Sometimes being right feels worse than being wrong. Although we predicted this loss in our preseason preview, the way it happened hurts. The game highlighted by both teams forcing turnovers. The Lions threw three interceptions including two in the red zone, while the Vikings had two punts blocked, but we will discuss that in more detail later. Overall another disappointing effort from the team and they get run over in loss to Minnesota. Lets take a closer look at this game quarter-by-quarter.
First Quarter: Lions Start Slow
Up to today’s game, the Lions had scored first in each of their first seven games. That streak was broken by a Dalvin Cook five-yard touchdown run on the Vikings first offensive drive of the game. This started Detroit getting run over in loss to Minnesota While that was his only touchdown today, it was certainly not the only impact he had in this game. Kirk Cousins found Irv Smith for his first of two touchdowns on the day, but Dan Bailey missed the ensuing extra point to make things 13-0 at the end of the first quarter. Detroit ended the quarter scoreless after Matt Prater missed his sixth field goal of the season.
Second Quarter: No Finish for Detroit
The Lions had a much better day running the football today than they did last week against Indianapolis. Adrian Peterson once again got the start, but D’Andre Swift finished with the most carries and yards. Matthew Stafford leaned heavily on Danny Amendola throughout the game as Kenny Golladay missed Sunday’s game with a hip injury. He finished with seven catches for 77 yards. The Vikings ran strong thanks to good blocking, but Detroit aided them also. The Lions struggled immensely with tackling as both Cook and Alexander Mattison averaged more than five yards per carry. Marvin Jones caught Detroit’s only first half touchdown with just over a minute left to trim the lead to 13-10. Cousins lead the Vikings back down the field and former Lion running back Ameer Abdullah caught a screen and ran 22 yards to extend Minnesota’s lead.
Third Quarter: Things Devolve For Both Teams
Cook continued his strong rushing game which set up many play-action looks for Cousins that he was able to complete. Cousins finished with only 19 pass attempts, but three of them went for touchdowns including the second of the day for Smith in the third quarter. Stafford’s rough day started in the third as he threw two interceptions in the redzone. The second one was in the endzone after the Lions blocked their second punt in as many weeks. Desmond Trufant recorded the only sack for the Lions against Minnesota and was probably the best defender overall as he limited whoever he was guarding.
Fourth Quarter: Things Go From Bad To Worse For Detroit
Cook put the exclamation point on his outstanding day with a 70 yard sprint through the Lions defense to push him near 200 yards which he would surpass later in the quarter. That was not the most detrimental play for Detroit in the quarter though. As the Lions drove downfield, Stafford was sacked hard and came up woozy. Referee Clete Blakeman sent him to the sideline where he was examined and left the game and did not return. His injury status will be important for Detroit moving forward. Their season last year fell apart after Stafford suffered an injury last season. Austin Bryant, whose been injured since the Lions picked him in the 4th round of last season’s NFL Draft, blocked the second punt of the game and the third in the last two weeks for Detroit. Prior to last week, the Lions had not blocked a punt since 2007.
Conclusion: Lions Hopes Lie With Matthew Stafford’s Health
Coming into the game there were plenty of thoughts that the Lions would get run over in loss to Minnesota. Watching how it happened makes it that much more disappointing. Two of the main signings this past off-season were Danny Shelton and Nick Williams to shore up the middle of the defensive line. While they have done that in spurts most of their performances have left lots to desire. If Stafford misses any time with his possible concussion Detroit’s minimal playoff hopes will go down the drain. Watching a team coached by a “defensive guru” get decimated by the run today should embarrass everyone in the organization. There has to be something done, but it doesn’t seem likely it will happen during the season. Detroit will look to bounce back next week against the Washington Football team.