The Detroit Lions finally got one in the win column, beating the Minnesota Vikings in Week 13 on a walk-off touchdown pass from Jared Goff to Amon-Ra St. Brown and bringing their record to 1-10-1 on the season.
In most rankings, the Lions moved up a spot or two—ahead of the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars at times—and were recognized for their efforts to win for coach Dan Campbell, as well as their honoring of the individuals impacted in the Oxford community.
Let’s take a closer look at what the national media had to say about the Lions.
NFL.com: 30 (Previous: 32)
“Jared Goff read the coverage, found the receiver and delivered the completion. His celebration began, not with a sprint to celebrate with wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, but with a beeline toward Dan Campbell, the head coach who wanted this win more than anyone. The Lions beat the Vikings in dramatic fashion on Sunday, eliminating the prospect of another winless season in Detroit and pumping some good spirit into a region reeling from senseless tragedy. After the game, Campbell dedicated the win to all the people impacted by the recent school shooting in Oxford, Michigan. This has not been an easy year for the Lions, it’s been a pretty rough 10 years in fact — but on Sunday, the team authored one of the most indelible moments of the NFL season.” — Dan Hanzus
USA Today: 30 (Previous: 32)
“Pretty cool how eager Detroit’s players were get a win for rookie coach Dan Campbell. Even cooler how eager Campbell was to share his breakthrough moment with the devastated Oxford High School community.” — Nate Davis
ESPN: 30 (Previous: 32)
“Player who must step up: QB Jared Goff
“Now that Goff has proved he can win a game without his former Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay, the Lions will be looking to play spoiler. During Sunday’s walk-off victory against Minnesota, Goff snapped his 12-game winless streak, which was the longest by a quarterback drafted No. 1 overall since the common draft era began in 1967. The playoffs clearly aren’t in the picture for the Lions. But if Goff can help Detroit finish the season with at least a few victories, maybe it can give first-year Lions coach Dan Campbell and the roster some confidence as the team continues to build for the future.” — Eric Woodyard
Washington Post: 30 (Previous: 32)
“Lions win! Lions win! First the 0-17 season came off the board with last month’s tie against the Steelers, and now even 0-16-1 is eliminated with Sunday’s last-second triumph over the Vikings. It was a feel-good victory with real-world emotional impact after Coach Dan Campbell dedicated a game ball to the Oxford High community.” — Mark Maske ($ubscription required)
MMQB: 31 (Previous: 32)
“Lions get a one-slot bump for their first—and understandably emotional, after the nearby Michigan school shooting—win on Sunday. Written without snark, in all seriousness: given the circumstances, and the lack of talent throughout the roster, it’s laudable how Jared Goff has performed this season. That’s not to say the Rams should have stayed put, rather than trade for Stafford. It’s to say that Goff has shown some enviable mettle this year—and his resolve, coupled with his team’s character, netted that last-second triumph. If that’s the highlight of the 2021 season in Detroit, it’s not an insignificant one. Also of note: this marked the 26th time this season that a game was decided on the final play, per the NFL. That’s the most such games ever through Week 13.”— MMQB’s rotating writers ($ubscription required)
Yahoo Sports: 31 (Previous: 32)
“The Lions don’t have to worry anymore. Nobody remembers teams that win just game; only the winless teams are remembered forever. Detroit deserved the win too, not just for the close calls previously this season but they played really well building a 20-6 lead on Minnesota. Kudos to Dan Campbell and his team.” — Frank Schwab
CBS Sports: 31 (Previous: 32)
“They won a game, which has to be a good sign for this young team. They haven’t quit. One victory can mean so much for this group.” — Pete Prisco
Sporting News: 32 (Previous: 32)
“The Lions had been working up to their win over the Vikings for the past month, with a lot of close low-scoring results, including that Steelers tie. Congratulations to Dan Campbell’s motivation to avoid another dubious distinction.” — Vinnie Iyer