Minnesota Vikings 20, Detroit Lions 13 (box score)
The Detroit Lions fixed the defensive problems that plagued them a week ago but more special teams issues were the big story in sending the Lions to their third straight defeat.
Percy Harvin took the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead before either offense had set foot on the field. The Lions followed with a decent drive but failed to reach the end zone and had to settle for a field goal – another recurring problem.
The Lions offense struggled to gain traction during the first half bu the defense played well to keep the Lions within reach. The 13-6 halftime deficit wasn’t anything new to the Lions, they’ve trailed at the half in each of the first four games, and getting the ball to start the second half gave the Lions a great opportunity to even up the scoreboard.
Things didn’t go according to that plan, however. The Lions only picked up one first down on their opening drive of the second half and that was the good news. Marcus Sherels returned the punt 77 yards for the Vikings’ second special teams touchdown of the game and a 20-6 lead.
It was the second straight week the Lions have given up a touchdown on a kick and punt return – the first time a team has done that in back to back weeks in NFL history.
The defensive battle continued throughout the second half with the Lions finally breaking through with a Matthew Stafford quarterback sneak into the end zone with just under three minutes remaining.
The Lions defense held to give the offense one last chance but Stafford couldn’t get off a last chance pass towards the end zone.
The Lions find themselves in a deep hole at 1-3 heading into their bye week while the Vikings have put themselves in position for a surprisingly good season. The NFC North race is shaping up to be interesting this season, albeit for very different reasons than many would have expected prior to the season.