Lions edged by Vikings in 2020 finale, busy offseason awaits
The season is over. And now, the Detroit Lions have a lot of work to do
The 2020 NFL season presented challenges unseen in previous years. After another loss, this time at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, the Detroit Lions will be glad to put this campaign behind them as they embark on a loaded offseason.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns as the Vikings beat the Lions, 37-35, in both teams’ last game of 2020. The Lions have lost seven straight games to the Vikings and have just three divisional wins over the last three seasons. With a record of 5-11, Detroit finishes in last place in the NFC North for the third-straight year.
In the loss, the Lions set a pair of dubious franchise records. They finish 2020 with 519 points surrendered, and 6,716 yards allowed on defense. Both figures surpassed the single-season marks set by the 2008 squad, which went 0-16.
The teams combined for four punts on the game’s first four possessions before Stafford found receiver Marvin Jones for a 43-yard touchdown grab. The Lions had to settle for a 6-0 advantage after kicker Matt Prater missed his third extra point of the season.
The squads amassed 24 total points in the second quarter, with the Lions’ defense unable to slow down the Vikings’ offense. Receiver Chad Beebe’s last-second 40-yard catch-and-run touchdown gave the Vikings a 21-16 lead at halftime.
Minnesota continued to move the ball with ease in the second half, but the Lions were able to keep the game close with three touchdown drives. However, they were twice unable to tie the game with a two-point conversion, and Minnesota was able to run the clock out on their final series.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford made the start for the Lions despite dealing with thumb, rib, and ankle injuries. He went 20/31 passing for 293 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. The franchise leader in most significant passing metrics, his future will be a pivotal topic as the Lions look towards 2021.
Jones, an upcoming unrestricted free agent, abused the Vikings’ shorthanded secondary, catching eight balls for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Prater’s 54-yard field goal was his 59th career make from 50-plus yards, giving him sole possession of most all-time from that distance.
The Detroit Lions will now shift their focus to a busy offseason, highlighted by their ongoing searches for a new head coach and general manager. Depending on the results of several other games on Sunday, the Lions can finish anywhere from fifth to seventh in the 2021 draft order.