At 0-4 against their NFC North division rivals to this point in the 2014 NFL season, the Minnesota Vikings had a chance to make a statement against the Detroit Lions. But, after a strong start, the Vikings slowly allowed things to slip away, with failures coming from some pretty unexpected places in a 16-14 loss at Ford Field.
The game got off to a great start for the Minnesota defense, as they did not allow the Lions to even pick up a first down until midway through the second quarter. With time winding down in the first quarter, the Vikings took a lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Matt Asiata, putting them ahead 7-0.
The Vikings extended their lead in the second quarter, as Teddy Bridgewater found Michigan native Greg Jennings for a 7-yard touchdown pass to give the Vikings a 14-0 lead with 10:05 left in the first half. At that point, Bridgewater was 13-of-16 passing.
That was the last time the Vikings would score on the afternoon.
On the next drive, Bridgewater was going for Charles Johnson, but instead found Detroit safety Glover Quin for an interception, a pick that Quin took all the way down to the Minnesota 11-yard line. Two plays later, Matthew Stafford found Golden Tate for a 7-yard score, and the lead was cut to 14-7.
Bridgewater led the team back out onto the field again, and was intercepted on his very next pass attempt, this one by Lions' cornerback Darius Slay. The Vikings defense held the Lions to a Matt Prater field goal, however, and the Vikings' lead was cut to 4 and 14-10.
That's where the score stayed until late in the third quarter, when Prater connected on a 30-yard field goal to make the score 14-13. The Vikings had an opportunity to answer as they drove deep into Detroit territory, including converting from a 2nd-and-28 situation, but Blair Walsh came on for what should have been a very makeable field goal from 26 yards out. However, Detroit's Jason Jones got his hand on a very low kick, and the score remained 14-13.
Detroit eventually pushed down the field again, and got close enough for Prater to connect on a third field goal, a 33-yarder to give Detroit their first lead of the day at 16-14. Cordarrelle Patterson returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield, but the Vikings' offense couldn't do anything with it, and the Vikings failed to convert on a 4th-and-4 attempt.
The Lions could not run out the clock with a first down, and Minnesota got the ball back at their own 30 with less than a minute to play. Exercising atrocious clock management, including Matt Asiata not getting out of bounds after catching a pass, the Vikings managed to get the ball to midfield and called on Walsh to kick what would have been an NFL record 68-yard field goal, but the ball came up several yards short of the mark and the Lions held on to win.
Bridgewater didn't have his worst performance of the season. . .that happened the last time they played Detroit. . .but his two interceptions ended up being killers. He wound up going 31-for-41 on the afternoon for 315 yards, a touchdown and the two picks. Matt Asiata "led" the Vikings in rushing with 36 yards on 13 carries, with Bridgewater picking up 30 yards on scrambles himself. Kyle Rudolph and Matt Asiata each had seven receptions for the Vikings, with Charles Johnson leading the team in receiving yardage with 72 yards on five grabs.
For Detroit, the offensive numbers weren't exactly pretty, but they didn't have to be. Matthew Stafford completed 17-of-28 attempts for just 153 yards and a touchdown. Joique Bell led the Lions in rushing with 62 yards on 15 carries. Golden Tate caught seven passes for the Lions, but managed only 38 yards and a touchdown on those catches. The Vikings also did a pretty good job on Calvin Johnson, limiting Megatron to 53 yards on four catches.
The loss drops the Vikings to 6-8 on the year, and they will take their talents to South Beach next weekend to take on the Miami Dolphins. The Lions move to 10-4, currently lead the NFC North, and would have a first-round bye if the season ended today. They finish up with road trips to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers and to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers in a game that could be for the NFC North, a first-round bye, and possibly home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
The Minnesota Vikings lose a tough one to the Detroit Lions in Week 15, falling by a final score of 16-14. Thanks to everyone that got their coverage of this week's game right here at The Daily Norseman.
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