Another week. Another collapse on special teams for the Detroit Lions, who fell 20-13 to the Minnesota Vikings to lose their third consecutive contest and fall to 1-3.
Like the Tennessee Titans a week ago, the Vikings took advantage of poor cover kick coverage from the Lions, scoring on the opening kickoff and a punt to move to 3-1 in the competitive NFC North.
Percy Harvin ran the first kickoff back 105 for the opening touchdown to give the Vikings the early 7-0 lead. With 13:09 in the remaining in the third quarter, Marcus Sherels returned the first punt of the second half 77 yards to put the Vikings ahead 20-6. Those two touchdowns were the only two the Lions allowed.
Detroit now has the dubious honor of allowing both a kickoff and punt return for touchdowns in consecutive games since 1940, according to STATS LLC.
Matthew Stafford completed 30 of 51 pass attempts, albeit for just 319 yards. He also added a rushing touchdown, scoring on a quarterback sneak for the Lion’s lone touchdown of the contest with 2:56 in the final period.
With the loss, the Lions fall to 1-3 and with the Green Bay Packers taking down the New Orleans Saints, will fall to last place in the NFC North by themselves. This, of course, is a far cry from the 2011 version that did not see its third loss until week 10.
The Lions were unable to establish the running game whatsoever in the contest. Mikel LeShoure, who ran for 100 yards on 26 carries in his debut against the Titans, tallied just 26 yards on 13 carries including a lost fumble. The Vikings, on the other hand, were able to use Adrian Peterson comfortably as he netted 102 yards on 21 carries. Clearly, the Lions were simply taking advantage of a poor Titans’ defense a week ago in LeShoure’s debut. Entering the week, Minnesota was allowing just 3.8 yards per carry for the season on the ground.
The lack of a running game forced Matthew Stafford to throw 51 times. However, he was only able to complete 30 of those passes for just 6.3 yards an attempt. The Lions’ down the field passing game has not been what it was in 2011. Detroit’s leading receiver was actually back-up running back Joique Bell, who caught six balls for 72 yards. Star wide receiver Calvin Johnson was limited to just five receptions for 54 yards, as he faced constant double teams throughout the game.
Entering their bye week, the Detroit Lions have a lot to figure out before traveling to face the Philadelphia Eagles in week 6 if they have any real hopes of coming back and making the playoffs this season.
Prediction Review: Well, my hopes of the Lions getting back in the winner’s circle proved to just be false. I had the Vikings point total on point with 20. Unfortunately, the Lions fell 10 shy of my number in the loss.
NFC North Standings:
Minnesota Vikings (3-1)
Chicago Bears (3-1)
Green Bay Packers (2-2)
Detroit Lions (1-3)
Bye Week Update: I will be posting a more in-depth blog on the Lions’ season so far later on this week.
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Written by Matt Austin