Lions Move Step Closer to 0-16 with 20-16 Loss to Vikings

I'll save the introduction since it's already Tuesday and will just get right into the recap of the Lions' latest game, a 20-16 loss to the Vikings.

1st Quarter

  • The Vikings moved the ball for around the first six minutes of the game before having to punt. Gus Frerotte was sacked by Cliff Avril on 3rd and 9 to force the punt.
  • The Lions drove all the way down to the Minnesota 4-yard line and had 1st and goal. Unfortunately, that's as far as they got. Kevin Smith lost 3 yards on first down, and Daunte Culpepper then threw two incompletions to bring up 4th down. Jason Hanson nailed a 25-yard field goal to give the Lions a 3-0 lead.
  • Following a 43-yard kick return by Darius Reynaud, the Vikings moved into Lions' territory on a 12-yard pass to Bernard Berrian. On the very next play, though, Frerotte was intercepted by Ryan Nece, who returned the pick to the Vikings 48.

2nd Quarter

  • The Lions drove down the field thanks mainly to a 27-yard pass to Michael Gaines. A face mask penalty moved the Lions down to the 11-yard line, and they managed to get all the way down to the 5 before another drive stalled inside the redzone. Hanson kicked a 23-yard field goal this time, giving the Lions a 6-0 lead.
  • The Vikings finally had some success on offense, but it looked like their drive was going to end on another turnover. Adrian Peterson fumbled for the second time in this game (the first one went out of bounds) and Travis Fisher fell on the loose ball. Brad Childress challenged the call, and it was pretty clear that Peterson was down before the ball came loose. Because of that, the Vikings kept the ball and eventually kicked a field goal to cut the Lions' lead in half.
  • Aveion Cason gave the Lions good field position by returning the ensuing kickoff 38 yards. A 19-yard pass to John Owens put the Lions in Vikings' territory yet again. Kevin Smith then ran for 9 yards, meaning the Lions needed only 1 more yard to move the chains. Surprisingly, that never happened.

    Daunte Culpepper threw an incomplete pass on 2nd down, and Smith ran for no gain on 3rd down. Now facing 4th and 1 at the Minnesota 30, the Lions decided to go for it and were unable to pick up a first down. Culpepper's pass intended for John Standeford went into the turf, meaning it was suddenly Minnesota's ball.
  • The Lions would go back on offense after only one play. Gus Frerotte threw a pass that was tipped by Shaun Cody and intercepted by Corey Smith. Frerotte took a hit on the play that actually knocked him out of the game for good.
  • Even though the Lions took over at the Vikings 26-yard line, they were unable to put any points on the board. The Lions would once again face 4th and 1 -- this time from the 6-yard line -- and Daunte Culpepper tried to move the chains on a QB sneak. The play-call was predictable, as the Vikings knew exactly what was coming. Culpepper went nowhere, meaning the Lions turned it over on downs for the second drive in a row.
  • Tarvaris Jackson took a knee to end the first half. The Lions led 6-3.

3rd Quarter

  • The Lions went three and out to open the second half and avoided disaster in the process. Culpepper was sacked by Jared Allen and fumbled the ball. Allen appeared to recover the fumble, but Gosder Cherilus stole it from him in the pile at the Lions' 1-yard line. Despite have little room to punt the ball, Nick Harris boomed a kick 66 yards.
  • The punt seemed great at the time, but it really only delayed the inevitable. Adrian Peterson ran for gains of 9 and 22 yards, and Chester Taylor then ran for 17 yards and a touchdown. Just like that, the Vikings led 10-6.
  • The Lions struck quickly on their next drive to provide an answer to Minnesota's touchdown. Daunte Culpepper threw a bomb downfield and Calvin Johnson ran under it to make the catch. Johnson got by all of Minnesota's defensive backs before the catch was even made, so he had little trouble getting into the end zone to score what was a 70-yard TD. The Lions now led once again.
  • Following a Vikings three and out, the Lions looked like they were going to extend the lead. Unfortunately, just as they moved into Minnesota territory, a sack and chop block penalty backed them up and made it 3rd and 25. In that type of situation, you would have expected the Lions to throw it downfield, right? Well, not so much. Culpepper handed the ball off to Kevin Smith on a draw play that went for a loss of yards. The Lions had to punt and let another great opportunity go to waste.

4th Quarter

  • The Vikings had success in the air and on the ground on their next drive, which led to another touchdown. Tarvaris Jackson found Visanthe Shiancoe for an 11-yard TD that gave the Vikings a 17-13 lead.
  • The Lions once again were able to move the ball and they appeared to be in position to score another touchdown. Calvin Johnson caught a low pass for a gain of 13 yards on 3rd and 11, but a Vikings challenge changed everything. The play was overturned and it was ruled that Johnson did not make the catch, even though no replays clearly showed that no catch happened. Instead of having 1st and goal, the Lions had 4th and 11 and were forced to kick a field goal. Hanson made his third kick of the game to cut the Vikings' lead down to 1.
  • With 5:44 left in the game, the Vikings hoped to run out the clock and score to put this game out of reach. Both of those goals were accomplished on Minnesota's next drive, even though Adrian Peterson fumbled twice. The Lions never got a lucky bounce that resulted in a recovery, and Minnesota's Ryan Longwell eventually kicked a 50-yard field goal to put the Vikings on top 20-16.
  • With only 16 seconds left and needing to go 71 yards down the field to win the game, the Lions needed a miracle. As you probably expected, no miracle happened, and the exact opposite actually occurred. Culpepper was sacked by Ray Edwards and fumbled yet again. Cherilus was there to recover just like the first fumble of the game, but there was only 1 second left on the clock after Culpepper spiked the ball. To make matters worse, Culpepper injured his arm on the sack, meaning Drew Henson had to come in without warming up to throw a Hail Mary. He didn't even get that chance, though, as Ellis Wyms sacked him to end the game.

In what was probably the Lions' last chance to win a game this season, they came up short. Just like the first game against Minnesota this season, they played pretty well and had a chance to win. Mistakes like turning the ball over on downs twice in a row and only kicking field goals when you get inside the opponent's 10-yard line were just too much to overcome. Even though the Vikings lost Gus Frerotte, Tarvaris Jackson played better to make a two comebacks in the second half to win this game.

The Lions are now 0-13 and are looking more and more like they will go 0-16 with each game that is played. They play at the Colts on Sunday (kickoff is at 1 p.m. on FOX), which is basically a guaranteed loss. A week from Sunday, the Lions host the Saints in the final home game of the season, which will not only probably be a loss, but it will also probably be blacked out. Finally, to end the season, the Lions will head to Lambeau Field to play the Packers. They haven't won there since before Brett Favre, so there is no reason to expect anything different this time around.

0-16 here we come!

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