To get things started on Thanksgiving at Ford Field, the Minnesota Vikings lost the coin toss to the Detroit Lions. Detroit elected to receive the opening kickoff from Kai Forbath, putting the Minnesota defense on the field first. Forbath's kickoff went through the end zone for a touchback, giving the Lions the football at their own 25 to start things off. Minnesota forced a third down early, but the Lions converted on a throw from Matthew Stafford to Anquan Boldin to keep things moving. Theo Riddick took one up the middle for a 12-yard gain to move the Lions into Minnesota territory at the 49. Stafford then found Marvin Jones for a 20-yard hit, and the Vikings' defense was back on its heels early.
Two plays later, the Lions had another first down to the Minnesota 17, putting them into the red zone. The Vikings forced another third down, but allowed the Lions to convert again to set up a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line. To cap the drive, Stafford found Boldin one more time for a 2-yard touchdown pass to give the home team an early lead. The opening drive took up over half of the first quarter. Matt Prater's extra point was good, and the Lions found themselves ahead 7-0.
The kickoff from Sam Martin was fielded for a touchback by Cordarrelle Patterson, giving the Vikings the start at their own 25. Minnesota picked up a quick first down after a pass from Sam Bradford to Kyle Rudolph, followed by a handoff to Jerick McKinnon. A couple of passes later, the Vikings had another first down and were approaching midfield. Bradford then found Rudolph for a big 18-yard gain into Detroit territory at the 34-yard line. The Vikings got to third down, and it looked like the drive would end on an incompletion, but the Lions were called for holding to keep the drive alive.
It looked like the drive was going to come to an end after Ezekiel Ansah got around T.J. Clemmings for a strip sack of Bradford, but after review the officials ruled that it was an incomplete forward pass and not a fumble, letting the Vikings keep possession. On the next play, Sam Bradford threw what appeared to be an interception by Glover Quin, but the Lions were called for pass interference which gave the Vikings a fresh set of downs at the Detroit 15. Bradford then found Rudolph again for another first down, setting the Vikings up with first-and-goal at the 5. Matt Asiata finished things up from there, taking the handoff from Bradford and plowing through for a five-yard touchdown! That was the sort of answer the Vikings needed, even if it required a couple of breaks to get there. Forbath connected on the extra point, and the game was tied at 7-7.
Those two possessions took up all but forty seconds of the first half. Forbath's kickoff was returned by Andre Roberts out to the Detroit 20-yard line, and as we move to the second quarter of play, the Lions are looking at a 2nd-and-5 from their own 25-yard line.
First quarter of this NFC North battle for first place is in the books, with the Vikings and the Lions tied at 7-7. Can the Vikings get some stops and pull into the lead in this one? Come and join us for the second quarter of play!