Recap: Lions force late fumble to beat Vikings, 14-7

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News
Lions running back Ameer Abdullah works up field in the second quarter Sunday against the Vikings.

Case Keenum completed the first pass of a potential game-tying drive to Adam Thielen, who then proceeded to fumble the ball back to the Lions after Glover Quin punched it out.

The Lions, behind a superb defensive effort, hung on to beat the Vikings 14-7.

The Lions offense knew it was going to be tough sledding against Minnesota's vaunted defense today. But despite the struggles of the offensive line in pass protection, the Lions were able to do enough running the ball and on defense, where they forced three Vikings fumbles.

Matt Stafford wasn't at his best. In fact, he probably got away with four different passes that could have gone for an interception. The quarterback finished 19-for-31 with 209 yards.

It was Ameer Abdullah who did the heavy lifting, carrying the ball 20 times for 94 yards and a touchdown against a defense that plays the run extremely well. The Lions added a two-point conversion following the Abdullah score.

Matt Prater had field goals of 29 and 37 yards. He missed a 59-yard field goal at the end of the first half.

Lions give the Vikings one last chance

The Lions went conservative with the ball and ran it three times, forcing the Vikings to use their final two timeouts before the two-minute warning. After the break, the Lions punted the ball. Minnesota will take over at their own 43 with 1:51 remaining and trailing 14-7.

Zettel makes the play of the day

Anthony Zettel came in unblocked on third-and-goal from the Lions 3 and sacked Case Keenum for a 12-yard loss back to the Minnesota 14. With 2:19 on the clock, the Vikings made the call to go for the game-tying touchdown, and Keenum threw the ball out of the back of the end zone.

With 2:12 remaining, the Lions are up 14-7. Minnesota has two timeouts and the two-minute warning, meaning one first down for the Lions offense should seal the deal.

Darius Slay was called for pass interference on third down, resulting in the Vikings getting the ball across midfield as they tried desperately to get the game-tying touchdown. Minnesota converted another third down play when Keenum found Kyle Rudolph at the Lions 27. Rudolph went up and over the defense on the next play for a catch down to the 8. After back-to-back Latavius Murray runs got the ball down to the 3, Zettel made the play of the day.

Vikings, Lions exchange punts

The Lions defense is doing its best to hold on to the lead, but the Lions offense isn't making things any easier. After getting the ball back at their own 36, Matt Stafford continued to deal with an immense mount of pressure from the Vikings defensive line, getting sacked on third down and forcing the Lions to punt the ball.

With 8:16 remaining, the Lions are still leading 14-7.

Lions punt as injuries pile up

The Lions were able to get the ball out near midfield, but a couple of injuries to TJ Lang and Ameer Abdullah forced those two to leave the field on third down. Matt Stafford nearly made a deadly mistake with an interception, but the defender came down out of bounds.

Jeff Locke pinned the Vikings deep at their own 5.

With 12:18 left to play, the Lions are holding on to their 14-7 lead.

Vikings miss key field goal

Case Keenum hit Stefon Diggs for a 32-yard gain to get Minnesota down to the Lions 23, but the Lions coverage tightened up and swatted away a couple of ball to force a Kai Forbath 39-yard field goal attempt that clanked off the right upright.

With 45 seconds left to play in the third quarter, the Lions lead 14-7.

Stafford fumble kills Lions drive

After the defense forced a three-and-out, the Lions were able to get out of the shadow of their own end zone by picking up a couple of first downs. On third down from their own 32, Matt Stafford fumbled and the Lions lost 21 yards after Minnesota challenged and got overturned the ruling of an incomplete pass. The Lions punted the ball back to the Vikings, who will take over at their own 40.

With 2:50 remaining in the third quarter, the Lions lead 14-7.

Abdullah's extra effort puts Lions on top

After two Ameer Abdullah runs resulted in a first down at the Minnesota 18, Matt Stafford found rookie tight end Michael Roberts for a 15-yard gain down to the 3. On second down, Abdullah somehow kept his knees off the ground in a pile and stretched the ball across the goal line for a touchdown. The play was initially ruled short of the goal line, but Jim Caldwell challenged the call on the field and Abdullah was awarded the score.

The Lions, wanting to take a seven-point lead, went for the two-point conversion and were successful when Stafford hit TJ Jones.

With 7:25 remaining in the third quarter, the Lions now lead 14-7.

Roberts' catch was the first of his NFL career.

Cook fumbles back to Lions

Dalvin Cook looked to be off to the races, but his knee buckled when he went to make a cut and he fumbled the ball back to the Lions. While this is good news for the Lions, Cook could be severely injured and that could be potentially devastating for the Vikings.

Lions cut into deficit with Prater FG

The Lions were able to turn the Vikings mistake into points with a 37-yard Matt Prater field goal that cuts the Minnesota lead to 7-6 with 10:41 remaining in the third quarter.

Matt Stafford hit TJ Jones for a 16-yard gain to get the Lions in position to take the lead, but once the Lions got down to the Minnesota 17, that stout Vikings defensive line stiffened and forced the field goal attempt.

Vikings fumble to open second half

Nevin Lawson was called for pass interference on the first play from scrimmage, resulting in a Minnesota first down near midfield. The Lions defense made amends two plays later, when the Vikings lined up in the wildcat and Jerrick McKinnon fumbled the ball on the exchange with Dalvin Cook, and the defense pounced on it.

The Lions offense will take over at the Minnesota 47.

Prater misses field goal, Lions trail at the half

Matt Stafford and Co. went into hurry-up mode at the end of the first half and were able to get the ball across midfield with 13 seconds on the clock. After taking their final timeout, the Lions ran a short pass to Marvin Jones to give Matt Prater a shot at a 59-yard field goal, which the Lions kicker didn't have enough leg to make.

At the half, the Vikings have a 7-3 lead.

The Lions defense played a pretty good first half of football, and they probably would have shut the Vikings out if not for a couple of breakdowns and missed opportunities on Minnesota's final drive that culminated in a touchdown.

Stafford went 11-for-18 for 134 yards in the first half, and Ameer Abdullah carried the ball 10 times for 66 yards as the Lions stuck with the run for much of the half.

Dalvin Cook rushed 11 times for 52 yards and a touchdown for Minnesota. Case Keenum was 8-for-13 for 119 yards through the air.

Cook makes Lions pay with late first half TD

After some missed opportunities by the Lions defense, Dalvin Cook made them pay with a five-yard touchdown run that puts the Vikings up 7-3 with 1:07 remaining in the first half.

The Vikings had something going as they crossed midfield, but Anthony Zettel was able to drop Case Keenum for a big loss and the Lions first sack of the day. Minnesota followed with a false start penalty to put itself in a second-and-26 hole, but the Lions secondary had a breakdown in coverage as Keenum hit Stefon Diggs for a 33-yard gain. On the next play, Keenum threw a jump ball into double coverage, but Miles Killebrew was unable to come up with the interception despite getting both hands on the ball.

Lions running back Ameer Abdullah (21) is tackled by Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph, right, during the first half Sunday in Minneapolis.

Abdullah carrying Lions in first half

In somewhat of a surprise, the Lions are doing a decent job running the ball today.

After the defense forced a three-and-out by the Vikings offense, the Lions took over and got back to the ground game. Ameer Abdullah picked up two first downs and now has 10 carries for 66 yards. A holding penalty put the Lions behind the chains, and they were forced to punt, but the pair of first downs has them currently in charge of field position.

Minneosta will start at its own 19 with 5:40 remaining in the first half and the Lions leading 3-0.

Prater field goal puts Lions out in front

The Lions made some big plays after taking over at their own 8-yard line, getting the ball inside the Vikings 10. But a sack put Matt Stafford and Co. behind the chains and the Lions were forced to settled for a 29-yard Matt Prater field goal.

With 10:47 remaining in the second quarter, the Lions lead 3-0.

Stafford was able to get away from the surging Vikings defensive line on third down to find Darren Fells for a first down at the 21. Two plays later, Stafford found Fells for the third time today, leading to another first down. A sack on the next play put the Lions behind the chains, but on third-and-17, Stafford hit Marvin Jones in stride for 38 yards into Minnesota territory as the first quarter expired. When the second quarter started, Eric Ebron reeled in a 15-yard catch-and-run before Fells made his fourth catch of the day to get the ball to the Minnesota 10.

Lions defense bends but doesn't break

Aided by a Lions encroachment penalty, the Vikings reeled off a couple of quick first downs to get out of the shadow of their own end zone. The Lions, now even thinner at linebacker with Paul Worrilow questionable to return with a knee injury, were still able to buck up and for a Minnesota punt.

The Vikings were able to flip the field, however, pinning the Lions at their own 8.

Abdullah's big run doesn't pay off

The Lions continue to stick with the running game, and Ameer Abdullah made sure they'll continue to feed him the rock, as he reeled off a 29-yard gain on first down to get the Lions across midfield. But again on third down, Matt Stafford and Marvin Jones weren't able to get on the same page, as the quarterback threw the ball a little early on a timing rout.

Another Jeff Locke punt sets the Vikings up at their own 10.

Defense forces Vikings punt after big play

Case Keenum hit Adam Thielen for a 24-yard gain to get the Vikings across midfield on the second play of their first drive. The Lions defense was able to stiffen from there, forcing a Minnesota punt.

That Lions will start their next drive from their own 20.

Lions forced to punt on opening drive

Matt Stafford was dropped for a sack on the first play of the game for a five-yard loss. Ameer Abdullah was able to put the Lions in a manageable third down distance with a nine-yard run on second down, and Stafford found Darren Fells for a first down out to the Minnesota 39. Back-to-back Abdullah runs went nowhere, and Stafford threw incomplete to Marvin Jones on third down, forcing the Lions to punt.

Detroit Lions wide receivers Golden Tate, from left, Marvin Jones Jr. and Jared Abbrederis warm up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings.

National anthem not broadcasted by FOX

FOX made the interesting decision to not air the national anthem this week in wake of polarizing movement that was players either protesting or linking arms with owners last week.

It's an interesting decision that's easily understandable. Many polls have shown that there are plenty of people that have said they won't watch football as long as players protest the anthem. The NFL is getting ahead of the situation now by not broadcasting the anthem, at least in this instance.

According to reports from Minnesota, Jaylen Reeves-Maybin and Steve Longa were two Lions that took a knee during the anthem, while the rest of the team stood with arms linked.


When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

TV / radio: FOX / WJR 760

Records: Lions 2-1, Vikings 2-1

Line: Vikings by 2.5


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