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Recap: Vikings take hold of the division with win over Lions

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News
The Lions' Marvin Jones Jr. makes a touchdown catch despite tight coverage by the Vikings' Xavier Rhodes late in the second quarter.

The Lions tried and tried, but a comeback against one of the league's best defenses just wasn't in the cards this time around.

Behind good quarterback play from Case Keenum, the Vikings improved to 8-2 this season, taking a three-game lead on the Lions with five games remaining in the season in a 33-23 win at Ford Field.

The loss is the Lions' first on Thanksgiving Day since 2012.

Keenum did the majority of his work in the first half. He finished 21-for-30 for 282 yards and two touchdowns.

Matt Stafford had stellar numbers (20-for-35, 250 yards, 2 TD, INT), but a slow start was the difference today for the Lions, as they fell behind 13-0 in the first quarter.

Marvin Jones Jr. had six receptions for 106 yards and two scores, but nobody else did much of anything.

Adam Thielen had eight catches for 89 yards for Minnesota, and Kyle Rudolph had four receptions for 63 yards and two scores.

Stafford picked off with game on the line

The Lions started at their own 25 with 3:42 on the clock. After an incompletion on first down, Stafford hit Golden Tate for a short gain on second down as the Vikings continued to come with the blitz. On third down, Stafford missed a wide open Tate running down the middle of the field. On fourth-and-8, Stafford was intercepted by Xavier Rhodes, and the Vikings will take over at the Lions 16.

With 2:50 remaining, the Lions have one timeout and the two-minute warning, but they trail 30-23.

Minnesota settles for field goal

The Lions allowed the Vikings offense to move the ball, but they've kept this a one-score game by forcing Minnesota to settle for a 36-yard field goal from Kai Forbath.

With 3:42 remaining, the Vikings lead 30-23.

Stefon Diggs stretched out and converted a third down out to the 47. With just over four minutes remaining, the Lions dropped Jerick McKinnon for a loss to set up a second-and-14. That's when Case Keenum hit Diggs for a 37-yard gain down to the Lions 20. The Lions stuffed the run on first and second down, and on third down, they got pressure on Keenum and forced him to throw the ball away.

Tate makes a mental error

Golden Tate made a first down catch at the marker but decided it would be a good idea to spin backwards to try and get even more yardage.

That was not a good decision, as Tate was dropped immediately and came up short of the marker.

With 6:21 remaining, the Lions trail 27-23.

Lions bend but don't break

Minnesota got into Lions territory, but the Lions defense stiffened and was able to force a Vikings punt that gets the ball back to the Lions offense with 8:28 remaining at their own 9.

Matt Stafford is back on the field with the Lions trailing 27-23.

Case Keenum ducked under Teez Tabor to avoid the blitz on third down, stepping up in the pocket to find Adam Thielen at the 37. On the next play, Thielen made another grab, this time to get Minnesota out across midfield. The Vikings churned out another first down at the Lions 37.

Jones makes amazing TD grab, Stafford hurt

Marvin Jones went up in double coverage to grab a 43-yard touchdown pass on third-and-14 as the Lions have cut the Vikings lead to 27-23 with 14:16 remaining.

The big news could be Matt Stafford, who had a defender blocked into his right leg and was on the ground in pain after the touchdown. He limped off the field.

T.J. Jones set the Lions up with good field position at the Minnesota 39. After an incomplete pass, Stafford was dropped for a sack before delivering a bullet to Jones.

Defense steps up

The Lions dropped Latavius Murray for a loss on first down, and on third down, Ziggy Ansah got to Case Keenum for a sack as the third quarter expired. The Vikings were also called for taunting, and they'll be punting the ball back to the Lions when the fourth quarter gets under way.

Right now, at the end of the third, it's 27-16.

Lions settle for another field goal

The Lions got into Minnesota territory again, but they were forced to settle for a 50-yard Matt Prater field goal that cuts the Vikings lead to 27-16 with 1:03 remaining in the third quarter.

After the defense got the ball back to the offense, Stafford hit Kenny Golladay for a 20-yard gain out near midfield. Two plays later, Stafford found Theo Riddick in Vikings territory three yards shy of a first down. On third-and-3, Stafford found Eric Ebron for a first down at the 40. After a holding penalty on Minnesota, Riddick went for an 8-yard gain on first down, but Stafford couldn't hit an open Ameer Abdullah on second down. On third down, Stafford was sacked.

TD overturned, Lions settle for FG

It appeared that Darren Fells brought in a 15-yard touchdown pass, but upon further review, the referees decided that Fells pinned the ball on the ground and overturned the call. The Lions settled for a 32-yard field goal from Matt Prater that cuts the Minnesota lead to 27-13 with 7:08 remaining in the third quarter.

The Lions converted their first third down of the day when Stafford found Marvin Jones for a 16-yard gain into Vikings territory. Eric Ebron reeled in a 14-yard gain for a first down at the 14, but the Lions stalled after that.

For all the gripes about Ebron, Fells has dropped his fair-share of balls this season. That's his second of the day.

Vikings march down the field to start 2nd half

Well, that looked easy.

It took four running plays for the Vikings to go 75 yards and take a 27-10 lead to start the second half.

It was capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Latavius Murray.

Murray took the first play of the half 46 yards into Lions territory, and Jerick McKinnon followed that up with a 16-yard run of his own down to the 13. On the next play, 11 yard-gain for McKinnon. This drive was a clinic and one that could perhaps bury the Lions before they even get to touch the ball in the second half.

Lions get one back before the half

Matt Stafford hit Marvin Jones in the end zone for a six-yard touchdown with 10 seconds remaining in the half.

It was something the Lions needed desperately, as they cut the Minnesota lead to 20-10 heading into the break.

With three timeouts and 37 seconds on the clock, the Lions, trailing 20-3, were forced to try and get some points on the board prior to halftime. Stafford hit Kenny Golladay with a 41-yard bomb down to the Minnesota 34 with 23 seconds remaining in the half. A pass interference penalty on the Vikings moved the ball down to the 12. The Vikings followed that up with a personal foul penalty, putting the ball at the 6 with 15 seconds remaining.

For those keeping track, the Lions were able to go 75 yards in just 27 seconds.

That comes after a half in which the Lions were thoroughly dominated, as they had just 95 total yards prior to the final drive. As is stands, Stafford is 9-for-17 for 124 yards and a score.

Case Keenum had been on fire. He's 14-for-18 for 189 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions defense is going to have to figure out a way to slow him down in the second half.

Vikings strike again

Minnesota took over at its own 26, and on second down Case Keenum hit Kyle Rudolph for a 34-yard gain to get out to the Lions 41. Three plays later, Keenum found Rudolph again for a 22-yard touchdown that gives the Vikings a 20-3 lead with 37 seconds remaining in the half.

Nothing to show for blocked FG

The Lions got the ball at their own 43 following the blocked field goal, but they weren't able to do anything with it and had to punt the ball back to the Vikings with 1:58 on the clock.

Lions block Vikings FG attempt

Kai Forbath had his 53-yard field goal attempt blocked and the Lions will take over after looking like they would find themselves in a big hole just a few minutes earlier.

The drive: The Lions handed the Vikings a first down on a defensive holding penalty. Three plays later,  Case Keenum delivered a strike to Jarius Wright for another third down conversion. After getting to midfield, Keenum picked up a first down with his feet on an eight-yard gain down to the Lions 41. Things kept churning along when Keenum hit Adam Thielen for 14 yards, but Akeem Spence slowed things down when he blasted through the line to drop Jerick McKinnon for a six-yard loss on first down. That put the Vikings behind the chains and they were forced to settle for the long field goal attempt.

Lions settle for field goal

The Lions are on the board after a 32-yard field goal from Matt Prater cuts the Vikings lead to 13-3 with 10:15 remaining in the first half.

The drive: After both offenses exchanged three-and-outs, the Lions were able to get a couple of first downs to get the ball into Minnesota territory for the first time today. Matt Stafford hit Eric Ebron for a 13-yard gain down to the 32. Stafford was dropped for a sack and a loss of five on the next play, but he bounced back to deliver a strike to Marvin Jones for a 23-yard gain. After Darren Fells dropped a pass in the end zone, the Lions dialed up a perfectly timed screen pass against the blitz, but Theo Riddick dropped the pass. On third down, Stafford's attempted pass to Jones was broken up by Xavier Rhodes.

Vikings waltz into end zone

Jerrick McKinnon took a screen pass on second down for 31 yards down to the Lions 9. Case Keenum walked into the end zone on the very next play, putting Minnesota up 13-0 with 3:55 to play in the first quarter.

It has not been a very happy Thanksgiving for the Lions thus far today.

Lions fumble the ball back to Vikings

Marvin Jones took a quick pass from Stafford for a 17-yard gain on the first play of the drive. But that's where things went terribly wrong, as Stafford and Ameer Abdullah couldn't properly execute a handoff exchange and the Vikings recovered the fumble.

Vikings go 80 yards for opening TD

Case Keenum hit Kyle Rudolph for a one-yard touchdown to cap a 14-play, 80-yard drive by the Vikings that gives them a 6-0 lead with 5:29 remaining in the first quarter.

A'Shawn Robinson blocked the extra point.

The Drive: On third down, Keenum stepped up in the pocket and found Adam Thielen for a first down. Akeem Spence was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play, resulting in the ball being moved into Lions territory. After a couple short-yardage gains, Keenum broke the pocket and ran for a first down at the Lions 35. Thielen reeled in a 12-yard gain on the next play, but a holding penalty on first down pushed the ball back to the 32. No matter, as Keenum hit Stefon Diggs for 13 yards down to the 19. On third-and-6, Keenum went back to Diggs for a first down to the 12.

At the 4:51 mark of the first quarter, Minnesota will get the ball at the Lions 39.

Lions can't take advantage of good field position

T.J. Jones' nice return combined with a Vikings penalty to give the Lions good starting field position at their own 38.

They weren't able to take advantage.

Matt Stafford hit Eric Ebron for a short pass on first down, Ameer Abdullah rushed for a 3-yard gain and Marvin Jones hauled in a quick pass just a half-yard shy of the first down marker.

With 12:28 on the clock, Minnesota will take over at its own 20.


Kickoff: 12:30, Ford Field, Detroit

TV/radio: Fox/760

Records: Lions 6-4, Vikings 8-2

Line: Vikings by 2½


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