Dobbs shines with 2 TD passes, 1 scoring run, as Vikings rally to beat Falcons 31-28

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs looks to throw a pass during the second half of an...
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs looks to throw a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)(John Bazemore | AP)
Published: Nov. 5, 2023 at 3:55 PM CST
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ATLANTA (AP) — Joshua Dobbs threw two touchdown passes, including a go-ahead 6-yarder to Brandon Powell with 22 seconds remaining, and also ran for a score and the Minnesota Vikings rallied to beat the Atlanta Falcons 31-28 on Sunday for their fourth straight win.

Minnesota (5-4) overcame the loss of rookie quarterback Jaren Hall to a concussion in the first quarter.

Dobbs led the go-ahead drive after Tyler Allgeier’s 5-yard scoring run gave Atlanta the lead with 2:08 remaining.

Dobbs was acquired from the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday. The 28-year-old Dobbs started all eight games for the Cardinals as a fill-in while Kyler Murray recovers from a knee injury. Murray’s imminent return made Dobbs available for a trade.

Only five days after the trade, Dobbs made his case to keep the starting job for Minnesota. He completed 20 of 30 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns and had seven carries for 66 yards and another score.

The Falcons (4-5) ran the ball on the final 12 plays of their 13-play, go-ahead touchdown drive, including five consecutive runs by Allgeier.

Taylor Heinicke threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jonnu Smith in his first Atlanta start to give the Falcons a 21-13 lead in the third quarter. Dobbs’ 18-yard scoring run and 2-point pass to Trishton Jackson tied the game.

Atlanta relied on a safety and four field goals by Younghoe Koo before Heinicke found Smith on the Falcons’ first touchdown midway through the third quarter. Smith caught the screen pass before taking off down the sideline and triumphantly raising his left arm near the 10-yard line.

Heinicke was selected as Atlanta’s starter on Wednesday, though coach Arthur Smith said he had only a short-term focus and would not commit to a plan at quarterback past this week. Heinicke took over in the second half of last week’s 28-23 loss at Tennessee after Desmond Ridder was sacked five times and lost a fumble — his 10th turnover in the past five games.

Hall, a rookie, didn’t last the first quarter in his first start as the replacement for veteran Kirk Cousins, who is lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Hall suffered a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Falcons cornerback Jeff Okudah. Hall was stopped on a third-and-4 run at the Atlanta 1 and was escorted to the locker room.

Nick Mullens, who had been Cousins’ primary backup, is on injured reserve with a lower back injury.

Dobbs had his first practice with the Vikings on Wednesday, leaving little preparation time. His first series of plays began at the Minnesota 7 and ended with a third down sack by Calais Campbell in the end zone for a safety early in the second quarter. The sack gave Atlanta a 5-3 lead.

Heinicke completed 21 of 38 passes for 268 yards with one touchdown and one interception.


Minnesota WR K.J. Osborn was carted off the field with a concussion following a hit from Dee Alford, who was penalized for a personal foul, late in the first half. Osborn rose to his feet before sitting on the cart for the ride off the field. Running back Cam Akers was ruled out with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. Vikings LT Christian Darrisaw was inactive after being downgraded to questionable on Saturday with a groin injury. David Quessenberry was the fill-in starter.

Falcons CB Dee Alford left the game with an ankle injury. S Richie Grant was cleared after being evaluated for a concussion in the fourth quarter.