The Detroit Lions are NFC North champions, and they owe it, in part, to the play of safety Ifeatu Melifonwu. The Lions moved to Melifonwu three games ago, taking over for Tracy Walker. Since then, he’s been a sparkplug for the team’s defense. He’s a vicious blitzer, shown decent coverage skills, and has even made some impressive open-field tackles.
And on the biggest stage Melifonwu delivered the play that would clinch Detroit’s first ever NFC North crown ever.
With the Vikings threatening to score down only six points with under a minute left, backup quarterback Nick Mullens was moving Minnesota closer and closer to their potential game-winning touchdown.
But on first-and-10 from the Lions’ 30-yard line, Mullens tried to go to Justin Jefferson for a potential game-winning score. Jefferson was on fire in this game, and had made a play previous in the drive to pull the Vikings out of a third-and-27 hole. However, Melifonwu would have none of it. The third-year safety stepped in front of the pass for Detroit’s fourth interception of the game.
The Lions were able to run out the rest of the clock, move to 11-4 on the season, and clinch the division.