Vikings deny Lions on deep routes

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Besides a couple broken plays, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hardly tested the Vikings with deep passes, which is what Minnesota hoped.

“Don’t let them behind you,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. “That was the key.”

And the Vikings were successful with that plan as the longest play for the Lions was for 19 yards. There weren’t any jump ball attempts for wide receiver Calvin Johnson, nor any shots downfield to Corey Fuller.

Instead, the Lions continued hoping their short passing game could produce big gains.

“We look at what we’re facing, and there’s a lot of different things that we look at in terms of (what’s) involved in that aspect of it,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said about why the Lions didn’t throw deep. “And we make the necessary adjustments.”

The offensive line problems contributed to the scheme, but Johnson had plenty of one-on-one matchups with cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Instead of having Johnson try to run past him, the Lions had him working with short breaking routes as he had 83 yards on 10 catches.

“We’re hurting ourselves right now,” Johnson said of the miscues offensively.