Lions Win 16-13 Over Vikings After Slay Intercepts Bradford Late

Lions move to 7-4 after yet another 4th quarter comeback.

Lions

Nov 24, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick (25) runs the ball during the first quarter of a NFL game on Thanksgiving against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Darius Slay picked off Sam Bradford in the final minutes to give Detroit a chance to win the game in regulation. Matt Prater drilled the game-winning field goal and the Lions moved to 7-4, alone atop the NFC North. Detroit trailed in the fourth quarter as they have in every game this season, but found a way to scratch out a tough battle against division-rival Minnesota. Stafford was clutch, the defense made plays and great special teams play was the difference. Check out my quarterly notes from the game below and my three stars of the game.

1ST QUARTER

Detroit received the opening kickoff and came out throwing. A draw to Theo Riddick kept the drive going, moving the Lions past midfield. A nice play-action pass to Marvin Jones got the Lions into field goal range. Stafford found Jones again for a first down and then scrambled to get inside the ten yard line. After avoiding the rush, he rolled out to his right and found Anquan Boldin for the touchdown. Lions go up 7-0, after their first drive.

Minnesota came out with a more balanced attack. Sam Bradford threw an 18-yard strike to Kyle Rudolph to get into Detroit territory. A defensive holding call on Lions DB Nevin Lawson extended the drive on 3rd down. Stafford and Bradford were a combined 11-for-11 to start the game. Ziggy Ansah came around to force the fumble, but the ruling was overturned and the Vikings kept possession. An interception by Glover Quin was overturned after a Darius Slay penalty. The Vikings scored on a Matt Asiata TD to tie it at 7-7. The Lions took over towards the end near the end of the first quarter.

End of First: Detroit-7, Minnesota-7.

2ND QUARTER

On 3rd & 3, Stafford hit Golden Tate for a first down. After two incompletions, Stafford scrambled for a first down on 3rd & 10. The Lions punted after a three straight incompletions. Tahir Whitehead caught Asiata from behind just shy of the first and the Vikings punted. Golden Tate hauled in a 60-yard bomb, and then Riddick popped a nice run for a first down. On third down, Stafford just missed Jones for his second TD and the Lions kicked a field goal. Lions led 10-7. The Vikings took over after the Lions’ 30th straight red zone score.

Bradford connected with Ellison for a 20-yard connection. A pass interference penalty on Tahir Whitehead was overturned because of an uncatchable ball. After coming up short on third down, the Vikings went for it on fourth and Haloti Ngata tipped Bradford’s pass. Lions took over at their own 40, with about three minutes left in the half. The Lions got past midfield but failed to get it on 4th & short. Minnesota took over with two minutes left. A tackle for a loss killed the drive and they ended up giving it back to Detroit with 1:10 left. Stafford hit Riddick, Jones and Andre Roberts to get near field goal range. Without any timeouts, the Lions weren’t able to get any points.

Halftime: Detroit-10, Minnesota-7.

3RD QUARTER

Minnesota received to start the second half but a quick three-and-out gave Detroit the ball. Stafford took a vicious sack from Anthony Barr after a Dwayne Washington run, which killed Detroit’s drive. Martin punted it to the Vikings 38. Minnesota took over. A blown coverage gave Vikings RB McKinnon a huge gain to the Detroit 30. Miles Killebrew made another tackle just shy of the first on 3rd to make the Vikings settle for a field goal. The game was tied at 10 with seven minutes left in the third.

Stafford found Anquan Boldin for a first down, that would be all Detroit would get though. They punted for the second time in the half. The Vikings ran for 63 yards in the quarter. They drove down into field goal range as the third quarter was ending.

End of Third: Detroit-10, Minnesota-10.

4TH QUARTER

A penalty backed up the Vikings and they settled for a field goal. Vikings went up 13-10 with 13:00 left in the game. A sack got the Lions drive off on the wrong foot. A penalty gave some of the yards back and Stafford scrambled for a 1st on 3rd & 15. The Lions were forced to punt, however, after a draw run came up short of the 1st down. The Vikings converted on 3rd & 1, and they kept the ball with the clock under seven minutes left in the game.

Josh Bynes came up to make an outstanding open-field tackle on third and short. They punted to Detroit, pinning them deep in their own territory. Stafford hit Tate to give the Lions some breathing room. He made maybe the play of the game, finding Boldin when the pocket collapsed on third. Mavin Jones caught a laser over the middle for another first down. Anquan Boldin carried several Vikings for a near first after Stafford found him on a rollout to his right. The Lions wouldn’t get any farther settling for a Prater field goal with under two minutes left. The game was tied at 13-13 when the Vikings took over.

After a few short passes, Darius Slay picked off Sam Bradford and in Vikings territory with thirty seconds left. The Lions downed it and brought out Prater, who drilled the game-winning kick. The Lions stay atop the NFC North at 7-4.

End of Game: Detroit-16, Minnesota-13.

3 STARS OF GAME

Lions

Nov 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) and cornerback Darius Slay (23) celebrate after a play during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field. Lions won 26-19. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

1. Darius Slay

Big Play Slay made the play of the day. He intercepted Sam Bradford with thirty seconds left which sealed the game. It’s the second game this year that he essentially won on a late interception. Slay has become one of the best DBs in the league.

2. Matt Prater

This game came down to field goals and Prater was perfect on the day. He hit a field goal with  two minutes left to tie and then the game-winner as time expired. In a season where kickers have been atrocious, Prater proved to be one of, if not the best kicker in the league.

3. Matthew Stafford

Stafford, as he has all season, did whatever was needed down the stretch. Down in the fourth, he drove the Lions from inside their own ten for a game-tying field goal. It wasn’t the best game of his career, but he was clutch and led the Lions to this 7-4 record. Stafford was 23-for-40, for 232 yards, and a touchdown.

Happy Thanksgiving from SideLion Report!

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattUrben88

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