Success for the Detroit Lions on the defensive side of the ball is predicated on the defensive line playing well. That is where they have invested most of their resources in building their defensive roster so it is the group that needs to lead the way.
Outside of the 78-yard touchdown run on Adrian Peterson’s first carry of the game, the Lions defensive front controlled the line of scrimmage and made running room hard to come by – even for the NFL’s best running back.
Peterson managed just 15 yards on his other 17 carries and wasn’t left with a lot of answers:
“I don’t know (where the holes went after that),” Peterson said, visibly frustrated. “When you’re playing a good defensive front like Detroit’s, you got to be technique-sound. And offensively, we really weren’t sound, pretty much the entire game.”
But controlling Peterson was only half the battle. The Lions also kept Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder from getting comfortable. Ponder was sacked three times and threw three interceptions, largely because of the pressure he faced.
With the Vikings in Lions territory and looking to extend their lead before the half, Christian Ponder was flushed out of the pocket to his left and eventually tried to throw the ball away. But Ponder’s motion was interrupted by Ndamukong Suh, resulting in a pass that weakly fluttered towards the sideline. Stephen Tulloch was there for the interception to give the Lions the ball back at their own 30. It was an important turningpoint as the offense would take the ball in for a touchdown to bring them within 14-13 at the close of the first half.
Nick Fairley showed up in a big way as well, credited with 1.5 sacks, five tackles and two quarterback hits.
Now it is up for the defensive line to take the same show on the road next week when the Lions face the Arizona Cardinals.