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Final Score: Golden Tate clutch toe-tapping seals Lions victory in OT, 22-16

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A Golden finish in Minnesota!

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

First Half

Minnesota received to start the game and Sam Bradford started with a nine yard throw to Matt Asiata, and then quickly another nine yards to Stefon Diggs. But after a couple of first downs, Bradford’s pass to Adam Thielen was broken up by Johnson Bademosi and the Vikings punted it away.

The first Lions play from scrimmage saw Stafford handing the ball to Theo Riddick for three yards. On the second play, Golden Tate picked up the first down. The Lions later faced third-and-seven, but Theo Riddick took the handoff and found a hole for 42 yards, the longest run of his career. The Lions would get no further, but Matt Prater’s kick was gold and the Lions took first blood with a 47-yard field goal.

On the Vikings’ next drive, Bradford’s first pass was batted up by Tyrunn Walker, but Bradford caught the pass himself and ran for five yards. Jerrick McKinnon appeared to have a first down, but an illegal block moved it back, and on the next play Nevin Lawson broke up Bradford’s pass and the Vikings were forced to punt again.

Stafford targeted Marvin Jones on the first play of the ensuing drive, but Jones would have the first Lions drop on the day and the Lions went three-and-out. Although the Lions got the Vikings to third down, Bradford found Laquon Treadwell, notoriously invisible through the season so far, beating Adairius Barnes for an easy first down and the first catch of his NFL career. The Vikings encroached on the Lions red zone, but Ezekiel Ansah managed to get a tackle for loss on Jerrick McKinnon that would help set up for a series ending on fourth down with the Vikings to settling for three points.

Disaster would come for the Lions, however. Theo Riddick blew a block and Stafford started to scramble; his throw went into the hands of Chad Greenway and Stafford had thrown his first interception since Chicago. The Vikings got the ball back within the Lions’ 20, but two penalties backed up the Vikings, first by TJ Clemmings for a false start and then a block in the back by Jeremiah Sirles. Glover Quin made a tackle for loss to put the Vikings on third-and-23 from the 31. With nowhere to go, Sam Bradford was sacked by Kerry Hyder. After the sack, the Vikings had been pushed out of field goal range and were forced to punt.

The Lions put together a 17-play drive that would nearly touch ten minutes in length. Starting from within their own 20, Stafford leaned on Dwayne Washington on the ground and Eric Ebron through the air as the Lions pushed down the field, reaching the half-field with four minutes to go and Minnesota’s 33 by the two minute warning. A holding call pushed the Lions back, but Eric Ebron made a huge catch and leaped over defenders to get to third-and-short, where Washington ran over Matthew Mulligan, one of his own men, to get the first down. On the goal line, and with five seconds remaining, Stafford found Anquan Boldin for the touchdown to put a bow on the first half.

Second Half

The Lions got the ball to start the second half, and Washington made two runs to start the drive. The Vikings jumped on the bubble screen to Golden Tate, and the Lions were forced to punt on three-and-out. The Vikings would not get much going; a sack by Kerry Hyder forced the Vikings to punt after their own three-and-out. The Lions would respond with a second three-and-out.

Although Bradford went through concussion protocol, he quickly came back onto the field. A pass interference call on Bademosi put the Vikings up the field, and Matt Asiata made a 12-yard trick play. The Vikings were quickly rolling with that as Asiata ran a swing route, and they just kept feeding him further and further into the red zone. After the Lions got caught with 12 men on the field, Bradford threw a jump-pass to Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings looked to tie the game but Walsh’s point-after kick smacked off the uprights and the Lions retained a one-point lead.

The Lions went three-and-out again, and the Vikings had a chance to take the lead again. Cordarrelle Patterson would take a couple passes from Bradford and gashed the Lions, and the Vikings were putting together a double-digit play drive. The Vikings lined up to take a field goal and the lead, but it would be Tyrunn Walker who made the play; he blocked the kick, which was grabbed by Glover Quin and returned 32 yards to the Vikings’ side of the field.

The Lions took over, but struggled with a third down early. Despite a free play, Stafford’s pass to Tate was incomplete, and Matt Prater made a 53-yard field goal to extend the Lions’ lead.

The Vikings continued to gash the Lions on the next possession, rushing down the field and looking for a score to finally get ahead. Bradford found Diggs on three passes to make up a good chunk of the yardage. However, the Vikings nightmares in the red zone would continue: Jerrick McKinnon’s run would be short on first down on the six-yard line. A challenge from VIkings’ coach Mike Zimmer did not overturn the spot, and going for it on fourth down, the Vikings would come up just short and turn it over to the Lions.

Eric Ebron got the Lions to their own 9-yard line, and then Theo Riddick put the moves on to pick up the first Lions’ first down of the second half. The drive would sputter fomr there, and on third down the Lions opted for a deep pass downfield to Marvin Jones that fell harmlessly to the turf. Sam Martin came on to punt, and the Vikings would get another shot to get down the field and into the end zone.

The Lions had a chance to get the Vikings early on third down, but Bradford would pick on Bademosi on several throws, picking up chunk of yards to get Minnesota to the 30-yard line by the two-minute warning. A throw out to Diggs on second down was short of the sticks and short of the sideline: the clock continued to run. But Nevin Lawson was injured, and on third and short A’Shawn Robinson infringed on the neutral zone. Sam Bradford took a long throw to the end zone to Patterson, who mercifully dropped it. Bradford’s next pass went to Thielen for six yards, and then another shot fell past Rudolph. But Stefon Diggs picked up the first down and the next pass and the Vikings were sitting on the doorstep with one minute remaining, with no timeouts for the Lions.

Matt Asiata took it to the one yard line, and the Vikings took a timeout with 27 seconds remaining. Rhett Ellison took the ball into the end zone, and Glover Quin was just a step short as the ball popped out a second after he crossed the plane. Blair Walsh was finally on mark, and the Vikings took a late 16-13 lead.

But Stafford had a few more throws in him. He threw to Golden Tate for eight yards, and then with time expiring found Andre Roberts for 27 yards to spike the ball with only seconds remaining. Matt Prater was on for a 58-yard kick and put it dead on the money to send the Lions to overtime for the first time this season.

OVERTIME

The Lions called tails and won the toss. After choosing to receive the ball in overtime, and Stafford’s first throw picked up eight yards to Golden Tate. Two plays later, Eric Ebron hauled in Stafford’s pass and got out to about midfield. On third-and-10 yards, Marvin Jones, who had been quiet most of the day, finally drew a pass interference flag on Xavier Rhodes to get the Lions a crucial first down.

Two plays by Theo Riddick set the scene at third-and-eight from Minnesota’s 28. Stafford found Golden Tate, who toe-tapped along the sideline, shaking Minnesota defenders and then flipping into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown!