Detroit Lions At Minnesota Vikings: An In Depth Game Review

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The Detroit Lions Defeated The Minnesota Vikings 14-7. Here’s How It Happened.

1st Quarter

The Lions received the opening kickoff, and got off to a good start on offense, converting a third down and six with a 10 yard Darren Fells reception. They couldn’t pick up another first down though, and had to punt.

The Vikings also picked up a first down on their drive with a 24 yard pass to Adam Thielen, but they also failed to gain another first down and had to punt.

On the first play of the ensuing Lions possession, Ameer Abdullah had a big 29 yard rush. Two incomplete Matthew Stafford passes set up fourth down though, and the Lions had to punt.

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The Vikings picked up two first downs on the next possession with a Case Keenum pass and a Dalvin Cook run, before the drive stalled at midfield and they were forced to punt.

The final possession of the first quarter started at the Lions eight yard line. Darren Fells converted another third and medium with a 10 yard reception, and Marvin Jones converted a third down and 17 with a 38 yard catch to move the Lions to the Minnesota 38 as the quarter ended.

Tied at 0

2nd Quarter

The Lions continued the drive by making good use of their tight ends, as Eric Ebron caught a 15 yard pass and Darren Fells ran for 10 yards off of a screen. The drive stalled thereafter, and Detroit kicked a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

The Vikings answered the first score of the game by going three and out, as Stefon Diggs only managed to gain two yards on a third down and three.

The next Lions drive started out promising as Ameer Abdullah gained another 26 yards on just four plays, but a holding penalty derailed the possession and Detroit had to punt.

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Minnesota’s next drive was very Stefon Diggs heavy, as the receiver made two receptions for 54 yards to quickly move the Vikings down the field. With just over a minute left in the half, Dalvin Cook received a handoff at the Lions five yard line, and took it in for a touchdown, giving the Vikings their first lead of the game.

With 1:07 left in the first half, Detroit attempted to answer this score. Matthew Stafford hit Golden Tate for 15 yards, then again for 10 yards. A short pass to Marvin Jones set up a 59 yard field goal attempt for Matt Prater right before halftime, but the field goal attempt came up short.

Vikings lead 7-3

3rd Quarter

Nevin Lawson committed a big penalty for the Lions on the first play of the second half, pass interfering with Adam Thielen. The penalty immediately moved the Vikings near midfield. However, just two plays later the Vikings ran a trick play where Jerick McKinnon fumbled a direct snap and the Lions defense was able to recover it.

The Lions took advantage of the fumble with an passes of 18 yards to TJ Jones and an 8 yards to Ameer Abdullah to set up a Matt Prater field goal, making the score 7-6.

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The Vikings only possessed the ball for one play on the next drive, as Dalvin Cook fumbled the ball and Tahir Whitehead recovered it for the Lions. Cook was injured on the play and did not return to the game.

This fumble set up the only Lions touchdown of the game, when Ameer Abdullah was able to punch into the end zone from three yards out. The Lions went for two and converted with a pass to TJ Jones, giving themselves a seven point advantage.

Both of the next two possessions ended in punts. Minnesota’s last possession of the third quarter started with a 32 yard reception by Stefon Diggs to put them in position for a 39 yard field goal, but kicker Kai Forbath massed it, bouncing the kick off of the upright.

Lions lead 14-7

4th Quarter

The Lions got off to a good start in the fourth quarter, picking up a first down with an 11 yard TJ Jones catch. Stafford was sacked on the next play though, forcing a punt.

Minnesota went three and out on their ensuing possession, as did Detroit on theirs.

The Vikings methodically marched down the field on the next possession going 62 yards in 13 plays and taking six minutes off of the clock. Once they got near the goal line, Detroit’s defense finally tightened up and Anthony Zettel made a sack on third and goal to set the Vikings up with a fourth down and goal from the 14 yard line. The Vikings went for it, and were unable to convert as Keenum threw a pass out of the back of the endzone.

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Detroit got the ball after the turnover on downs with 2:12 left in the game. Just one first down would’ve clinched the game, but the Lions offense was unable to produce that and they had to punt.

The Vikings started their last possession at their own 44 yard line with 1:51 left, needing a touchdown to tie the game. On the first play, Keenum connected with Thielen for an 11 yard gain. However, as Thielen turned upfield to run, Lions safety Glover Quin was able to punch the ball our of his hands. Linebacker Tahir Whitehead recovered the fumble, and the Lions had clinched the victory.

Lions win 14-7

Key Stats

The Lions ran for 97 yards

Although 97 yards rushing isn’t extremely impressive, the Lions ran the ball well enough to get the job done. A huge bulk of the rushing came from Ameer Abdullah, who set a new career high with 94 rushing yards.

The Lions defense held Minnesota to just 284 total yards

Minnesota had one of the top offenses in the NFL going into this game, as Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen were both top five in receiving yards and Dalvin Cook was the second leading rusher in the NFL. Detroit did a good job of containing all three.

The Lions won time of possession 36:27 to 23:33

The Lions possessed the football on offense for nearly two thirds of this game. Although the offense didn’t put up a ton of points, they did a great job of taking time off of the clock by gaining a first downs and flipping field position.

The Lions defense had 3 takeaways

Minnesota fumbled the ball three times (all in the second half) and the Lions recovered all of them. Eleven of the Lions 14 points came off of turnovers. The defense put this team in a great position to win on Sunday.

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Matthew Stafford was sacked 6 times

Greg Robinson, Graham Glasgow and Rick Wagner all had terrible games on Sunday. Stafford had no time to throw for much of this game, and, as a result, the offense left a lot of points on the field.

The Lions offense was just 1 for 3 in the red zone

This was the second week in a row that red zone offense has been an issue, as the Lions scored just one touchdown on three trips into the red zone. The offense needs to figure out how to punch the football into the end zone.

The Lions went 3 for 13 on third down, the Vikings went 3 for 10

Both defenses did a great job of holding on third downs on Sunday. Both offenses did a bad job of converting. This is another area that needs big improvement for the Lions.

The Vikings were 0 for 1 on fourth down conversion attempts

Late in the game, the Vikings offense tried to convert a fourth down and goal from the Lions 11 yard line, and the Lions defense did their job, forcing Case Keenum to throw the ball out of the back of the end zone.

Plays That Made The Game

Ameer Abdullah’s 29 yard run was a bit of an early surprise, since the Lions have had a bad rushing attack and the Vikings are known for their run defense. The blocking was really good on this play and Abdullah just had a huge opening to the outside for a big gain.

Marvin Jones’ 38 yard reception converted a third down and 17 for the Lions offense. Miscommunication in the Vikings secondary led to Marvin Jones coming wide open deep, and Stafford found him for a big gain. This play set up the Lions first points of the game off of a Matt Prater field goal.

Davlin Cook’s 5 yard touchdown gave the Vikings a four point lead going into halftime. The blocking from the offensive line was excellent, and Cook was practically able to walk into the end zone for the touchdown.

Davlin Cook’s fumble suffered a season ending non contact injury was the turning point in this game. The Vikings were up by one point in the third quarter when Dalvin Cook on this play while trying to make a cut. As he was falling to the ground, Tavon Wilson buried his helmet into the football, forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Lions.

Ameer Abdullah’s touchdown run and the following two point conversion put the Lions up by seven. Abdullah muscled his way through traffic around the line of scrimmage to fall forward into the endzone, the Matthew Stafford hit TJ Jones on an out route for the two point conversion.

Glover Quin’s forced fumble clinched this game for the Lions. With the Vikings down by seven and out of timeouts with less than two minutes remaining, Case Keenum hit Adam Thielen for a first down. As Thielen turned upfield to run, Glover Quin reached in and punched the football out. Tahir Whitehead recovered the fumble, and the game was over.

Player Of The Game

Ameer Abdullah is the  player of the game this week. He carried the football 20 times in the game, rushing for 94 yards and a touchdown. Abdullah seemed like the only Lions player that could consistently move the ball on Sunday when he set a new career high for rushing yardage in a single game.

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If Abdullah can keep running like this, the Lions offense is going to be a lot more dangerous going forward. Right now, he is on pace to be the first 1,000 yard rusher for the Lions since Reggie Bush in 2013, and just the third since Barry Sanders retired.

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