Many expected the Detroit Lions to get blown out in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have several offensive weapons and the Lions have been poor on defense—and have some of their best players sidelined by injury.
The Lions, however, responded with their best defensive effort of the season. Detroit held Minnesota in check for most of the game, and eventually just allowed 19 points to their NFC North rivals.
Unfortunately, the story of the game for Detroit was, again, failed opportunities on offense. The Lions turned it over twice in Vikings territory, as Jared Goff continues to struggle to protect the ball. Even as the Lions' defense helped the offense with turnovers and favorable field position, the Lions didn’t manage a touchdown until the final minutes of the game.
That said, the Lions did make a miraculous comeback with a late turnover, and a bold two-point conversion that gave the Lions the lead with 33 seconds left. But Detroit’s defense got soft, and the Vikings ended up winning the game on a 54-yard kick.
The Lions dropped the game 19-17—the same as the Ravens score—as the team falls to 0-5 on the season.
The Vikings won the toss and deferred, giving the Lions' offense the opportunity to strike first. Detroit was able to drive nicely thanks to a couple of good plays to D’Andre Swift including a 10-yard screen and a 12-yard run. The Lions stalled in field goal range, however, after Patrick Peterson knocked down at Jared Goff pass attempt on a third-and-9. The Lions settled for a 39-yard field from Austin Seibert, fresh off the reserve/COVID-19 list. 3-0 Lions
The Lions' defense got an early shot to get off the field for a three-and-out, but Kirk Cousins connected with Justin Jefferson for a 37-yard bomb with Amani Oruwariye in tight coverage. Two plays later, Detroit forced a third-and-12, but Jefferson again bailed the Vikings out with a 14-yard catch. The Lions finally got off the field when a third-down pass from Cousins skipped off the ground, but the Vikings tied things up with a 38-yard field goal. 3-3 tie.
Thanks to a Danielle Hunter penalty, the Lions avoided a three-and-out on offense. A couple of good run plays moved the Lions to Vikings territory, and a smart wide receiver screen to Amon-Ra St. Brown picked up an easy third-and-5 conversion. But, again, the Lions hit a snag on the Vikings' side of the field. Goff took back-to-back sacks and on the second one, he fumbled it away to the Vikings.
.@EversonGriffen's spin move remains lethal— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 10, 2021
: @NFLonFOX pic.twitter.com/OFYscbsuAA
The Vikings continued their third-down success on their second drive of the game. Jefferson beat Oruwariye for a 17-yard gain on third-and-10, setting Minnesota up in field goal position. A holding penalty forced them into another third-and-long (12), and the Lions' defense got the stop this time. The Vikings would take the lead with a 38-yard field goal. 6-3 Vikings.
The Lions' offense sputtered on their next drive after a pass to Quintez Cephus came up 2 yards short on a third-and-6. Jack Fox came in to punt and pinned the Vikings at their own 12-yard line.
But Jefferson continued to absolutely bully the Lions' secondary. The second-year receiver pulled in catches of 14 and 22 yards on the drive, and Alexander Mattison capped the drive with this touchdown catch, featuring poor tackling efforts by Jalen Reeves-Maybin and AJ Parker. 13-3 Vikings.
.@AlexMattison22 goes BeastMode #Skol— NFL (@NFL) October 10, 2021
: #DETvsMIN on FOX
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/cfWFmbgqMj
The Lions had the opportunity at a two-minute drill to make it a one-score game. A 21-yard pass to Quintez Cephus put the Lions in Vikings’ territory. Unfortunately, Cephus was injured on the play and was carted to the locker room.
Detroit’s drive ended a couple yards for a first down, but Austin Seibert drilled a 52-yard field goal with 41 seconds left. 13-6 Vikings.
The Vikings would pack it in on offense, happy with their seven-point lead.
Detroit’s defense forced their first punt of the day with a quick three-and-out out of halftime. Trey Flowers kicked off the half with this beast-mode sack:
A sack by @III_Flowers to start the second half!#DETvsMIN | FOX pic.twitter.com/FBjBtD1bm4— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 10, 2021
Once again, a Lions promising offensive drive was wasted by a turnover. The Lions got all the way down to the Vikings’ 28-yard line before Goff threw an interception to Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks.
You won't see a better catch today.@EricKendricks54— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 10, 2021
: @NFLonFOX pic.twitter.com/FeOXWTaHZL
Detroit’s defense did what they could, forcing a second straight three-and-out (with the help of a penalty), but the Lions responded with one of their own. Punter Jack Fox made the play of the quarter with a 67-yard boot that went over the returner’s head and pinned the Vikings at the 5-yard line.
with the 67 yard punt!#DETvsMIN | FOX pic.twitter.com/Dk4jGRZ5NA— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 10, 2021
The Vikings looked like they were about to strike again after a 48-yard run from Mattison.
.@AlexMattison22 is feelin’ it today. #Skol— NFL (@NFL) October 10, 2021
: #DETvsMIN on FOX
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/vW5zsCVdLG
But a few plays later, Tracy Walker jumped a Vikings route, deflected the ball in the air and Alex Anzalone picked it off.
.@AlexAnzalone34 with the take away! #DETvsMIN | FOX pic.twitter.com/ZrcK1HwvbE— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 10, 2021
The two teams would trade three-and-outs to start the final stanza.
Detroit broke the streak after Vikings cornerback Bashaud Breeland committed a pass interference penalty. Goff followed it up with a 17-yard strike to KhaDarel Hodge. But Detroit’s offense stalled yet again after coming up 4 yards short on third down. Dan Campbell faced a difficult decision: go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Vikings 42-yard line or punt. He chose to punt.
Minnesota would tack on a 55-yard field, as a Charles Harris sack didn’t quite knock Vikings out of field goal territory. 16-6 Vikings.
Detroit’s initial attempt to bring the game back to one score would fail spectacularly, as Goff took back-to-back sacks, including one that turned the ball over on downs on fourth-and-15. The Vikings would subsequently miss a 49-yard field goal, giving the Lions one last breath.
Thanks to this ridiculous ANGRY RUN from D’Andre Swift, the Lions got into field goal range.
Just yelled “Oh My GOD” pic.twitter.com/rYkGGMk57y— Anthony Bellino (@ACBellino) October 10, 2021
The Lions would settle for a 40-yard attempt, bringing the score to 16-9 Vikings with 2:30 left.
Detroit would pass on an onside kick, meaning they needed a three-and-out on defense to get the ball back with about a minute left in the game. Facing a third-and-7, they did one better than a stop, Jalen Reeves-Maybin forced Mattison to fumble, and the offense took over at the Vikings' 20-yard line.
Ripped it CLEAN #OnePride— NFL (@NFL) October 10, 2021
: #DETvsMIN on FOX
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/Z98Wic2trL
The Lions would quickly turn this into points with D’Andre Swift banging it in from 7 yards out. Campbell turned on the aggressiveness and went for two and Goff found Hodge for the two-point conversion and the unbelievable comeback with just 33 seconds left. 17-16 Lions
.@DAndreSwift is that guy#DETvsMIN | FOX pic.twitter.com/bCVsyM4C96— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 10, 2021
That proved to be enough time for the Vikings, who had two timeouts, to get into field goal range. The game would hinge on a 54-yard field goal attempt, and Detroit would lose again on a last-second kick. 19-17 Vikings.