To get our Thanksgiving Day festivities underway at Ford Field, the Detroit Lions won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff, meaning that the Minnesota Vikings would put their defense on the field first in this NFC North battle. The kickoff from Kai Forbath went into the arms of T.J. Jones, and he took the ball out to the Detroit 33-yard line, and an offside penalty on Minnesota gave them the ball at their own 38 to start the first drive.
Matthew Stafford led the Detroit offense onto the field for their first drive, and despite a couple of completions, the Lions couldn’t generate a first down. Sam Martin came in to punt the ball away, and Marcus Sherels called for a fair catch at the 15-yard line, and a penalty on the Lions for an ineligible man downfield put the ball at the 20.
Case Keenum led the offense out onto the field for their first possession, and the Vikings got a big third down conversion from Keenum to Adam Thielen for 14 yards to the 38-yard line. The Vikings got an added bonus, thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Akeem Spence, moving the ball into Detroit territory at the 47. Keenum then found Kyle Rudolph for a medium gain to bring up a 3rd-and-4, and Keenum took it himself on a scramble to the Detroit 35-yard line. Keenum then found Thielen again for a 13-yard gain, and the Vikings were on the edge of the red zone.
Minnesota was penalized on the ensuing first down for an illegal block in the back, putting them in a 1st-and-20 situation. Keenum then found Stefon Diggs for 14 yards down to the Detroit 19. Latavius Murray then dropped a pass to bring up another third down situation, and Keenum found Diggs again for another first down to the 12. Murray then took the ball and darted for another first down, giving the Vikings a first-and-goal at the Detroit 2. On second down, Keenum found a wide-open Kyle Rudolph for a 1-yard touchdown pass, and the Vikings took an early lead. Unfortunately, that lead was only 6-0, because Kai Forbath had his extra point blocked by A’Shawn Robinson.
Forbath’s kickoff went into the end zone for a touchback, and the Lions started their second possession from their own 25. Detroit started the drive with a quick pass from Stafford to Marvin Jones that gave them 17 yards, but the second play saw Stafford and Ameer Abdullah miscommunicate on a handoff, and the ball wound up on the turf with Danielle Hunter recovering the fumble for a Detroit turnover. Minnesota took over at the 39-yard line.
Jerick McKinnon made a huge play on the second play of the ensuing drive, as he took a screen pass and rambled for 31 yards to quickly move the Vikings down to the Detroit 9-yard line to give the Vikings another first-and-goal situation. Keenum handled the rest from there, as he kept the ball on the read option and sprinted into the end zone for a 9-yard score. Forbath’s extra point split the uprights this time, and the Vikings quickly staked themselves to a 13-0 lead.
Forbath’s kickoff resulted in another touchback, giving the Lions the ball at the 25 once again. A run by Theo Riddick got the drive started for the home team, but that gain was negated by an illegal formation penalty on second down. Stafford then misfired on a pass to Golden Tate to bring up third down, and the Vikings shut the Lions down on third and long to force another punt. Sam Martin booted it away, and Marcus Sherels called for a fair catch at the Minnesota 28.
The ensuing drive saw Keenum completed a pass to Thielen on third down that was just short of the sticks, and Mike Zimmer kept his offense on the field. Joe Berger was called for a false start on the play, and the Vikings brought Ryan Quigley on to punt for the first time today. Quigley got away a nice punt, and T.J. Jones called for a fair catch at the Detroit 17.
As we move to the second quarter of play, the Lions are looking at first-and-10 from their own 40-yard line after a pass from Stafford to Abdullah.
Things are off to a roaring start for the Minnesota Vikings in Motown, as they have a 13-0 lead over the Detroit Lions after one quarter of play at Ford Field. Come join us for the second quarter of play!