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Detroit Lions 34, Minnesota Vikings 23: Vikings fail to wrap up NFC North

Just an embarrassing defensive performance

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

On Sunday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings walked into Ford Field with an opportunity to wrap up the NFC North division with a victory over the Detroit Lions.

Somebody forgot to tell the defense.

Jared Goff and company marched up and down the field on the Vikings’ defense for most of the afternoon, and the result was a 34-23 loss for the purple at Ford Field.

Detroit drew first blood early in the first quarter. After stopping the Vikings on a 4th-and-1 in Minnesota territory, the Lions cashed in with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Jared Goff to rookie Jameson Williams, who the Lions drafted following a draft-night trade with the Vikings. That made it 7-0 in favor of the home team less than five minutes into the contest.

Minnesota answered on the next drive with the help of several Lions penalties, including a pass interference in the end zone to make it first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Dalvin Cook handled things from there, going in from one yard out to tie things at 7-7 with four minutes left in the quarter.

On the next drive, the Lions faced a 4th-and-4 from the Minnesota 39, and Dan Campbell rolled the dice and went for it. The Vikings’ defense was up to the task, as Goff’s pass fell incomplete and the Vikings took over on downs.

After the teams exchanged punts again, the Lions burned the Minnesota secondary deep again, as Goff found D.J. Chark for a 48-yard touchdown on a 1-play scoring drive. That put the home team back up 14-7 with just over six and a half minutes left in the first half.

The Vikings looked like they were going to cut into the lead, but on a first-and-goal from the Detroit 3-yard line, Dalvin Cook fumbled the ball away with the Lions recovering. Fortunately for the Vikings, the Lions could not take advantage as Michael Badgely missed a 47-yard field goal to send things into the locker room at halftime with the Lions up by a touchdown.

The Lions added to their lead in the third quarter after pulling off a huge fake punt when it appeared the Vikings had forced a three-and-out. The 42-yard run by C.J. Moore put the ball into Minnesota territory, and Goff finished things with his third touchdown pass of the day, a 5-yarder to Josh Reynolds to make it 21-7 with just under six minutes left in the third quarter.

Minnesota answered on the next drive, as the Vikings elected to roll the dice on a 4th-and-4 from the Detroit 23-yard line, and Cousins found Adam Thielen for a 23-yard touchdown. The Vikings’ attempt at a two-point conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the score at 21-13 with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter.

However, as was the case for most of the afternoon, the Detroit offense simply went out and did what they wanted to do, as they added another touchdown on a 15-yard touchdown run by Justin Jackson to make it 28-13 with just over thirteen minutes remaining in the contest.

Minnesota cut into the lead a bit on a 41-yard field goal from Greg Joseph to make it 28-16 with just under eleven minutes left. The Lions then answered with a field goal of their own, a 41-yarder from Badgely to make it 31-16 with four minutes left.

The Vikings cut back into the lead again on the next possession, with Cousins finding K.J. Osborn for a 15-yard touchdown to make it 31-23 with just under three minutes remaining on a very impressive drive. The Vikings attempted an onside kick and didn’t recover but still had an opportunity to get a stop to get the ball back. . .and couldn’t do it, as the Lions threw a pass to offensive tackle Penei Sewell to convert a 3rd-and-7 to ice the game. The Lions got an addition field goal from Badgely to make it 34-23 and provide the final margin.

The Vikings set the kind of franchise record that you don’t want to set in this one, as it was the fifth consecutive game that saw them allow more than 400 yards on defense. Ed Donatell needs to fix things and fix them in a hurry.

The Vikings fall to 10-3 and fail to clinch the NFC North on their division rival’s home field. They’ll get another chance to wrap up the division when they host the Indianapolis Colts next Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Lions move to 6-7 and keep themselves alive in the playoff chase, as they’ll travel to face the New York Jets next Sunday.

The Vikings fall to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field by a final score of 34-23. Thanks to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!