Updated: Apr 29
Matthew Silka, Staff Writer
Vikings’ RB Dalvin Cook breaks free for a nice gain against the Lions. Photo//Jeffrey Becker/USA Today
Heartbreak was the name of the game on Sunday for the Detroit Lions, as they fell to division rival Minnesota after establishing a lead early on.
Coming off an impressive victory against the Washington Commanders in Week 2, the Lions had a similar start to Sunday’s game by jumping out to an early seven point lead off of a strong Jared Goff drive capped off by a Jamaal Williams score.
Detroit was able to stagnate Minnesota’s electric offense early, as they forced them to punt on two straight drives in the first quarter. Unfortunately, the Lions’ star safety Tracy Walker limped off the field with around five minutes to go in the first, and he would later be ruled out for the game with an Achilles injury.
Despite this, Detroit was able to get the ball back into Minnesota territory. Dan Campbell elected to go for a fourth-and-one for the third time already and succeeded. Goff would eventually find tight end T.J. Hockenson for a short touchdown to make it 14-0 in favor of Detroit.
On the next drive, Minnesota began to get the offense firing on all cylinders. Dalvin Cook caught fire and ran all over the Lions, setting up a red zone opportunity. Quarterback Kirk Cousins found longtime Vikings receiver Adam Thielen in the back of the end zone for Minnesota’s first points of the day; 14-7 Lions.
Faced with another fourth-and-short decision on the next drive, the aggressive Dan Campbell went for it again around midfield. The Vikings were able to get a stop, however, and marched down the field leading to a Dalvin Cook touchdown to tie things up 14-14 leading into halftime.
The Lions kicked the ball away to start the second half but would soon get it back after a quick three-and-out. On the ensuing drive, Goff led the Lions down the field to set up an Austin Seibert field goal, making things 17-14.
Minnesota would make a great effort to get into the red zone, but a late third down sack forced kicker Greg Joseph to attempt a 56-yard field goal, which he missed wide right. With Detroit getting great field position, they were able to get deep into Vikings territory, allowing Williams to notch his second touchdown of the day to make it 24-14 Lions.
Minnesota was marching down the field yet again when Dalvin Cook fumbled the football, allowing Detroit to scoop it up. Cook was injured on the play and did not return.
This allowed backup running back Alexander Mattison to step up, as he was able to find paydirt on the next Minnesota drive, cutting the lead to three.
Both offenses started to cool off as the fourth quarter approached its end, but Campbell made perhaps his most controversial decision yet with a little over two minutes to go. He elected to try a 51-yard field goal to increase the lead to six, which would have been close to Seibert’s career long.
He evidently missed, which gave the Vikings great field position. As you may have guessed, Kirk Cousins was able to find his receiver K.J. Osborn on a deep pass which was run in for a Minnesota touchdown. The Lions were unable to respond with a score of their own as time expired.
Final Score: 28-24 Minnesota
Detroit HC Dan Campbell looks on as he watches his team. Photo//Jeffrey Becker/USA Today
Although the loss was extremely disappointing, there were a few bright spots. Cornerback Jeff Okudah was tasked with guarding Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson and held him to only three catches for 14 yards. Okudah was largely considered a bust after having a lackluster rookie year, but he has bounced back from injury in a big way.
Jamaal Williams shined in a game where D’Andre Swift was limited due to his ankle injury, scoring two touchdowns in a game for the second time this year. He will have to play an even bigger role as it seems Swift will miss more time with a shoulder sprain.
Finally, Jared Goff looked pretty good once again against a slightly better defense. He has started the season off strong, as he has passed for over 700 yards with seven touchdowns and only two interceptions.
The Detroit Lions (1-2) will look to right the ship and get back to winning ways next week as they take on the Seattle Seahawks (1-2) back at home.