Lions Vs Vikings Was A Big Matchup In The NFC North This Week.
Coming into this week four game, Detroit, Minnesota, and Green Bay were all tied at first place in the NFC North. With Green Bay winning, it meant the winner of this game would be tied with them for first place. Detroit needed this win as winning on the road is hard enough, winning a divisional game is even harder on the road. Detroit was able to escape with a win, but it could have turned into a loss easily.
Matt Stafford had his worst game of the season against Minnesota. It was a risky game for him to have a poor performance. He seemed off-sync and many throws could have turned into interceptions if Minnesota was able to catch the ball or stay inbounds. Stafford finished with 209 yards, going 19/31 and fumbled the ball that was luckily able to be recovered by Zach Zenner.
While Stafford had a tough time throwing the ball, the running game seemed to have improved. Ameer Abdullah was close to breaking the 55 game streak without a 100-yard rusher for Detroit, finishing with 20 carries for 94 yards. Theo Riddick had four carries for four yards as he was more in the receiving game.
Golden Tate and Marvin Jones weren’t doing much against Minnesota, and part of that is because of the quarterback play, the other part is the good coverage by the Vikings. Tate finished with three catches for 29 yards, Jones had two catches for 42 yards. Darren Fells was the best receiver for Detroit, finishing with four catches for 40 yards. TJ Jones, playing more with Kenny Golladay out with a hamstring injury, did well with three catches for 33 yards.
The offensive line had its worst game of the season as well, allowing Stafford to get sacked six times. While they did well in the rushing game, they need to improve overall at protecting Matt Stafford.
Getting to the quarterback was tough for the Lions on Sunday, as Anthony Zettel was the only one to record a sack, finishing with two and three tackles, along with a big fumble recovery. Ziggy Ansah only had two tackles as he was quiet once again as that knee seems to be bothering him even more.
The linebackers were already missing rookie Jarrad Davis, but Paul Worrilow and Tahir Whitehead both got banged up in this game, something that Detroit happened to them a lot last season. Whitehead tied in leading the team in tackles with five and recovered two fumbles. Nick Bellore and Steve Longa played more and each finished with four tackles. Longa surprisingly played after the death of his father just a few days ago.
The secondary was average in their play today. Many times they left the best wide receiver Stefon Diggs wide open for easy gains, giving the Vikings life on offense. Darius Slay had one tackle and one pass deflection. Miles Killebrew saw more playing time with many linebackers hurt, finishing with three tackles and two pass deflections. Nevin Lawson was the other player to be tied with Whitehead in tackles with five, along with two pass deflections. Glover Quin had four tackles and a game-winning fumble to lock up the win.
Special teams did well overall today, Matt Prater missed his first field goal of the season, but finished the game 2/3, his longest from 37 yards out. Jeff Locke had a great punting performance, punting seven times for 325 yards, three of them landing inside the 20-yard line. Detroit wasn’t able to return a kick or punt today.
Week Four: What It Means
Detroit is 3-1 after four games and tied for first in the NFC North, something not many expected. Detroit has many games to play, but this is a good start as they are beating teams that some thought they wouldn’t beat, and this team could be 4-0 if a 10 second run off rule didn’t exist.
Detroit plays Carolina next week, and they just took down the New England Patriots in New England. This game for the got tougher than expected, so the team and fans shouldn’t overlook Carolina as they just beat the Super Bowl champs.
Week Four: What To Think About
If the Lions can have this good of a running game while Stafford is playing better, this offense can put up points. It has been a long time since Detroit was able to run and throw the ball, and being able to do both is crucial to winning games in the NFL.
The steak of not having a 100-yard rusher extends to 56 games. While it isn’t the end of the world, Detroit needs to end the streak. They can’t keep winning games without having a stable running game. Running for over 100 yards doesn’t mean you win the game, but it helps the offense in general.