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Detroit Lions overcome miscues to defeat Minnesota Vikings, 34-24

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford took advantage of good protection to pick apart the Minnesota Vikings defense in Week 1.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford took advantage of good protection to pick apart the Minnesota Vikings defense in Week 1.

The Detroit Lions (1-0) got the monkey off their back after a 2012 season that ended with 8 losses in a row, prevailing 34-24 at home over division rival Minnesota Viking (0-1). It was by no means an easy victory for the Lions, but securing a divisional victory in the friendly confines of Ford Field was a positive start to the season.

The Good

Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!

Running back Reggie Bush had a tremendous Detroit debut, finishing with 91 yards rushing on 21 carries (4.3 YPC) and 101 yards through the air, including a spectacular 77-yard touchdown reception. The missing piece to the Lions offense has been retrieved with the addition of Bush.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson broke free for his own a 78-yard touchdown run after rookie cornerback Darius Slay over pursued and missed a tackle. Although Peterson amassed three touchdowns, the defense did a tremendous job of containing him, only allowing him 15 yards on 17 carries the rest of the way. This hamstrung Minnesota’s offense despite wide receiver Jerome Simpson’s huge day running the deep routes.

Clearly, Detroit’s beefed up defensive line is equipped to handle the run. Maybe their woes in previous years werent a problem with the wide-nine scheme after all. Perhaps the defensive end combination of Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril was simply too small, and the problem was aggravated by injuries to defensive tackles Nick Fairley and Corey Williams.

Quarterback Matt Stafford quietly had a very good game, completing 28 of 43 passes for 357 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception (on a tipped ball). Wide receiver Calvin Johnson was the focus of the Vikings defense, but Stafford picked them apart on several long drives and one short field. Nate Burleson did his part as the complement with 6 catches for 78 yards, including several clutch first-down catches.

The new-look offensive line held up against a strong Minnesota defensive line, allowing only 2 hits and 8 hurries per ProFootballFocus. The lone sack by defensive Jared Allen was not charged to the offensive line as it came on a botched play. Rookie guard Larry Warford lead the unit with a +2.2 grade in run blocking.

The defense forced four turnovers, including a big second-quarter interception and a lucky fourth-quarter fumble recovery that came on a play in which quarterback Christian Ponder tripped on his own linemen. Meanwhile, the offense only committed two turnovers (three if we count the botched field goal). The +2 turnover margin was a major reason Detroit won this game.

A fumble by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was just one of the many miscues that marked the Detroit Lions' season opener.

A fumble by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was just one of the many miscues that marked the Detroit Lions’ season opener.

The Bad

Wide receiver Jerome Simpson had 7 catches for 140 yards, including two plays of over 40 yards in which he beat cornerbacks Chris Houston and Darius Slay. Both plays set up Minnesota touchdowns. Including Peterson’s touchdown run on the first play of the game, Minnesota scored 21 points off explosive plays. Detroit needs to tighten up against the big play.

The Ugly

Missed opportunities continue to haunt the Lions.

Three points were lost on a botched fumble that came on a field goal attempt (first fluke of the year).

A process-of-the-catch ruling denied Calvin Johnson yet another touchdown reception, forcing Detroit to settle for a field goal.

Tight end Brandon Pettigrew was flagged for holding, which negated a third-down conversion and forced the Lions to kick a field goal.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh threw a stupid and unnecessary block on the interception return by linebacker DeAndre Levy, which cost Detroit seven points. On the ensuing drive, the offense failed to capitalize on the short field, as a tipped pass lead to an interception.

In the second quarter, the offense started with great field position on the Vikings 45-yard line, but Pettigrew fumbled at the 30-yard line, costing at least another three points.

A foolish infraction by safety Louis Delmas tacked on 15 yards with the Vikings up 14-6 in Detroit territory. Good pressure by Suh leading to a Stephen Tulloch interception saved the Lions from a double-digit deficit.

All told, the Lions left at least 17 points on the field. They need to shore up and prevent the miscues.

The Hilarious

Minnesota experienced a fourth-quarter meltdown to rival that of the 2012 Detroit Lions.

With the Lions up only 27-24, the Minnesota right guard went to pull. Ponder tripped on him, leading to a fumble. The Lions recovered and converted the short field into a touchdown on a quick drive aided by two costly penalties.  After a terrible holding penalty was assessed against Nate Burleson to set the Lions up with third and 19, defensive tackle Letroy Guion unluckily hit Stafford in the head while rushing the passer, giving the Lions a first down. On third and five at the Minnesota 27-yard line, rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes was charged with holding on to Calvin Johnson beyond the five yards allowed, giving Detroit still another first down.

It felt good to be on the right side of a meltdown for once.

Up next

After surviving a sloppy, tightly contested divisional game, the Detroit Lions now travel to University of Phoenix Stadium, where they will try to get their first road win of the year against the Arizona Cardinals (0-1) and start off their season right at 2-0.


Fantasy Football questions anyone? please shout them out so Chris and I can address them tomorrow.


Shouldn't this title be "Detroit overcomes miscues by virtue of Minnesota having even more"?

Building With the Alabama Hammer
Building With the Alabama Hammer

Jordy really looked like Jordy.

He isn't the most athletic WR in the league by a long shot, but he may have the best body control in the league giving him the ability to make sideline catches that he really shouldn't be able to.

Rarely Evenn
Rarely Evenn

Tthe City of Treasure Island, Florida will change its name to “Revis Island, Florida” Thursday, September 12th.


Now that the Lions beat the Vikings, the vikings destined to not go over .500

Building With the Alabama Hammer
Building With the Alabama Hammer

I listened to the first half on the radio on sunday and I was listening to the 9ers homer announcers.

They really didn't give the Packers D line enough credit, especially the interior.

They consistently push 2 yards into the backfield and anchor themselves to hold their lane whether it's a run play or pass.

For how good SFs O-line is supposed to be, they don't look anything beyond avg on film.

bp. moderator

Things sadder than the Detroit Lions:

1. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


It is 4.  I have to leave....sadly before I get to gloat on EvilDonkey.  So, if one of you sees him, be as respectful as you all know I can be....which is NONE! 

Have a nice evening all.  Time to end the day before I hear Clay got fined too.


@Buhlitz PFF gave Reiff a shitty grade also.  -2.1 with two hurries and 2 QB hits surrendered.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

Wait wait wait.

There's actually a city called Treasure Island?

And they didn't think that was stupid enough already?!!!!


Other than actually being a Lions fan I can't think of anything more embarrassing than losing to the Lions

tmonson78 moderator

@SDL @Maized and Confused He's comparing Rorick to the totalitarian reign of the Empire in Star Wars by saying that an Imperial Star Destroyer is Rorick's preferred method of transportation.