On Sunday afternoon at Ford Field, the action got started with the Minnesota Vikings winning the coin toss and deferring to the second half, meaning that the Detroit Lions would be getting the football to start things off. Dan Bailey put his foot to the ball and it flew through the end zone for a touchback, giving Matthew Stafford and the Detroit offense the ball at their own 25 to start things off. LeGarrette Blount started things off with a four-yard run for the home team, and Zach Zenner followed it up with a nice gain to set up a 3rd-and-1. Zenner then patiently waited for a hole to open up and blew through it for a big gain of 29 yards, going all the way down to the Minnesota 37.
Matthew Stafford then fired incomplete for Kenny Golladay, and Anthony Barr dropped Blount for a loss of three to make it third-and-long. A short screen to Theo Riddick was dropped for a loss by Eric Wilson, and that brought Sam Martin in to punt it away. Martin got an excellent punt away, and outstanding coverage by the Lions’ special teams downed the ball at the Minnesota 2-yard line.
Kirk Cousins led the Vikings offense onto the field deep in their own territory, and a false start on Tom Compton got things started. (Not that they had that far to be pushed back.) Cousins started with a sneak to try to give the offense a bit more room, but only got a yard out of it. C.J. Ham then gave it a try, but only managed another yard to make it 3rd-and-9. Cousins threw short for Stefon Diggs on third down, and the Vikings wound up with a three-and-out. Matt Wile came in to punt the ball away, and the ball was nearly given away by Lions’ returner Jamal Agnew, but he recovered the ball at the Detroit 43-yard line.
Stafford and company got the drive started with a pass to Golladay for a gain of 21 yards, and the Lions were right back into Minnesota territory at the 36. Blount then carried for a gain of five, and Zenner was stopped for a short gain to bring up another third down for the home team. Danielle Hunter then took down Theo Riddick for no gain, and the Lions brought on Matt Prater to attempt a 47-yard field goal. Prater, as he does, split the uprights, and the Lions took an early 3-0 lead.
Martin’s kickoff went through the end zone for a touchback, giving the Vikings the ball at their own 25. The drive started with Dalvin Cook’s first carry of the afternoon, and he picked up four yards. Cousins then fired for Diggs again, but it went off his hands for an incompletion to bring up 3rd-and-6. The Vikings went with a draw to Cook. . .strangely enough. . .and he was stopped well short of the line to gain for another three-and-out. Wile came in to punt again, and Agnew returned the punt to his own 32-yard line.
Blount started the drive with a carry for four yards, and Stafford then completed a pass to Riddick for a first down. Stafford then threw incomplete for Blount, and Zenner was then stopped for a short gain to bring up 3rd-and-8. Stafford then found Golladay for a first down, and then completed a pass to Levine Toilolo to move the sticks again to the Minnesota 30.
Harrison Smith dropped Blount for a loss on the ensuing first down, and Stafford threw incomplete for Blount on a screen. On 3rd-and-13, Mackensie Alexander dropped Riddick for another loss of yards, and the Lions called on Martin to punt it away again. This one took a Minnesota bounce and rolled to the Vikings’ 13-yard line.
The drive started with a short pass to Latavius Murray for two yards, and Cook was stopped for no gain to bring up another third-and-long for the Minnesota offense. Cousins was then sacked by Nevin Lawson for a loss of six and a third consecutive three-and-out. The quarter ended before the Matt Wile punt.
As we move to the second quarter, the Vikings appear to be sleepwalking, as they trail the Detroit Lions by a score of 3-0. Are they eventually going to wake up here?