the ground game, but drives stalled at critical junctures in a damaging 26-14 loss at Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Backbreaking penalties assessed on Minnesota's defense that led directly to points for Tampa Bay didn't help.

Here are three stats that stood out presented by GEICO:

1. Hitting longshot plays

The Vikings lost the lead — for good — on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Scotty Miller with 7:41 left in the second quarter.

The well-placed throw from Brady beat 1-on-1 coverage by Chris Jones on a post route; Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Vikings were out of position.

According to Next Gen Stats, the pass ranked third in terms of improbability with a completion likelihood of 22.8 percent (does not include Monday's game).

Brady also recorded the seventh-most improbable completion of the week on a 29-yard pass to Mike Evans that defeated coverage by Cameron Dantzler down the sideline. According to NGS, that play had a completion probability of 25.2 percent.

That catch occurred on Tampa Bay's opening possession of the second half, moving the ball to the Minnesota 6-yard line and setting up another touchdown that made it 23-6 with 10:09 left in the third quarter.

The Vikings did not have a completion in the 20 least likely completions.

2. Blazing fast

Buccaneers rookie Antoine Winfield, Jr., left his fingerprints on Tampa Bay's victory against his father's former team.

The University of Minnesota product's most impressive play was a sack and forced fumble that Kirk Cousins recovered.

According to NGS, Winfield needed just 2.06 seconds to "get home" for the fastest sack of Week 14 (topping Carolina's Jeremy Chinn by 0.41 seconds!) and the season (DeMarcus Lawrence's Week 12 sack in 2.1 seconds is next).

The sack was part of a horrendous stretch for the Vikings that included an incompletion forced by pressure on first down, Winfield's play that caused a loss of 12 and a sack by Shaquil Barrett for another loss of 8 on third-and-20. Dan Bailey's 46-yard field goal pushed wide right, joining earlier misses from 36 and 54 yards.

3. Unloaded box

Dalvin Cook became the first opponent to rush for 100 or more yards against Tampa Bay since Week 9 of the 2019 season.

He finished with 22 carries for 102 yards and a 1-yard touchdown run (his career-high 14th of the season, which is tied for the NFL lead).

The Buccaneers, however, were able to reduce the effect of Cook and the overall offense by only committing eight or more defenders to the box on 22.73 percent of his plays, which ranked 15th among qualifying rushers (minimum 10 carries). That was one spot ahead of Minnesota's commitment to loading the box against Ronald Jones II (22.22 percent).

The relative containment of Cook, who seemed ready to spring one at multiple times but complained about field conditions, allowed the Buccaneers to commit more resources on preventing big passing plays by the Vikings.

It was a stark contrast to the approach by Jacksonville in Week 13 when the Jaguars placed eight or more defenders in the box on 53.13 percent of Cook's plays (third-most in Week 13).