The Minnesota Vikings put the ball in the hands of quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions offense to start this NFC North clash. The Lions tried to establish the run on their opening drive and running back Zach Zenner took a rush 29 yards for a new season long. After getting into borderline field goal range, Detroit took seven yards in losses resulting in a punt on their opening drive.
Minnesota started their first drive at their own two-yard line. They elected for a very conservative approach from there and punted from the end zone. The Lions took the good field position and got their first field goal of the half. This one was good from 47- yards and made it 3-0 Detroit.
There was an early effort by the Lions to involve running back LeGarrette Blount in the passing game to no availability. The Lions defense played very well through one quarter, forcing three possessions without a first down.
The Lions started the second quarter with good field position again but settled for a second Prater field goal making it 6-0. Minnesota continued to struggle on their fourth drive, going three and out again thanks to defensive end Romeo Okwara’s seventh sack of the season.
Detroit once again got in range for a Prater field goal that made it 9-0 with 4:05 to go in the half. Their offensive production was once again in big part due to wide receiver Kenny Golladay. He led all receivers with five catches for 57 yards in the first half.
Minnesota finally got the offense going on their next drive. Quarterback Kirk Cousins found a wide-open wide receiver in Adam Thielen on a 3rd and 17 to set up a 1st and goal for the Vikings. Two plays later Cousins found wide receiver Stefon Diggs for a touchdown pass that made it 9-7 Detroit.
The visiting team hail mary magic was at work again inside Ford Field today. With only two seconds left in the first half, the Vikings let one fly for the end zone and big tight end Kyle Rudolph came down with a hail mary catch as time expired in the first half. That led to a 14-9 lead for the Vikings as the teams entered the halftime locker room.
The Vikings came out to start half number two and continued their momentum from the first half. They were able to drive over 60 yards, but the Lions defense forced a 24-yard Dan Bailey field goal which made it 17-9 Vikings.
Neither team was able to get anything going on the next three drives. They all resulted in punts.
The Vikings took a drive into the fourth quarter and wasted little time adding to their lead. Cousins found Rudolph for his second touchdown catch of the game making it 24-9 with 13:25 to go in the game.
In an attempt to keep hope alive the Lions elected to go for it on 4th and 3 from their own 18, but Stafford took a sack and Minnesota would take over at the Lions 10-yard line. That led to some more points for Minnesota via a Bailey 27-yarder which made it 27 unanswered for the Vikings.
The Lions elected to bring in backup quarterback Matt Cassel to relieve Stafford after that score.
Despite a very slow start and a cascade of penalties the Vikings offense ended up putting together a solid day.
The Lions dominated this football game for the first 26 minutes. It’s been a recurring theme this season, however, that the team gives up a lot of points in a short stretch putting the game out of reach. Minnesota put up 17 unanswered points in a span of eight minutes which swung all the momentum in this one.