Lions lose to Vikings, fall to 1-6
The Lions looked so good. For a quarter.
After that, it was a pretty ugly mess -- resulting in a 28-19 loss to the Vikings this afternoon at Ford Field. That means the Lions will head off to London with an ugly 1-6 record.
The Lions went way conservative on play-calling in the second half, to the disgust of the fans. But they still had a late chance to make things interesting, as Matthew Stafford finally got the green light and threw one strike after another to march the Lions to the Vikings' 1-yard line.
Late in the fourth quarter, he completed five consecutive passes, the big ones a 31-yarder to Theo Riddick and a 9-yarder to Calvin Johnson that Stafford somehow completed despite getting absolutely leveled by the Vikings as he released the ball.
In other words, Lions started passing, and started making progress.
But on second- and third-and-goal from the 1, the Lions ran plays for George Winn and Michael Burton. Figure that one out.
Neither gained an inch, and the Lions went for it on fourth down -- with Stafford firing an incomplete pass. They could've kicked a field goal and taking their chances on an onside kick, but instead the game pretty much ended right there instead.
The Lions picked up two extra points when the Vikings intentionally took a safety rather than punting from the end zone.
The Vikings improved to 4-2 behind a good game from Teddy Bridgewater, who threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns.
Stafford actually had the better passer rating, despite having no time to throw -- and getting sacked seven times.
Fans rain boos down on Lions
The Lions fans have had enough.
They just poured some thunderous boos on the Lions, who completed an abysmal drive with another punt -- marking four possessions in a row that have ended with a punt. The Vikings lead, 28-17, about five minutes into the final quarter.
The Lions at least got a first down on the drive, albeit only because of a Vikings holding penalty.
After the first down, Matthew Stafford was sacked for a loss of 9 -- the offensive line might not have even gotten a hand on Eric Kendricks -- and then they took a delay-of-game penalty before Stafford could call timeout.
The boos really came down when the Lions ran it on third-and-13.
The drive ended with a rush for a loss of a yard.
Vikings keep on rolling, lead Lions, 28-17
It's not a two-possession game in favor of the Vikings, and that's bad news for a Lions team that has gone three-and-out on each of its last three possessions -- and quarterback Matthew Stafford is dealing with a hand injury.
Blair Walsh kicked a 22-yard field goal for the Vikings -- his fifth field goal of the game -- to make it 28-17 Minnesota early in the fourth quarter.
A 30-yard pass by Teddy Bridgewater to a wide-open Adam Thielen was the big play of the drive.
I've never seen so many wide-open receivers as the Vikings have had today.
Adrian Peterson also had a 12-yard run on the drive, and Bridgewater found MyCole Pruitt for a 13-yard catch.
Ford Field, as you can imagine, is clearing out in a hurry.
Vikings strike again, lead Lions, 25-17
Adrian Peterson, sick or not, is still Adrian Peterseon.
He busted a 75-yard run on the first play of the Vikings' possession, setting up another field goal. Minnesota leads Detroit, 25-17.
It could've been worse, but Ziggy Ansah hustled and chased down Peterson at the 3-yard line. It seemed he was certain to find the end zone.
Stephen Tulloch then dropped Peterson for a loss of 3, and after an incomplete pass, Teddy Bridgewater was sacked by Caraun Reid to limit the Vikings to another field.
Blair Walsh nailed it from 35 yards out.
He now has four field goals and an extra point on the day.
The score came after another Lions three-and-out, a drive that featured them running on second-and-10 and throwing short on third-and-5, spurring some boos from the Lions fans that remain in the building.
Vikings take 22-17 lead over Lions
And just like that, the Vikings now have their first lead of the game.
To open the second half, Minnesota marched 78 yards on eight plays to take a 22-17 lead.
The drive was capped by an impressive 36-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater, under pressure, to Stefon Diggs, who laid out in the end zone to haul in the catch.
Bridgewater had a lot of time to work with on that drive, and took advantage of it.
The Vikings also were helped out by a pivotal holding penalty by Quandre Diggs.
That wiped out what had been a sack by Jason Jones, and gave the Vikings a fresh set of downs.
Vikings score just before half; Lions lead, 17-15
The Vikings kicked a field goal just as time expired on the half, cutting the Lions lead to 17-15
Blair Walsh nailed it from 51 yards, to go with a 53-yarder from earlier. Interestingly, he missed his only extra-point attempt. Figure that out.
The Lions figured to get the last drive of the half, but they stalled -- and a bad sideline pass by Matthew Stafford stopped the clock, just before Detroit punted away to Minnesota.
Then Detroit committed a holding on the kickoff, putting Minnesota near midfield.
Teddy Bridgewater made a couple nice passes, both for 11-yard gains to Mike Wallace and Jarius Wright.
Another Haloti Ngata sack of Bridgewater, though, pushed the Vikings back and forced them to settle for the field goal.
The Lions outplayed the Vikings early, but not so much in the second quarter. And just like that, we've got a game here.
Vikings score a touchdown, trail 17-12
The Vikings have scored their first touchdown of the day, just before halftime.
Teddy Bridgewater found Kyle Rudolph for a 1-yard score just after the two-minute warning. Interestingly, though, Blair Walsh -- who made a 52-yard field goal earlier in the quarter -- botched the extra point.
So the Lions lead, 17-12.
The Lions defense has looked good at times, but it suffered one massive breakdown on the Vikings' seven-play, 79-yard drive.
Bridgewater found Zach Line unbelievably wide open along the left sideline, and that resulted in a 49-yard gain.
Lions add field goal, lead 17-6
The Lions game plan was to stop Adrian Peterson. Getting him to fumble is gravy.
One play after the Vikings converted again on third-and-long, Peterson fumbled -- and Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch recovered.
Six plays later, Lions kicker Matt Prater nailed a 52-yard field goal to make it 17-6 Lions with the first half winding down.
Ameer Abdullah had a nice 13-yard run early in the drive, which stalled when Matthew Stafford was sacked for a loss of 12.
Stafford never saw Everson Griffen coming, and Griffen absolutely clobbered him.
The next play, a 4-yard Theo Riddick gain got Prater 4 yards closer, and he delivered.
Vikings add field goal, trail Lions, 14-6
At this rate, the Lions will be 2-5 before they head off to London.
The Lions defense again limited the Vikings to a field goal, and Detroit leads 14-6 early in the second quarter. Blair Walsh kicked a 53-yard field goal.
It looked like the Vikings would come away with nothing, but on the first play of the second quarter, on third-and-3, Teddy Bridgewater found Stefon Diggs for a 30-yard gain.
The Lions shut it down five plays later, though, when Haloti Ngata sacked Bridgewater for an 11-yard loss.
It wasn't enough to get the Vikings out of field-goal range, but it was a big play all the same.
Lions score again, lead Vikings 14-3
The Lions are getting healthy, with Joique Bell and Eric Ebron back in the mix on offense.
Both had big plays late in the first quarter as the Lions scored again, taking a 14-3 lead on the Vikings. The drive covered 80 yards in four plays.
On the first play, Matthew Stafford found Ebron open deep left, and hit him for a 55-yard gain.
The next play, Bell dashed for 14 yards and another first down.
Ameer Abdullah added a 9-yard run that got Detroit to first-and-goal, and then Stafford scrambled and finally found Ebron for a 7-yard TD strike.
Fans are digging this right now, especially after how awful the offense looked through five games.
Vikings' field goal cuts Lions' lead
It could've been worse for the Lions, who limited the Vikings to a field goal late in the first quarter.
Blair Walsh booted a 37-yard kick to cut Detroit's lead to 7-3, capping off a 15-play drive that ate up a whole bunch of clock.
The Vikings were moving well, behind Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson.
But Lions defender Rashean Mathis -- back in the game a few plays after taking a hit to the head -- committed a smart illegal-contact penalty that gave the Vikings a fresh set of downs, but prevented them from scoring a touchdown.
The Lions defense stayed tough, especially Quandre Diggs, who had a big pass breakup. Kyle Van Noy also was credited with a sack on the drive, chasing Bridgewater out of bounds on a keeper.
Lions score TD on first possession
You wonder where the Lions offense has been hiding all these weeks.
They broke out in a big way against the Bears last week, and got things started this week against the Vikings on the opening drive for a quick 7-0 lead.
After a nice 31-yard kickoff return by Ameer Abdullah, the Lions put together a 75-yard drive in just seven plays, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson. That was the 50th touchdown between Stafford and Johnson.
The big play, though, came earlier, when, on third-and-3, Stafford rolled out and found Johnson wide open downfield, for a 46-yard game -- causing Ford Field to erupt, despite a late-arriving crowd.
Back-to-back 8-yard runs by Theo Riddick and Abdullah followed.
Lions set for first of several must-wins
You can't win your second game of the season until you win your first.
The Lions finally got that first one out of the way last week in an overtime win over the Bears, assuring Detroit won't have another winless season. The Lions are 1-5, and the Vikings are 3-2.
On the injury front, it appears running back Joique Bell is returning. That's a plus for the Lions, who lost Zach Zenner for the season last week.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who was ill earlier in the week, seems ready to go today at Ford Field.
After today's game, the Lions head to London for a game against the Chiefs, and then get the following week off.
Follow along at www.detroitnews.com throughout the game for live updates and analysis.