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Ben Goessling

Sports reporter | Vikings

Ben Goessling covers the Vikings for the Star Tribune. He has covered the team since 2012, and has previously covered the Twins, Wild, Washington Nationals and prep sports.

After graduating from Apple Valley High School, Goessling majored in accounting and journalism at the University of Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two daughters. He coaches high school track and field and cross country, plays electric guitar and enjoys volunteering at Hope Academy in the Phillips neighborhood.
Recent content from Ben Goessling
Vikings rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy said he’s made progress on his footwork and goes over play names with his fiancée most nights. “It’s a

For Vikings rookie McCarthy, team's summer break won't be a vacation

Quarterback J.J. McCarthy plans to spend most of the five weeks before training camp in Minnesota, working out at the team facility and learning the playbook.
Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson, center, talks with coach Kevin O'Connell, right, at Jefferson's first spring workout with the team on Tuesday.

How the Vikings determined Jefferson's value, set up for the future

Vikings Insider: Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O'Connell came to Minnesota with a plan. They've arrived at the juncture that will determine whether it worked.
Vikings quarterback Sam Darnold hands off to running back Aaron Jones during a drill at this week's mandatory minicamp.

New Vikings QB Darnold getting a lot of help in learning team's offense

Vikings quarterback Sam Darnold is surrounded by the most offensive talent he's had in his checkered NFL career and has inherited some tricks for understanding coach Kevin O'Connell's scheme.
”I’m going to make sure that I’m the leader of this team and we’re working to where we want to go, which is a world championship," Vikings rec

'I'm the leader of this team.' Jefferson era with Vikings gets fresh start.

Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson returned to team headquarters for a mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, discussed his record $140 million contract extension and practiced with his new QBs for the first time.
Justin Jefferson (18) of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after a first down catch in the second quarter Thursday, November 24, 2022, at U.S. Bank Stadium

Vikings' Jefferson agrees to record-setting contract

Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson's four-year, $140 million extension averages $35 million per season, making him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL. The agreement wrapped up nearly a year of negotiations on the eve of the team's minicamp this week.
Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) demonstrates a drill Wednesday while rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) looks on.

Vikings' Addison building connections with new QBs

With Justin Jefferson away from the Vikings and T.J. Hockenson injured, the second-year receiver has been the team's top target this spring.
Vikings guard Dalton Risner (66) lifts Vikings wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) as they celebrate Powell's touchdown in the fourth quarter at Mercedes

Vikings bring back veteran guard Dalton Risner

Dalton Risner, who started 11 games last season, found common ground with the Vikings on a new deal that adds to Minnesota's offensive line options in 2024.
Green Bay Packers' Robert Tonyan (85) celebrates a touchdown reception with Malik Taylor (86) during the first half of an NFL football game against th

Former Packer joins Vikings' crowded tight end room

With T.J. Hockenson still recovering from his torn ACL, the Vikings added another passing target in Robert Tonyan, who should be familiar to fans of NFC North teams.
Kirk Cousins is scheduled to run back onto the U.S. Bank Stadium field on Dec. 8 — as the quarterback of the Falcons.

Vikings 2024 schedule: Cousins returns to Minnesota in December

The full 2024 NFL schedule was released Wednesday. Here is a game-by-game look at the Vikings season, which begins at the Giants, ends in Detroit and includes nearly 22,000 air miles.
Vikings quarterback J.J. McCarthy hands off the ball to running back DeWayne McBride during a rookie minicamp practice May 10.

Vikings fans could get an early preseason look at McCarthy

The Vikings play only one preseason game at home, on Aug. 10, and it could provide a rare glimpse of rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy.
New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers stands on the field before an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, in East

Vikings will play Aaron Rodgers in October, Caleb Williams in November

The Vikings will face an old nemesis in London in October and have their first game against new Bears QB Caleb Williams in November.
Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell, right, will face his former quarterback Kirk Cousins during the 2024 NFL season. It's one of a few reunions on the Viki

Cousins, Rodgers, London: What we know about Vikings' 2024 schedule

The NFL will release the regular-season schedule Wednesday night, assigning dates, times and TV networks to the slate of Vikings opponents we've known for months. The list includes some familiar faces and places.
Vikings quarterback J.J. McCarthy said of his first NFL practice: "I was just trying to be in the present, take in the moment, and I had so much fun o

McCarthy loses bet, learns from his coach's mistake all in first Vikings practice

Vikings rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy gained a valuable and exhausting lesson about talking trash to the opposing defense.
J.J. McCarthy speaks at an introductory news conference in Eagan on Friday. One of the biggest questions once the Vikings convene next month will be h

Five questions the Vikings are facing after the NFL draft

The Vikings emerged from the NFL draft with their successor to Kirk Cousins and their pass rusher to follow Danielle Hunter. Now, they'll see how it all works.
After wrapping his third NFL draft as Vikings general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said, "I’m not sure I’ve ever been more tired, maybe outside the

Vikings roster overhaul could lead to most competitive training camp in years

Vikings Insider: From quarterback to cornerback, from both lines of scrimmage to kicker, the battle for roster spots and positions on the depth chart will be intense.
Clockwise from top left: quarterback J.J. McCarthy, edge rusher Dallas Turner, cornerback Khyree Jackson, defensive lineman Levi Drake Rodriguez, offe

Meet the Vikings' 2024 NFL draft class

The Vikings' seven draft picks included a QB of the future, a star edge rusher, a kicker and some help for the offensive and defensive lines.
The Vikings drafted Alabama kicker Will Reichard in the sixth round of the NFL draft on Saturday.

Recap: How Vikings used five picks on Day 3 of the draft

The Vikings added a cornerback, two offensive linemen, a defensive lineman and, yes, a kicker on the final day of the NFL draft.
The Vikings traded up to the No. 10 pick to draft Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who spoke at an introductory news conference in Eagan on Friday.

New QB McCarthy says Vikings 'just a perfect fit'

J.J. McCarthy's youth and relatively low usage at Michigan mean he comes to the Vikings with things to learn from a coach who's said rookie QBs benefit from time to develop.
The Vikings made two moves on draft night to select Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (left) at No. 10 and Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner at No. 1

Vikings take McCarthy, Turner in first-round bid to 'swing for a great player'

The Vikings played a big role in a wild first round of the NFL draft by making two trades so they were better position to select Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy and Alabama pass rusher Dallas Turner.
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy celebrates after their win in the national championship NCAA College Football Playoff game against Washington Monda

Vikings first-round recap: Trades yield QB, edge rusher

The Vikings traded up twice in the first round of the NFL draft and selected Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy at No. 10 and Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner at No. 17.
Among possible players for the Vikings to select in the first round of the NFL draft, from left: North Carolina QB Drake Maye, Michigan QB J.J. McCart

Vikings mock draft: seven rounds, eight picks and, yes, one quarterback

Star Tribune Vikings beat reporter Ben Goessling predicts how the team will use its nine draft picks and secure a quarterback of the future.
Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell, a former NFL quarterback drafted in the third round in 2008, is expected to select the team's quarterback of the future

Next phase of O'Connell's quarterback journey begins tonight

In the first round of the NFL draft tonight, the Vikings could make franchise history with a choice coach Kevin O'Connell was hired two years ago to make.
Clockwise from left, six of the top quarterbacks in the NFL draft: Michigan's J.J. McCarthy, LSU's Jayden Daniels, Washington's Michael Penix Jr., Sou

Quarterback of the future? This Vikings mystery is about to end.

Part 6 of a series: Six quarterbacks are on the draft radar to fill both practical and philosophical needs for the Vikings.
Runners approach the finish line Monday at the Boston Marathon.

Grateful for the beast that is the Boston Marathon

Star Tribune Vikings beat reporter Ben Goessling ran his first Boston Marathon on Monday, and by the time he finished, gratitude for the experience overshadowed any disappointments.
Star Tribune Vikings reporter Ben Goessling competes in the Hot Dash 10K on March 23 in Minneapolis. He will run his first Boston Marathon on Monday.

Training for Boston Marathon during a never-ending Vikings season

Interviews, free-agent signings and NFL injuries interrupted Vikings reporter Ben Goessling's training to prepare for the race. So how did he prepare to run in today's race?
Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell, a former quarterback, said he thinks the college football landscape “needs to be cleaned up a little bit rule-wise,

How NIL and the transfer portal are shaking up the Vikings' draft strategy

This year's NFL draft includes just 58 underclassmen, the result of NIL and transfer rules that empower players to stay in college longer.
The Vikings suspended offensive coordinator Wes Phillips for three weeks, beginning April 15, after he pled guilty to a careless driving charge in Feb

Vikings offensive coordinator suspended for three weeks without pay

Wes Phillips pleaded guilty in February to careless driving after a December arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. He can return to work April 23, the week of the NFL draft.
The D.C. Defenders, right, lined up against the Seattle Dragons for the opening kickoff of the opening football game of the XFL season

NFL overhauls kickoff rules. Here's how they'll look.

The change, approved on a trial basis for 2024, comes after years of discussion over the future of the kickoff, as the NFL sought to reduce injury and increase excitement.
From the left, Vikings free agent signees Jonathan Greenard, Blake Cashman and Andrew Van Ginkel are part of an evolution of Brian Flores' defense.

Three things Brian Flores was looking for to evolve Vikings defense

When Kevin O'Connell and defensive coordinator Brian Flores met to discuss the Vikings' defense for 2024, they knew there were holes to fill in three areas.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell Monday, October 23, 2023, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • carlos.gonzale

Inside Kevin O'Connell's plan for picking Vikings' next quarterback

Private workouts, public lunches and chats with star receiver Justin Jefferson are part of the head coach's process for choosing the Vikings' quarterback of the future.
Justin Jefferson publicly supported a return for Kirk Cousins several times toward the end of last season. Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell said he talks

Vikings keeping Justin Jefferson in the loop on quarterback changes

The Vikings are once again trying to sign star receiver Justin Jefferson to a contract extension while bringing in someone new to throw him passes.
The Vikings reworked the contract of six-time Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith for the 2024 and 2025 seasons to save salary cap space.

Smith's restructured deal saves Vikings almost $12 million

The Vikings also reworked safety Harrison Smith's deal for 2025, while using void years with players such as quarterback Sam Darnold to give themselves additional salary cap space.
Giants linebacker Jihad Ward started nine games for the Giants last season and had a career-high five sacks in 2023.

Vikings add two more free-agent linebackers to restocked defense

The Vikings continued to build defensive depth and have now added seven players from other teams, including five linebackers.
Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said during a news conference Thursday they don't have to take a QB in the first round this year, but the V

The Vikings acquired the No. 23 pick in a trade. What will they do next?

Acquiring another high draft pick could indicate they'll want to move up as they try to replace Kirk Cousins at quarterback.
Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell during a news conference with General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah on Thursday at the team's training facility in E

Feelings aside, moving on from Cousins 'the right thing,' O'Connell says

Flurry of free-agent signings, quest for long-term quarterback mark a fresh chapter in partnership of Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.
After Vikings safety Harrison Smith walked off the field in the season finale in Detroit in January, he hinted at retirement.

Smith agrees to pay cut, will return for 13th season with Vikings

Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith hinted at retirement at the end of last season, but he will be back with the Vikings, who drafted him in the first round in 2012.
In his introductory news conference with the Falcons, former Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins spoke about his many personal connections with the Atlan

Cousins goes to Atlanta, says he hopes to 'retire as a Falcon'

Quarterback Kirk Cousins said he prioritized the commitment made by the Falcons over a relationship with the Vikings that was "somewhat year-to-year." His wife Julie is from Atlanta.
Kirk Cousins walks off the field after the Vikings' playoff loss to the Giants on Jan. 15, 2023, at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Cousins' contract: Atlanta agreed to do what the Vikings wouldn't

How the Falcons approached Kirk Cousins in 2024 resembled how the Vikings courted him in 2018, when they thought a quarterback upgrade was the missing link to a Super Bowl title.
Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99), here tackling Atlanta Falcons running back Tyler Allgeier last season, is heading to the Houston Texans.

Hunter hits the road, agreeing to two-year contract with Houston

According to multiple reports, Danielle Hunter is planning to sign with the Texans, moving to his hometown with a deal that makes him one of football's highest-paid edge rushers.
Sam Darnold played 10 games for the 49ers in 2023, including one start, after stints with the Panthers and the Jets, who drafted him No. 3 in 2018.

Vikings sign quarterback Darnold to one-year deal

Veteran QB Sam Darnold is seen as a short-term solution as the Vikings replace Kirk Cousins. Darnold played in 10 games for the 49ers last season.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins at Soldier Field in Chicago on Oct. 15, 2023. After he agreed to a free agent deal with the Falcons, Cousins' time wi

Cousins gets $180 million deal with Falcons, ending 6 years with Vikings

Kirk Cousins leaves the Vikings as one of the most successful quarterbacks in franchise history, after agreeing to a four-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons.
The Vikings' free agency focus? Defense. They are adding former Gophers linebacker and NFL veteran Blake Cashman (top), Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van

Vikings reinforce defense with two edge rushers, former Gophers star

On the day they lost their starting quarterback, the Vikings added edge rushers Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel and brought home former Gophers linebacker Blake Cashman.
From left, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield are the top quarterbacks available on the free agent market.

Will Vikings turn to Cousins or someone else at quarterback?

If Kirk Cousins leaves as a free agent next week, the Vikings would likely scour the free agent market for a short-term starter. Here are some available options.
Vikings tight end Johnny Mundt (86) scored the Viking first touchdown in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium, in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, De

Vikings agree to terms with tight end Johnny Mundt on new contract

Tight end Johnny Mundt, who was set to become a free agent next week, could play a larger role in the offense with T.J. Hockenson recovering from knee surgery.
Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter thrived in Brian Flores’ system, finishing with a career-high 16½ sacks, but he is set to hit the open market f

What will Vikings do if Danielle Hunter leaves?

The Vikings head into 2024 with a major need for pass rush help. Three pass rushers are set to become free agents, including Hunter, who had a career-high 16 1/2 sacks last season.
Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) is stopped by Lions defensive end John Cominsky (79) in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium, in Minnea

Vikings officially release running back Mattison

Running back Alexander Mattison is a free agent a year after signing a two-year, $7 million deal with the Vikings. The team could be in the market for someone to pair with Ty Chandler in the backfield when free agency opens next week.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) smiles wearing a chain from Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18).

10 days to go: Cousins, Vikings have placed their bets

We'll soon find out if there's a compromise, or a winner, or a new starting quarterback in Minnesota in 2024.
Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) is tripped up in the first quarter.

Vikings tell Mattison they plan to release him after mediocre 2023 season

The team delivered the news to running back Alexander Mattison on Thursday, ending his five years in Minnesota with a season in which he didn't score a rushing touchdown.
Coach Kevin O'Connell, left, and defensive coordinator Brian Flores face questions at nearly every level of the Vikings defense this offseason.

With Flores back, Vikings plan defense's next steps

Coach Kevin O'Connell was expecting Brian Flores to get head coaching interviews, but the defensive coordinator will have a big say in offseason moves in his second year with the Vikings.
Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell gave instructions to quarterback Kirk Cousins during a game in 2022. Will they still be a tandem in 2024?

New QB? O'Connell says Cousins 'knows how I feel about him.'

Talking at the NFL combine, Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell said he's been in frequent touch with Kirk Cousins. His health could complicate contract negotiations.
Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, and coach Kevin O'Connell will begin their third off season as a team at the NFL scouting combine in India

Is the Vikings' next QB awaiting them at this week's NFL combine?

The quarterback decision is a complex question for the Vikings, and it sits atop a list of pivotal decisions facing GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and coach Kevin O'Connell as they begin their third offseason together.
Marcus Dixon watched Broncos players warm up Jan. 7 in Las Vegas. He was hired to lead the Vikings defensive line on Friday.

Vikings hire former Broncos coach to lead defensive line

The Vikings added Marcus Dixon, Denver's defensive line coach, to serve the same role in Minnesota and made assistant head coach Mike Pettine their outside linebackers coach as well.
Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) went airborne picking up a first down over Cincinnati Bengals safety Dax Hill (23) in the fourth quart

T.J. Hockenson has surgery to repair ACL; C.J. Ham named to Pro Bowl Games

T.J. Hockenson had a career-high 95 receptions this season for the Vikings before he was injured Dec. 24 against Detroit.
Trainer Uriah Myrie joined the Vikings two years ago in coach Kevin O'Connell's first season.

Vikings part with head athletic trainer

Head trainer Uriah Myrie, who'd worked under Tyler Williams in the Vikings' player health and performance department, is out after two seasons with the team.
Clockwise from top left, Kirk Cousins, Danielle Hunter, K.J. Osborn, Harrison Smith, Christian Darrisaw, Jordan Hicks, Harrison Phillips and Justin Je

Who stays? Who goes? Vikings' calls on 16 players will shape the future

Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter are free agents. Harrison Smith could retire. Justin Jefferson has earned a lucrative contract extension. The Vikings face a series of franchise-changing choices.

Vikings will play home game in London during 2024 NFL season

Next season the Vikings will return to London, where they are 3-0, including a victory over the Saints in 2022.
Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, left, and coach Kevin O’Connell addressed the media Wednesday at TCO Performance Center in Eagan.

Vikings' pivotal offseason could shape franchise for next decade

Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said he 'can't run from the stakes' ahead of an offseason that starts with him intending to bring back Kirk Cousins at quarterback.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said Monday, “At this stage in my career, the dollars are really not what it’s about. At this point, structure is

As Vikings clean lockers, Cousins talks contract, desire to return

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins signaled a willingness to consider a more affordable deal and the possibility the team might draft his successor.

Vikings head to offseason of uncertainty after 30-20 loss to Lions

The Vikings finished 7-10 and out of the NFL playoffs, their first 10-loss season since 2013. They lost six of their last seven games in a season full of flaws and frustrations.

Vikings lose 30-20 to the Lions, finishing 7-10 and out of NFL playoffs

The Vikings finished 7-10 and out of the NFL playoffs, their first 10-loss season since 2013. They lost six of their last seven games in a season full of flaws and frustrations.
Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores  said this has been “one of the most rewarding seasons I’ve been a part of,” despite the defense’s

In Vikings' confounding season, they had no answers in the end

The loss of quarterback Kirk Cousins, combined with youth and injuries on defense, put the Vikings in an untenable situation they never really solved.
The Lions pressured Vikings quarterback Mullens on 36.6% of his dropbacks and sacked him four times in their game two weeks ago.

Vikings-Lions prediction: Slim playoff hopes and something to prove

The Lions are bringing "controlled fury" to the regular season finale while the Vikings have fallen to the fringes of the playoff race.
The Packers’ playoff chances are looking good after beating the Vikings 33-10 on Sunday, while Minnesota is in peril of missing the postseason headi

Vikings big question: What are they playing for in finale vs. the Lions?

Yes, the Vikings still have an outside chance at a playoff spot. But this weekend's results could also lead to a top-10 draft pick.

Home-field advantage? Vikings were as bad as the Les Steckel year

The Vikings concluded one of their worst home seasons in franchise history with a 33-10 loss Sunday.
Vikings starting quarterbacks this season in order, left to right: Kirk Cousins, Jaren Hall, Joshua Dobbs, Nick Mullens and Hall again.

Ben Goessling's Vikings-Packers prediction: Which team will stay alive in the playoff hunt?

The Vikings likely need to win their last two games to claim a playoff berth and once again will have to calibrate their offense for a different quarterback.
Kirk Cousins’ absence has loomed over the Vikings for the last two months.

As Vikings cycle through QBs, case for Cousins' return grows stronger

Vikings Insider: Kirk Cousins has a powerful advocate in Justin Jefferson, and the quarterback's absence has shown his value in Minnesota as much as his play.
Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall, shown during practice on Thursday, will start Sunday night vs. the Packers.

'No superhero ball': Vikings hand QB job back to Hall

With their playoff chances hanging in the balance, the Vikings changed quarterbacks again, returning to rookie Jaren Hall after Nick Mullens threw four interceptions last week in a loss to the Lions.
Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry made a tackle during a game against Kentucky. McKinstry will be a high pick in the NFL draft.

Vikings big question: Will cornerback again be an offseason priority?

Injuries to Byron Murphy Jr. and Mekhi Blackmon hurt the Vikings on Sunday, when Akayleb Evans was taken out of the game against the Lions.

Interceptions, injuries doom Vikings in loss to Lions; playoff hopes fade

Quarterback Nick Mullens threw four interceptions, which over shadowed a 400-yard passing day and dropped the Vikings one game out of a Wild Card spot. Another batch of injuries hit the team on offense and defense.
Lions defensive left end Aidan Hutchinson has 6½ sacks to lead a group that’s been one of the league’s most effective at pressuring opposing quar

Goessling's Vikings-Lions prediction: Will Detroit clinch today?

The Vikings and Lions will play twice in three weeks, with Detroit needing one win for the division title and the Vikings fighting to stay in playoff position.
It has been eight weeks since Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was carted off at Lambeau Field with a torn right Achilles.

Inside Cousins' rehab from torn Achilles: 'We're well ahead of the curve'

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins expects to be back on the team's sideline for Sunday's game against the Lions.
Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores has befuddled Lions quarterback Jared Goff at previous stops in their careers.

Vikings' Flores, Lions' Goff cross paths with NFC North title at stake

Ben Goessling's Vikings Insider: The three previous meetings between Brian Flores and Jared Goff have been among the most significant days in each one's career. The next one could determine the NFC North title.
The Vikings have had their current playing surface at U.S. Bank Stadium since 2019.

New turf at U.S. Bank Stadium will provide 'slightly better safety'

The Vikings' home stadium will switch from a slit film field to a monofilament surface a little more than a year after the NFLPA called for slit film turf to be banned.
Cincinnati Bengals place kicker Evan McPherson (2) celebrates with holder Brad Robbins (10) after kicking the winning 29 yard overtime field goal defe

Why have the Vikings kept blowing fourth-quarter leads this season?

A combination of factors has prevented the Vikings from closing out several games the team could just as easily have won. Here are three things that could explain the problem.

Game of inches: Vikings blow big lead, come up short 27-24 in OT vs. Bengals

Behind quarterback Nick Mullens, the Vikings led 17-3 entering the fourth quarter, but fell to 7-7 after the Bengals scored three TDs late and made the big plays needed in OT.