NFL at Wembley: Minnesota Vikings beat Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27 at Wembley
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 30/09/13 8:51am
Adrian Peterson ran in two touchdowns for Minnesota
The Minnesota Vikings got their first win of the season with an exciting 34-27 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley, who slipped to 0-4 to see their play-off chances all but ended already.
Stand-in quarterback Matt Cassel threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns, both to Greg Jennings, while reigning MVP Adrian Peterson ran in two scores, one a brilliant 60-yarder, in his 140-yard total.
Rookie running back Le'Veon Bell also ran in two TDs for Pittsburgh and Ben Roethlisberger threw for 383 yards and one touchdown, but he was hurried and hassled all night by the Vikings and had to fight for every yard.
Four times the Vikings led by ten points, and by the end of the third quarter they were 17 points in front, but they looked like a winless team as they failed to close out the game and allowed Pittsburgh a chance to get back in it.
The Vikings beat the Steelers
Roethlisberger hit Jerricho Cotchery for a touchdown, Shaun Suisham kicked a field goal, and Roethlisberger got the ball again and drove his team down to the six-yard line with a TD needed to force overtime - but the Vikings finally got over the line by sacking him and forcing a fumble to end the game.
Cassel had a few nerves as he started his opening drive standing in for Christian Ponder, but he managed to get points on the board on his first drive thanks to a huge 54-yard field goal by Blair Walsh.
Cassel then fired a short pass to Jennings who showed he still has plenty of gas in the tank as he bobbed and weaved 70 yards for the first touchdown of the game for a 10-0 Vikings lead.
Rookie Bell then showed his potential with an eight-yard run capped by a somersault into the end zone, but the master then showed why he is reigning MVP with Peterson breaking off for blistering 60-yard run - the 13th TD run of 60 yards or more in his illustrious career.
Pittsburgh kicked a field goal, and looked to get back on terms when forcing Cassel to fumble, but Simpson recovered the ball for a first down - and that enabled Walsh to slot a 37-yarder to restore the ten-point lead at half time at 20-10.
The Steelers came out firing in the second half with a six-play drive of 80 yards being finished off by Bell's one-yard burst over the line into the end zone for 20-17.
With both defences struggling all night, it was no surprise that the Vikings got into the end zone again and it was also no surprise that Peterson was the man to do it with his seven-yard run following a 51-yard reception from Jerome Simpson - Cassel's favourite receiver on the night.
The Vikings, receiving great support as the home team at Wembley, then finally muscled up some defence with Chad Greenway picking off Roethlisberger for the first interception of the game.
Harrison Smith hails Wembley
Two plays later Cassel fired a 16-yard touchdown to Jennings, with the veteran wide receiver looking like he is settling in after his off-season move from rivals Green Bay.
34-17 was a healthy lead, but the way the Vikings have played this season it still didn't look enough, and when Roethlisberger hit Cotchery and Suisham kicked another field goal the gap was down to just seven, and with the Vikings forced to punt they left themselves open to a trademark Roethlisbger comeback.
And it was certainly on the cards as Big Ben twisted and turned his way out of trouble to get his team down to the six yard line, but just as he looked to force overtime, he coughed the ball up on the sack and the game was done.
The Vikings breathed life into their season although it's still an uphill task from 1-3, but Pittsburgh sinking to 0-4 means they are all-but out of the running already - something almost unheard of in the Steel City.