The Detroit Lions (5-4) just grabbed the division by the horns. Detroit beat the Minnesota Vikings 22-16 in Overtime. The Vikings fell to 5-3 losing their third game in a row. Let’s take a look how the Lions won the game in clutch fashion.
Both teams played good defense in the first half. The Vikings punted on their first possession. The Lions responded with a field goal drive. A 42 yard run by Theo Riddick on a 3rd down and 7 set up the field goal. Detroit led 3-0 early.
The Vikings got one first down but then punted. An illegal block by Cordarelle Patterson cost them on this drive. Detroit followed with a 3 and out of their own when a 3rd and 8 fell short by one yard to Golden Tate.
The Vikings offense showed some signs of life with a 12 play 61 yard drive. The Lions bent but didn’t break and stopped Minnesota for a field goal. Matt Stafford didn’t respond. Under pressure, Stafford threw a bad ball to fullback Michael Burton when he cut inside and Chad Greenway got a huge interception. Minnesota started on Detroit’s 18 yard line.
Detroit’s defense performed a miracle. They drove the Vikings out of field goal range. A false start and illegal block got the Vikings moving backward. Detroit then had a -4 yard stop on a run and a crucial 9 yard sack by Kerry Hyder. This was Hyder’s 6th sack on the season. Minnesota had to punt despite great field position.
Detroit started with the ball at their own 16 yard line and drove 9:45 in 17 plays in the second quarter. This was an incredibly meticulous drive. Marvin Jones caught a first down (his only catch0 and Riddick ran for a first down on 3rd and short.
A Vikings penalty of illegal hands to face gave Detroit another first down. Stafford hit Boldin for a big first down on 3rd down. Dwayne Washington ran for a first down on another 3rd and short. Stafford hit Ebron for 20 yards into the red zone. Rookie Mackenzie Alexander was all over Marvin Jones for another penalty in the end zone. The Lions converted the 2nd and goal with a TD to Anquan Boldin. This was Boldin’s 5th TD on the season and Stafford’s 17th TD toss on the year. Detroit led 10-3 at half time.
The Lions got the ball but were forced to punt after a 3 and out. Detroit defense stepped up big and forced a 3 and out of their own. Kerry Hyder got his 7th sack of the season on a 3rd down play.
Detroit’s offense was asleep and had another 3 and out. The Vikings finally emerged and drove down the field for a TD. The Vikings went 9 plays and 78 yards exploiting the Lions in the middle of the field. Kyle Rudolph caught the 1 yard TD on 3rd and goal fooling the defense. The Vikings didn’t’ tie the game though as Blair Walsh missed the PAT. This was Walsh’s 3rd miss of the year. Detroit led 10-9.
Detroit had another 3 and out and then allowed a 19 yard punt return by Stefon Diggs. Minnesota started at their own 41 yard line and drove 31 yards in 10 plays but had to settle for a field goal attempt on a good tackle short of the chains by Quandre Diggs and Tahir Whitehead.
However, Tyrunn Walker blocked the field goal attempt and Glover Quin returned it to the Minnesota 42 yard line. Detroit only got 8 yards on their ensuing drive (including an offside) and had to rely on the leg of Matt Prater. Prater came through with a huge 53 yard field goal. Detroit led 13-9 and the Vikings now needed a TD.
The Vikings got the ball and drove all the way to the Lions five yard line. Detroit manned up on defense and had two stuffs on 3rd and 4th and goal. The Vikings were turned away with no points and still trailed 13-9. This was a tremendous job by the Lions run defense in the red zone.
Detroit started at their own 5 and finally got two first downs in the second half. However, a deep ball was well defended by Trae Waynes and Detroit was forced to punt for the fourth time in the half in five attempts.
Minnesota started at their own 21 yard line and methodically moved down the field killing time off the clock. Detroit gave the Vikings a first down when rookie A’Shawn Robinson went offside on a 3rd and 2. The Vikings made the Lions pay with a third and one touchdown run by tight end Rhett Ellison to give the Vikings the lead. The Vikings led 16-13 with 27 seconds left. Detroit had no time outs. The probability of the Vikings winnings was 99.9%.
Everyone forgot the Lions are so so clutch. Stafford hit Golden Tate for 8 yards and he got out of bounds. Stafford hit Andre Roberts on a new play just installed this week for 27 yards on a great throw by Stafford and great catch from his back by Roberts. Stafford spiked the ball with 2 second left. Caldwell had properly argued for the refs to add time to the clock on the previous drive. This was crucial as the Lions needed that time. Matt Prater nailed a 58 yard field goal. The Lions had forced overtime crushing the spirits of the Vikings fans at US Bank Stadium.
The Lions won the coin toss and got the ball. It was Stafford magic time. Stafford hit Ebron for 23 yards on a 3rd down and 3. Stafford converted another 3rd down and 8 with a 12 yard pass to Golden Tate. The Lions faced another 3rd and 10 and Xavier Rhodes committed an obvious penalty for PI for another Lions first down.
Detroit faced a final 3rd and 8 and Stafford hit Golden Tate on an out route. Tate made a nifty juke back in bounds avoiding the sideline and getting away from two Vikings defenders. Golden Tate flipped into the end zone for the win and the Lions won 22-16. Detroit is back in the driver’s seat for the NFC North race.
Detroit gets a bye to get healthy and then host the Jacksonville Jaguars and the same Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Detroit may get Darius Slay and DeAndre Levy back for those games. Detroit is poised to make a run for the playoffs. We’ll see if they can finish well in the final 7 games.