The Detroit Lions defeated the Minnesota Vikings in a close one Sunday evening by a score of 16-14. The Vikings were determined to change their fortunes from last time these teams met, and they showed it on the first three drives of the game. They held the Detroit Lions offense to 3 and outs on each drive, and with the exception of the first drive, they drove down for touchdowns on 2 of their three drives to jump out to an early 14-0 lead. Teddy Bridgewater looked sharp to start the game and Matthew Stafford could not find his top two receivers.
The tide began to turn though when Bridgewater overthrew his receiver and Detroit safety Glover Quin picked it off. Detroit promptly drove down and scored on a short pass to Golden Tate. The next drive had similar results. Bridgewater tried to force a pass that was picked off by Darius Slay. The drive did not produce a touchdown, but it did net Detroit a critical field goal to cut the lead down to 14-10.
In the third quarter, Detroit finally got a quality drive going to get them deep into Minnesota territory, but as was their tendency, Detroit stalled out and settled for a field goal. The field goal cut the lead to 14-13 Minnesota. The Vikings then took the ball and drove deep into Detroit territory on their best drive of the game. When the drive ultimately stalled out, Blair Walsh attempted a 26 yard field goal that was ultimately blocked by Detroit’s Jason Jones. The blocked kick proved crucial to Detroit’s comeback as they marched the ball all the way back to Minnesota territory and kicked the field goal to take the lead 16-14.
After a monster kick return by Cordarrelle Patterson, the Vikings looked like they would kick the game winner against Detroit. Fortunately for the Lions, the drive stalled and Detroit took over on downs. Detroit did not do much better, trying to drain as much clock as possible and ultimately punting back to the Vikings. The Vikings did their best to manage the clock getting to the 50 yard line before realizing they had one play left, either a hail mary or a field goal. They lined up Walsh for a 68 yard attempt but he missed it and Detroit held on for the win.
With the Packers losing to the Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles losing to the Dallas Cowboys, the Detroit Lions are a win or a Philadelphia loss away from a playoff berth for the first time since 2011. A win against the Bears on Sunday will seal up the playoff spot for the Lions, and leave them in a battle for the division title against Green Bay during their week 17 showdown.