Lions vs Vikings Was A Thanksgiving Battle That Went Down To The End.
Thursday was for most of the marbles for both teams ahead in the NFC North. The Lions were trailing the Minnesota Vikings by two games, and winning would cut the lead to one and keep the divisional title hopes alive. Sadly, they were shattered as Detroit falls back to three games in the division and with the series tied 1-1, they will need Minnesota to drop four of their next five games, something that seems highly unlikely.
Matt Stafford was off his game. He threw some simple passes horribly, causing receivers to drop them or they never even had a chance. Stafford injured his ankle, but returned to the game and never missed a snap. He finished the day 20/35 for 250 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
This running attack wasn’t like the last Vikings game, the Lions couldn’t ever get anything going. Ameer Abdullah lead the team in carries with six for 14 yards. Theo Riddick was the most productive in yards, getting five carries for 20 yards. Zach Zenner saw a carry for six yards.
Marvin Jones showed his chemistry with Stafford today, finishing with six catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Eric Ebron and Golden Tate were next in catches with four each, but the yardage difference was notable, Ebron had 34, Tate a measley seven. Kenny Golladay showed his presence again with two catches for 61 yards.
The offensive line looked horrible against the Vikings front seven, letting Stafford get sacked three times and again, no big holes for the running backs. Travis Swanson left the game with an injury and didn’t return, moving Graham Glasgow to center, and bringing Corey Robinson to left guard.
No pressure from the front four, and with all the hype of the Dwight Freeney signing, he didn’t play, but should be on track to play next sunday against the Ravens. Ziggy Ansah made his presence felt in his first game back, getting a sack and two tackles. Akeem Spence got a half sack and four tackles, the other half went to Anthony Zettel. A’Shawn Robinson was huge on the line, getting six tackles, and blocking an extra point.
Linebackers got torched again in the passing game. Tahir Whitehead lead the team in tackles with 13, but was burned on a touchdown pass. Jarrad Davis was next in tackles with seven and he again, struggled in pass coverage.
Darius Slay had his worst performance of the season, getting three tackles, but lacking in coverage and allowing receivers to beat him. He wasn’t the only disapointment, everyone on the defense had a bad day, and the secondary allowed 282 yards through the air.
Special Teams was the only bright side, as Matt Prater made all three of his field goals, the longest being 50 yards out. Sam Martin had four punts for 180 yards, with one landing inside the 20 yard line. With Jamal Agnew out, Tate and TJ Jones did the return duties. TJ had a kick return for 35 yards, and a punt return for 17 yards, while Tate had one for 13. The line also blocked a field goal and a extra point, and sadly messed up a field goal block that was returned for a touchdown.
Week 11: What It Means
Detroit’s NFC North title chances took a big hit in the loss. With it, the Vikings are close to clinching the division, and there is nothing Detroit can do anymore about it. All they can do is win and hope Minnesota loses. Wildcard is the main focus right now, as Carolina, Atlanta, and Seattle are ahead right now.
Stafford with a wonky ankle isn’t a good sign for the team. The long break between games is a good thing for him, and we all know Stafford will still play, eliminating his running ability hurts him overall. You could even see that the injury affected some of his throws.
Week 11: What To Think About
Bob Quinn spent a lot of money on this offensive line and it isn’t working so far. I’m not calling for heads to roll and to cut everyone, but if this team wants a playoff chance, they have to gel and get things working fast. You can’t win games with only one part of the offense working.
Freeney will hopefully give the line a boost that they desperatley need. Ansah was able to get a big sack, and if Freeney can even give some pressure it will be a big help to the defense. Stopping the run is needed and every experienced player that can contribute helps.