The Detroit Lions have looked very good in their first two games of the season and are tied with the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North lead at 2 – 0. This week however the Lions played the Vikings in Minneapolis, where they have not won a game since 1997. But with the best team Detroit has fielded in years, the Lions hoped to end their drought this week.
Minnesota started quickly rushing out to a 20 – 0 lead at halftime, while the Lions offense struggled to get out of the blocks. The Vikings shut down the Lions run game while putting constant pressure on QB Matthew Stafford. But were the Lions having trouble with the Vikings or just giving them a 20-point handicap? The Lions effectively used TE Brandon Pettigrew as a substitute for the run game to offset the Vikings’ aggressive linebackers. Stafford found WR Calvin Johnson for a pair of touchdowns (a 32-yard pass and a 5-yard pass) while K Jason Hanson added three field goals to give Detroit their first lead of the game- 23 – 20. With 1:11 left in the game, K Ryan Longwell kicked a game-tying field goal for the Vikings. After winning the coin toss in overtime, the Lions marched down the field, and Hanson kicked a 32-yard field goal to give the Lions a 26 – 23 victory and to improve their record to 3 – 0.
The loss had to be rough on the Vikings…it was the third time in as many weeks that they lost a game after having a double-digit lead at halftime. The Lions held the Vikings’ top weapon, RB Adrian Peterson, to 78 yards rushing (only 5 yards in the 2nd half) and one touchdown. The Vikings countered by limiting RB Jahvid Best (12 carries for 14 yards) and the Lions run game to only 20 yards on 19 carries. Stafford took the game over through the air finding eight different teammates and finishing the game 32-for-46 for 378 yards and two touchdowns. The main two targets were Pettigrew (11 catches for 112 yards) and Johnson (7 catches for 108 yards and 2 TDs). Rookie WR Titus Young made a big impact by making some critical catches in the victory and finishing with 4 catches for 51 yards.
The Lions take their 3 – 0 record and 7-game winning streak (the Lions finished last season with four straight victories) and head to Dallas to face the wounded Cowboys. The Cowboys (1 – 1) head into the Monday night game against the Washington Redskins with some injury concerns- QB Tony Romo has fractured ribs, RB Felix Jones had a separated shoulder, WR Miles Austin has a hamstring injury, and WR Dez Bryant has bruised thigh.