The Detroit Lions are now 3-0 with their unbelievable, come from behind win against the hapless Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings dominated all three phases of the game in the first half and built a 20-0 lead by the time the half ended. But the Vikings and the noisy crowd at the Mall of America field (also known as the Metrodome) could not stop the tandem of QB Matthew Stafford to WR Calvin Johnson in the second half and overtime as the Leos won 26-23. Johnson already has 6 TDs this season becoming the first NFL player in history to have 6 TDs in the first 3 games of the season.
Just last year, the Lions had their 26 straight road game losing streak snapped last season against Tampa Bay – now the Lions have won 4 straight road games. Another streak – they have won 7 straight games dating back to last season when they won their last four (they also won all four of their preseason games). Yesterday’s game was the largest comeback on the road in franchise history after being down by 20 – third largest comeback all-time. Let’s see – anymore positive streaks – oh yeah – they finally beat the Vikings at the Metrodome something they have not done since 1997. That’s 13 straight losses to the Vikings on their home turf. And finally, the Lions are 3-0 for the first time since 1980. How long ago was that? Stafford and most of the Lions weren’t even born yet. Jimmy Carter was still the President of the United States.
The more important thing now is the Lions have confidence with each other. Case in point, the game was tied at 23 late in the fourth quarter, the offensive line nearly cost the Lions the game. Starting at their own 20-yard line, OT Jeff Backus drew two consecutive false start penalties — a rarity for him. He followed that by allowing DT Jared Allen to get his third sack of the game, pushing Detroit back to their own three-yard line. Allen then almost ended the game on a safety, when Lions running back Jahvid Best was forced to bounce a run outside, but the defensive end failed to wrap him up. The Lions ended up punting and not folding under pressure as they usually would being on the road and playing in front of a hostile environment.
Give the Lions their due. Yes, the Vikings have issues at the QB position, but they were up 20-0 and arguably have the NFL’s best running back playing in their home turf. The Lions D came up big and only allowed Peterson to gain 7 yards in the 2nd half. Stafford and the offense made huge plays to rally them and to setup the winning FG in OT. The Lions never panic on Sunday before rallying in the 2nd half – something they have not done in quite some time.
The Lions hope to keep their streaks going next week when they invade Matthew Stafford’s hometown – Dallas. It will be interesting to see how Stafford and the rest of the Lions handle their success while preparing to play the Cowboys.
About the Author
Written by Bob Ballard