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Week 9: What happened in Falcons home loss to the Vikings

ATLANTA — The Minnesota Vikings did not hold a lead over the Atlanta Falcons until the fourth quarter of their Week 9 matchup inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but that's when it mattered most. Vikings won, 31-28.

Below is how every game recap this 2023 season will be broken down by quarter for right-at-the-buzzer consumption, starting with a note that Minnesota won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Atlanta's ball to start.


The first play of Taylor Heinicke's tenure as the Falcons starting quarterback was a handoff to running back Bijan Robinson, who gained 2 yards. Then, Heinicke completed his first pass attempt, a 3-yarder to running back Cordarrelle Patterson. Heinicke's opening drive fell flat five plays later, and the Falcons punted from their own 47-yard line.

When the Falcons starting defense then took the field, a new face was amid the unit. Defensive lineman Kentavius Street started his first game in Atlanta. The Falcons acquired Street this past Monday in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles.

After a Vikings three-and-out, the Falcons offense came back out. This time, its drive ended in a 52-yard field goal by kicker Younghoe Koo. Heinicke had a standout 31-yard pass to wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge to get the Falcons within at least three-point striking distance.

The Vikings were able to answer mainly thanks to a 47-yard pass completion from quarterback Jaren Hall to running back Alexander Mattison. The Falcons red-zone defense stopped five plays within the 20-yard line, though, so the Vikings special teams had to settle for a 19-yard field goal.

(NOTE: With less than 30 seconds in the quarter, Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall was ruled out with a concussion. Josh Dobbs assumed the position. The Vikings just acquired Dobbs on Tuesday in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals.)

Scoring summary:

Falcons: Younghoe Koo 52-yard field goal … 3-0, ATL

Vikings: Greg Joseph 19-yard field goal … 3-3, TIE

End Q1: 3-3, TIE


Dobbs' first series as the Vikings signal caller did not go well. First of all, the Vikings drive began at their own 7-yard line. Running back Cam Akers lost 2 yards on a run, then Campbell threw an incomplete pass. On a third-and-12 play, Dobbs got sacked by Falcons defensive lineman Calais Campbell in the end zone for an Atlanta safety.

(NOTE: That sack marked career No. 102 for Campbell. It was his third career safety.)

The Falcons then added more points to their score, but again via Koo rather than the offense. Koo made a 43-yard field goal to extend Atlanta's lead.

Offense was then practically handed a touchdown by the defense. Falcons linebacker Arnold Ebiketie sacked Dobbs, who fumbled. Linebacker Lorenzo Carter scooped the loose ball and returned it 19 yards to the Minnesota 1-yard line.

Still, the Falcons couldn't breakthrough. There was a 5-yard false-start penalty on offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom, a 5-yard completion from Heinicke to tight end Jonnu Smith, a no-gain run from Smith and then running back Tyler Allgeier lost 4 yards on a carry. So, Koo made a 23-yard field goal to gain something out of the turnover.

(NOTE: With less than five minutes remaining in the quarter, Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson and wide receiver Mack Hollins are both questionable to return with ankle injuries. Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn was ruled out with a concussion after getting carted off the field.)

The sole touchdown of the first half came in the final minute when Dobbs connected a 2-yard pass to running back Alexander Mattison in the end zone.

Scoring summary:

Falcons: Calais Campbell safety … 5-3, ATL

Falcons: Younghoe Koo 43-yard field goal … 8-3, ATL

Falcons: Younghoe Koo 23-yard field goal … 11-3, ATL

Vikings: Josh Dobbs 2-yard pass to Alexander Mattison; Greg Joseph PAT … 11-10, ATL

Halftime: 11-10, ATL


Three plays into the Vikings' opening drive, Street secured a turnover. It looked like an interception but was ruled a recovered fumble. Dobbs was sacked by Falcons defensive lineman David Onyemata and lost the ball in the process. It went airborne, and Street caught it.

Atlanta's offense had a close call -- with a deep pass from Heinicke to Hodge -- but it was ruled incomplete rather than a touchdown. The Falcons called upon Koo yet again. He made a 54-yard field goal, which ties his career-long distance.

Vikings added another field goal of their own as an answer, from 32 yards out.

Finally, the Falcons offense scored a touchdown on the next drive. Smith caught a pass from Heinicke and turned it into a 60-yard scoring reception.

(NOTE: That was Smith's second touchdown reception this season and the 19th of his career.

Atlanta's lead was then erased. Dobbs scored on an 18-yard run, then Minnesota converted on a 2-point attempt with a pass from Dobbs to wide receiver Trishton Jackson. That tied things up for the first time since the first quarter.

And then Heinicke threw an interception, picked off by Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy Jr., who returned it 18 yards to the Atlanta 24-yard line. That set Minnesota well for the final period.

Scoring summary:

Falcons: Younghoe Koo 54-yard field goal … 14-10, ATL

Vikings: Greg Joseph 32-yard field goal … 14-13, ATL

Falcons: Taylor Heinicke 60-yard pass to Jonnu Smith; Younghoe Koo PAT … 21-13, ATL

Vikings: Josh Dobbs 18-yard run; Dobbs 2-point pass to Trishton Jackson … 21-21, TIE

End Q3: 21-21, TIE


On the second play of the last quarter, the Vikings pulled ahead for the first time. They took over with a 31-yard field goal.

The Falcons did not respond, compiling a six-play drive for 30 yards afterward that ended with a punt.

(NOTE: With 12 minutes and change remaining, Falcons cornerback Dee Alford is questionable to return with an ankle injury. Then, with less than six minutes remaining, Falcons safety Richie Grant's status was announced as questionable as he's being evaluated for a potential concussion. He was cleared to return moments later.)

But after their defense kept the Vikings from padding their new lead, the Falcons offense showed up. The unit pulled together a 13-play, 79-yard scoring drive to regain the advantage. Running back Tyler Allgeier powered most of that, carrying the ball eight times for 42 yards. His 5-yard touchdown run capped off the action.

(NOTE: The Falcons now have 28 points, which sets a new season high.)

Sunday's outcome basically came down to a Minnesota fourth-and-7 play at the Atlanta 34-yard line with 52 seconds left. The Falcons needed to stop the Vikings from picking up a first down. Atlanta failed. Dobbs did so with a 22-yard run.

The Vikings then ultimately pulled ahead when Dobbs hit wide receiver Brandon Powell with a 6-yard pass in the end zone.

Scoring summary:

Falcons: Tyler Allgeier 5-yard run; Younghoe Koo PAT … 28-24, ATL

Vikings: Josh Dobbs 6-yard pass to Brandon Powell; Greg Joseph PAT … 31-28, MIN

Final: 31-28, MIN

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings during Week 9.

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