clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Detroit Lions recap: 6 winners, 3 losers from 30-24 win against Vikings

The Lions won their first NFC North division title against the Vikings, who were the winners and who were the losers?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 1993, the Detroit Lions clinched the NFC North with a big 30-24 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions came off a big home primetime win against the Denver Broncos last week and went into Minnesota and won a big-time game on the road to win the division and clinch a playoff appearance.

The game was close as each team traded early touchdowns, but the Lions started pulling away until the Vikings retook the lead in the third quarter. Late in the game, the Lions were up by six with a few minutes left, the Vikings had a chance to come back and play spoiler until Detroit got their fourth interception to lock up the victory and go home happy.

Check out my winners and losers from the win against the Vikings.


Jared Goff

It wasn’t a perfect game for Goff, but it was a good performance by the starting quarterback. Goff struggled early on with pressure from the Vikings defense and instead of running the football for yards, he would take some sacks. Thankfully the rough start was erased in the end as Goff finished the game going 30-for-40 for 257 yards and a touchdown.

Goff just needed to hold onto the football and not throw any interceptions, and he did just that. There was an incomplete pass that was ruled a fumble at first that gave Lions fans flashbacks from Thanksgiving against the Green Bay Packers. Thankfully the refs overturned the call and the Lions were able to keep the football in the end.

Offensive tackles

The biggest challenge for the Lions offensive line heading into the game was containing Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter, who has 15.5 sacks, second most in the NFL. Hunter was quiet in the pass rush, never getting a sack on Goff. The Lions had a solid game plan of making sure Hunter didn’t get to Goff and in the end, he had seven tackles, and he notched up a quarterback hit, but no sacks.

Ifeatu Melifonwu

The good weeks keep stacking up for safety Ifeatu Melifonwu. Last week he forced a fumble against the Broncos and was doing everything you could ask for in his third start this season. Against the Vikings, Melifonwu kept bringing the heat and pressure as he got two sacks on Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens and got a game-sealing interception in the fourth quarter.

Melifonwu finished the game with five tackles, two sacks, two pass deflections, and an interception. Melifonwu took over for safety Tracy Walker and with C.J. Gardner-Johnson back practicing this week, with a possible return next week against the Dallas Cowboys, Melifonwu is playing hard to show the coaches he deserves to be on the field even with Gardner-Johnson back.

Jameson Williams

This is what I was wanting out of Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams. Williams is more than a deep threat who can run streak routes and jet sweeps. It took a few weeks but not only is Williams playing more, but he is being used better, and Goff is trusting him more. In weeks past, Goff would not look Williams' way on certain plays where he was wide open, now he is throwing it to him more often.

Williams finished the game with five catches for 43 yards, and he made some nice plays to get extra yards on those catches as well. Williams has improved this season and keeps getting more and more chances and he is making the most of it.

Kerby Joseph

What a game to have your best one of the season in. Safety Kerby Joseph made sure his best game came at the right time as he got two interceptions against the Vikings. The first was a great read by Joseph where he jumped the route on Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison and prevented the easy touchdown for Minnesota.

The next interception by Joseph was in the fourth quarter on an overthrown pass by Mullens with Joseph at the right spot at the right time. Joseph finished the game with nine tackles, two pass deflections, and two interceptions.

Brian Branch

Another week where defensive back Brian Branch was everywhere. He had a rough start as he got called for a penalty inside the end zone then dropped an interception. But he made up for it later on. Branch would get the first turnover for the Lion's defense, as he got a big interception on a poor throw from Mullens.

Like Melifonwu, Branch was everywhere on the field. Branch was able to do well in coverage and hit Mullens for a sack. He finished the game with six tackles, two pass deflections, an interception, and a sack. Branch keeps making a case for him to be a defensive Rookie of the Year finalist, and if he can finish the season with very strong games, he could be a dark horse candidate to win it.


Jonah Jackson

While the Lion's offensive tackles had a strong game, it was not the best day for left guard Jonah Jackson. He allowed Vikings linebacker Pat Jones II to have his way with him. Jones II beat him twice and got to Goff for a sack. He beat Jackson a third time, but it was overturned due to a roughing the passer penalty on Jones.

Jackson has had a down year this season, and in a contract season, he is picking the worst time to play poorly. With it being near the end of the season and the postseason approaching, Jackson is going to have to clean up his play. If Jackson is going to want to get paid this offseason, a turnaround or a solid postseason performance could help his case.

Khalil Dorsey

While some defensive backs played well in the game for Detroit, not everyone had their best day. Cornerback Khalil Dorsey had a rough go in the game as Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn had a day. Osborn finished with five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.

Dorsey took over the number two starting cornerback role from Jerry Jacobs last week. Jacobs left the Broncos game with an injury and was ruled out against Minnesota this week, so Dorsey got the start once again. If Dorsey is going to keep his starting role, he can’t play like this in a big game. When it comes to the playoffs, Dorsey will need to improve his play or he will be on the bench with Jacobs back as the starter.

Frank Ragnow

Another offensive lineman who struggled was center Frank Ragnow. It wasn’t performance-based as he did well in blocking overall, but when it came to hiking the football for Goff, Ragnow couldn’t do it in time. Three times the Lions were called for delay of game and on all three you could see Goff asking for the ball to be hiked and Ragnow not getting the message. It’s not all on Ragnow, though. It’s a loud environment, and clearly some of the calls were coming in late. Still, you have to be in tune with your quarterback there.

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.