The Detroit Lions had their fair share of chances in this one, but after suffering multiple injuries (including one to their star quarterback), they would ultimately come up short to the Minnesota Vikings at home by a score of 30 - 23.
The Lions won the toss and chose to receive to make a statement and they would with TJ Jones’ 35-yard kick return, which was the longest by any kick returner for the Lions this year. However, the drive would be short-lived after Marvin Jones was unable to reach the sticks on a short pass on third-and-5.
The Vikings would score first on a perfectly executed play-action pass on the goal line to Kyle Rudolph for a touchdown. It also didn’t help the Lions had 10 players on the field playing defense on the play. After a blocked point after attempt by A’Shawn Robinson, the Vikings led by a score of 6-0.
Following the Vikings’ TD drive, the Lions responded with an Ameer Abdullah fumble right at the exchange, giving the Vikings great field position. The slow starts are real, and the Lions just do not know how to fix it. The Vikings were able to capitalize off of their mistake and punched it into the end zone for the second straight drive, this time on a Case Keenum rushing TD.
After finally forcing the Vikings to punt, the Lions slowly marched their way down the field and had a couple of big opportunities to punch it in, but a dropped pass from Darren Fells and a poor throw from Stafford to Riddick—who could have walked into the end zone had he caught it—would mean that they had to settle for a field goal. With just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half, the Lions trailed 13-3.
To put it plainly, Case Keenum came out to play, and the Lions did not. Standing in front of pressure, Keenum threw a beauty of a pass to Kyle Rudolph in the back of the end zone for another TD despite getting hammered by a Lions defender. The Vikings led the Lions 20-3 with just 37 seconds remaining in the half.
As Matthew Stafford has proven time and time again, 37 seconds is plenty of time for a QB, and after a beautiful throw and catch to Kenny Golladay, the Lions finally managed to score a touchdown on a pass to Marvin Jones.
At the half, your score was: Vikings 20, Lions 10.
The Vikings started the second half with the ball and punched it right down the Lions’ throats, running all over the Lions’ defense without remorse. Latavius Murray would score the Vikings’ second rushing TD of the game and the Lions found themselves in a three-possession hole once again.
It looked like the offense had roared back on the very next possession, but after the officials confirmed a touchdown, they decided to review the play anyway, and didn’t give the Lions much time, if any, to snap the ball for the extra point. I’m not quite sure why fans are so upset about this play, but I suppose they’ll look for anything to place more hate on the coaches. The Lions had to settle for a field goal to make it 27-13.
On their next offensive drive, they’d settle for yet another field goal after Taylor Decker was beat badly and gave up a sack on third-and-short. Playing catch-up with field goals is not a good idea, guys.
The amazing Marvin Jones touchdown from Stafford who was hurt after the play pic.twitter.com/Z9MsTg2nNx— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 23, 2017
Did I say field goals? Well, here’s a phenomenal TD catch from Marvin Jones, A.K.A. Xavier Rhodes’ father. Unfortunately, Stafford went down on the play, so not all was well. A Vikings player appeared to have rolled up under Stafford’s ankle. He was visibly limping to the sideline after the play, so things didn’t look great.
The defense came up big on third down when the Vikings got the ball back, forcing a punt near the 40-yard line in Lions territory. And despite the bad ankle, Matthew Stafford led the offense back onto the field, much to the delight of the Ford Field crowd.
With just under four minutes remaining in the game, the Vikings were able to drive comfortably into Detroit territory and tacked on another three points to extend their lead to seven points. Stafford and the offense had their chance to knot things up, but it was clear that Stafford just wasn’t himself after the injury. On fourth-and-8, Xavier Rhodes ended up with an interception, which would seal things for the Vikings.
The Lions are now 6-5 and will play the Baltimore Ravens on the road next Sunday.