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5 things that stood out in Vikings' Sunday night loss to Broncos

Alexander Mattison's fumble killed momentum and the Vikings never recovered.
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The Vikings suffered a rough loss in Denver because they lost the turnover battle 3-0. And while Russell Wilson and Courtland Sutton stole the show with the winning touchdown with 63 seconds left in the game, but there was a lot more that stood out throughout the 60 minutes. Let's dive into them... 

1. Josh Dobbs the runner

Fun fact: Kirk Cousins has six rushing touchdowns in 88 games with the Vikings. Dobbs has three rushing touchdowns in three games since being traded to Minnesota after Cousins suffered a season-ending Achilles rupture. 

The Broncos did a good job of keeping Dobbs in the pocket but when he got the opportunity to escape, he made Denver pay with a 10-yard touchdown scramble to give Minnesota a 17-9 lead midway through the third quarter. 

Dobbs now has a rushing touchdown in five consecutive games dating back to his time with the Arizona Cardinals. 

2. Rushing attack hits a wall in 4th quarter

Denver entered the game with the worst rush defense in the NFL and they didn't leave it in any better shape as Minnesota racked up 175 rushing yards and averaged 4.9 yards per attempt. 

Alexander Mattison had 18 carries for 81 yards and Ty Chandler added 71 yards on 10 carries. Add in Dobbs' 21 yards and a touchdown and Minnesota had no trouble picking up chunks of yards on the ground. 

But there was a problem: The running game hit a wall in the fourth quarter. Outside of a 31-yard run by Chandler on a fake punt, the Vikings ran the ball seven times for 11 yards, including five handoffs to Mattison and Chandler going for no gain or negative yards. 

Note: Minnesota had just 95 yards of total offense after Dobbs' rushing touchdown midway through the third quarter. 

3. Alexander Mattison's slippery hands

Mattison's hands have been a problem all season. He was a prime suspect in Minnesota's awful first three weeks of the season in which they had extreme turnover problems and his fumble in the third quarter halted what was a strong drive that could've put the Vikings up by two scores over Denver. 

In Week 2 against the Eagles, Mattison coughed up the football immediately after the defense intercepted Jalen Hurts. And he had another fumble later that game that was overturned by an Eagles player lining up offsides. Then in Week 3 against the Chargers he clearly fumbled inside the 10-yard line but he was bailed out by the officials blowing the play dead. 

The fumble against Denver looked like it just slipped out of his hands. Overall, the Vikings had three turnovers and each one led to a field goal for the Broncos. 

4. The zero blitz near miss

One of the biggest plays of the game was when Russell Wilson nearly completed a touchdown pass to Jerry Jeudy on 3rd-and-goal at the 10-yard line. Wilson somehow placed a throw perfectly to Jeudy despite the Vikings sending a zero blitz that saw safety Theo Jackson run free and smack Wilson as he released the ball. Jeudy bobbled the ball and couldn't hang on, with Minnesota backup cornerback JoeJuan Williams deserving some credit for maybe disrupting Jeudy a little bit. 

If Jeudy makes that catch, Denver would've been ahead 18-17 with the extra point or two-point conversion pending. Instead, Will Lutz kicked his fifth field goal of the night and the Vikings maintained a 17-15 lead. 

Of course, none of it happens if Dobbs isn't picked off by Ja'Quan McMillan after a linebacker blew up Chandler and hit Dobbs as he attempted a pass. That gave Denver great field position to set up the zero blitz near miss. 

5. The fake punt

For a second time this season the Vikings pulled off a successful fake punt by snapping the ball directly to the up man. In this case, it was a snap to Chandler who sprinted for a 31-yard gain on 4th-and-4 from their own 31-yard line. 

It's the second successful fake punt by the Vikings this season. In Week 5, the Vikings ran a fake punt in which Chandler took the direct snap and picked up a first down. The difference was that that fake came at the 48-yard line, not way back at the 31.