Bradford's short passes not enough for Vikings against Lions
DETROIT (AP) Sam Bradford had spent much of the game throwing short, crisp passes.
It didn't necessarily make for exciting football, but that low-risk approach enabled the Minnesota quarterback to avoid sacks and turnovers.
Then his final throw was intercepted, setting up Detroit's winning field goal.
''I think their corner just made a really good play. I'd like to have it back,'' Bradford said.
Bradford went 31 of 37 on Thursday, and that late interception was his only turnover, but the Vikings lost 16-13 .
Their attempts to move the ball with quick, short passes didn't lead to many points, and Bradford threw for only 224 yards on all those completions.
Minnesota receiver Stefon Diggs (knee) was out, and nobody else emerged as much of a big-play threat.
''We've probably got to try to find a way to create some explosive plays,'' Bradford said.
''It's hard when you are only picking up five, six, seven at a time. There's things that we can do to try to figure out how we can create some more explosive plays.''
The interception in the final minute by Darius Slay was only the third of the season thrown by Bradford, who has completed 71 percent of his passes. But he's averaging only 6.9 yards per attempt.
With the game tied at 13, the Vikings (6-5) took over at their 25 with 1:45 remaining. As he had all game, Bradford threw short, finding Kyle Rudolph for 5 yards and Cordarrelle Patterson for 3.
After letting the clock run for a while, Minnesota appeared to have picked up a first down on another short throw, but an illegal formation penalty left the Vikings facing third-and-7. That was when Slay stepped up in coverage and intercepted Bradford, giving the Lions (7-4) the ball with 30 seconds left.
On what looked like a safe pass for Bradford, Slay created a turnover with an aggressive move.
''He's kind of got a knack for it,'' Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. ''He's one of those guys too that's a bit of a riverboat gambler. He'll take a chance when he sees it's there. He'll go after it.''
Minnesota's inability to throw deep cost the Vikings earlier in the fourth quarter as well. They had the ball deep in Detroit territory, but a penalty pushed the ball back to the 25 on first down. Bradford completed three straight passes – for 4, 5 and 6 yards – and Minnesota settled for a field goal.
On his team's next drive, Bradford completed a 2-yard pass on third-and-3, and the Vikings punted. The Lions drove for the tying field goal.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL.
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister