Live updates: Lions fall to Vikings, 26-16
The Lions will try to right their ship on Sunday against the Vikings with a 1 p.m. game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Follow the action here with updates throughout the game by Rod Beard of The Detroit News.
Lions fall to Peterson, Vikings, 26-16
The score isn't indicative of how poorly the Lions played and the statistics don't tell the full story, either. Adrian Peterson was the big story, with 134 rushing yards and Teddy Bridgewater was 14-of-18 for 153 yards and a touchdown.
Matthew Stafford was 32-of-53 for 286 yards and 2 TD, but he absorbed plenty of punishment with hits and hurries during the game. The offense was stagnant for most of the game, until a late TD catch by Eric Ebron. Calvin Johnson had 10 catches (on 17 targets) for 83 yards and a touchdown, but most of them were on short patterns.
Stafford taking punishment, showing moxie
Regardless of the outcome, Matthew Stafford will come out of this game with some bumps and bruises and will need some time in the hot tub and cold tub. He's been battered after some sacks and hurries and leads the team in rushing, an indication of how poorly they've run the ball today.
He was hurt last week, after the hit against the Chargers that gave him some numbness in his throwing arm, but he's bounced back this week.
Add a Stafford pick to the Lions' woes
As the Lions were looking to drive and cut the deficit to one score, they short-circuited again after Matthew Stafford tossed an interception to defensive lineman Justin Trattou. The offense hasn't had much of a flow all game, with short drives and turnovers that were reminiscent of last week's loss at San Diego.
It's concerning for offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, who has found ways to get the ball to Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate but has accounted for just one touchdown this week. The running game has been nonexistent (15 carries, 29 yards) and they don't have the answers to the Vikings' drives.
Lions' miscues turning into their undoing
It's a familiar narrative for Lions' fans with miscues today, shooting themselves in the foot when they have opportunities to dig themselves out of the big first-half hole they were in. Trading fumbles early in the third quarter and penalties throughout the game have made the road back into the game more difficult. But after all their adversity, the Lions still are within two touchdowns.
They haven't protected Matthew Stafford very well at all today and they've gotten the ball in Calvin Johnson's direction (10 targets, 7 catches, 70 yards and a touchdown) but they haven't been able to sustain the drives and keep their defense off the field.
A pair of turnovers prove fruitless
The Vikings and Lions started the second half with a pair of fumbles, but neither team was able to take advantage. On the first play after their recovery, the Vikings gave it back, on a drop by Adrian Peterson. The Lions couldn't get anything going offensively, as Matthew Stafford couldn't find a receiver on third down and had to run it out of bounds.
It's a tough half-plus for the Lions offensive line, which hasn't been able to protect Stafford and has only helped produce 13 rushing yards.
Lions close gap with Calvin Johnson TD
After looking to be nearly out of it, the Lions have responded with a TD drive, capped by an 11-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson. The play was reviewed because Johnson's feed looked to be out of bounds, but the call on the field stood, cutting the Vikings' lead to 17-10 at halftime.
Johnson only had 3 catches on 5 targets, but the touchdown was critical in getting some momentum heading into the locker room. Stafford looked to be a tad more accurate and got the Lions into position with his arm.
The Vikings got another big play from Adrian Peterson on a makeshift play from Teddy Bridgewater avoided a sack and ended up being a 49-yard pass play. They settled for a field goal, though, leaving the door open for the Lions.
Lions finally get on the scoreboard
Following their best drive of the game, the Lions had to settle for a field goal after the drive stalled. Matthew Stafford went 7-for-8 on the drive, hitting seven different receivers in the possession, but couldn't get into the end zone. They picked up a couple of third-down conversions and got Calvin Johnson involved a little, but still spread the ball too much and didn't get Johnson going the way that the Vikings have with Adrian Peterson.
The defense still hasn't shown that they can stop the Vikings and has been on the field for two extended drives. A stop would be helpful, along with a drive for a touchdown.
Lions dig an early hole against Vikings
After jumping to an early lead last week against the Chargers, the Lions have dug an early hole in the first quarter today against the Vikings. They haven't been able to get much of anything going offensively and the defense hasn't had an answer for Adrian Peterson, who has 13 carries for 70 yards. He appeared to have a touchdown run but a replay review showed that he didn't get in the end zone before his knee was down.
In any case, the Vikings have dominated the early line play on both sides of the ball. The defensive line hasn't been able to get a good hold on Peterson and the offensive line hasn't created any holes for Joique Bell or protection for Stafford on pass plays.
Lions defense picks up from last week
The Vikings went to Adrian Peterson seven times on their opening drive and the Lions didn't have much of an answer. Peterson totaled 45 yards, including a 25-yard burst. A key play was a quarterback draw by Teddy Bridgewater for a first down, inside the 10-yard line.
The defense was a sieve last week, allowing almost 500 yards to the Chargers, along with 30 straight points.
What to do to not go 0-2
Throw the ball to Calvin Johnson more. And Golden Tate. And don't give up 30 straight points.
That would be an easy entry and it's somewhat that simple. The offense has so many options that sometimes it's hard to get balance in assuring that Johnson, Tate and the others get enough touches. In any game, there's an urge to spread the ball around to Eric Ebron, Ameer Abdullah, Joique Bell and Theor Riddick. That's six weapons that Matthew Stafford has and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi joked that general manager Martin Mayhew should get some of the blame for having so many pieces. It's a legitimate point, but it's up to Lombardi and Stafford to figure things out. Lombardi also said that in some games, there won't be that balance and the numbers of touches will fluctuate.
More importantly will be the defense, which has to keep an eye on Adrian Peterson, while ensuring that Teddy Bridgewater doesn't keep his streak of completing 70 percent of his passes in five of the last six games. He has a better receiving weapon in Mike Wallace and if they can achieve a run-pass balance, that could give the Lions defense some problems. DeAndre Levy is out again at linebacker but the Lions have the rest of their defense healthy and playing. Brandon Pettigrew won't play today at tight end, which puts a bigger premium on the blocking up front for the offensive line.
With Green Bay as the only team in the division with a win in the opening week, it's important for the Lions not to fall too far back -- funny to be saying that in week 2, but it's true. They played ahead for most of the season last year, so they'll need some margin of error in case they need a tiebreaker down the stretch.