Jefferson went OFF in the Vikings victory over the Bills, and showed why he’s among the best receivers in the game
The great philosopher and scholar Santana Moss once said, “Big time players make big time plays in big time games.” This idea that the star players rise to the occasion in the biggest games of the season is proven both in theory and in practice, the biggest example being Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp in the Super Bowl last year.
Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson put together one of the most impressive wide receiver performances I’ve ever seen in the Vikings 33-30 overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills. Jefferson had ten catches for 193 yards and a touchdown, and a bevy of highlights in between.
Coming out of LSU, Jefferson was seen by many as a primary slot receiver who was smoother than other receivers who might struggle on the outside against physicality. He’s emphatically put that to rest in his third year, going up and over defenders to make spectacular catches. His seven contested catches in the Bills game is by far the most in a single game this season, and even more impressive looking around the rest of the league.
Justin Jefferson had seven contested catches in yesterday's game, according to PFF. Only 17 receivers have seven contested catches the entire season.— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) November 14, 2022
One of the things that stood out about Jefferson’s game against the Bills is the ability to fight through contact at the top of his route. The Bills, despite being injured at the position, are still a group of physical corners, and Jefferson was fighting through contact at the catch point to get open and make plays after the catch. His first target was like this, on a three man dagger concept. WR KJ Osborn runs a go route to clear out the single high safety, Adam Thielen runs an over route to take away the robber, and Jefferson runs a dig behind Osborn.
This gives Jefferson a one-on-one, but the corner is being physical all the way through the route. Jefferson doesn’t let the contact faze him, makes the catch and then gets some serious yards after the catch as well.
On his touchdown catch, he shakes off the pressing corner with an outside stem and stacks him enough to create a throwing window, then goes over the DB to make the catch. An impressive overall play. He never seems open until the throw is made.
Then, of course, we have the catch that’ll go down as one of the best in Vikings history, along with the Minneapolis Miracle. 4th and 18 with the game on the line, the Bills are running Cover 2, and Jefferson runs an out breaking route from the slot and gets a one on one with the safety, and pulls down the ball with one hand. In the biggest moment of the season. A big time player, making a big time play.
Jefferson has solidified his spot among the league’s best at the position, and his ability to make big time plays has come in handy for a Vikings team that now has the Super Bowl in their sights.