Lions Red Zone Recap: Week 3

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Lions - 2 scores on 4 chances (1 touchdown, 1 field goal, 2 interceptions)

The Lions' first red zone opportunity was set up by Corey Williams' awesome interception, which he returned to the Minnesota 12-yard line. Three plays later, Shaun Hill found Tony Scheffler for a five-yard touchdown pass to give Detroit a 7-0 lead.

Detroit's second red zone chance came at the end of the first half. The Lions started with good field position (near the 50) and quickly moved the ball into the red zone through the air. Despite having more than enough time to take a shot or two at the end zone, the Lions settled for just kicking a field goal. That move has been ridiculed quite a bit by fans and the media, and rightly so. Playing conservative is one thing, but to not even take a single shot at the end zone reeks of playing scared to me.

The final two red zone trips both were in the fourth quarter and ended with a Shaun Hill interception in the end zone. The second pick wasn't totally his fault considering Scheffler got a hand on the ball, but they weren't the greatest passes in the world and took away any hope of a comeback.

Vikings - 2 scores on 2 chances (1 touchdown, 1 field goal)

Minnesota's first red zone trip came on a 10-play, six-minute drive that was kept alive because a Brett Favre fumble was negated by a roughing the passer penalty. After the penalty, Minnesota pounded the ball on the ground and moved down the field very efficiently. Eventually Adrian Peterson ran into the end zone from six yards out on third and short for a touchdown.

The Vikes' second and final red zone trip came on a 13-play, seven-minute drive to start the second half Minnesota should have turned the ball over on an interception just more than halfway through the drive, but a weak pass interference call nullified the turnover. As a result, Minnesota kept the ball and moved into the red zone a few plays later. That's about as far as the Vikes got, however, as the drive stalled and they had to settle for a 31-yard field goal.

Overall

Offensively, the story of the day was the two red zone trips that produced interceptions in the end zone. To have two solid drives come to an end like that is just inexcusable. Despite how bad Detroit played, they had a chance to make things interesting, but those two picks prevented that from happening.

On the other side of the ball, I didn't think the defense was too bad in the red zone. While they did allow points on both of Minnesota's red zone trips, both drives could have ended long before the Vikings entered the red zone. Because of penalties, however, turnovers were negated and Minnesota kept the ball. Yes, the Vikings did score a touchdown on one trip, but holding them to a field goal on the second trip after that long drive to open the second half was very important at the time, so all in all I was pleased with what the defense did.

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