By Chris Morgan
During the early games, the Green Bay Packers were upset by the Buffalo Bills, meaning if the Detroit Lions could beat the Minnesota Vikings in their home finale, they would be atop the NFC North. Then, the Lions fell behind 14-0 early and it looked like the Lions would not be able to take advantage of this opportunity. However, unlike in past seasons, the Lions were able to settle things, clamp down on defense, and earn a victory by a score of 16-14. Also, they actually got some good fortune on special teams for once, but they’ll take it. Here are the grades for the Lions in this hard fought win.READ MORE: Starbucks Cancels COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate After Supreme Court Ruling
Offense: After a couple of weeks of really looking impressive on offense, the Detroit Lions took a slight step back here. They only had 233 yards of total offense, and they only scored 16 points. The Vikings may be a slightly tougher defense than their most recent opponents, but they aren’t good.
Reggie Bush didn’t do anything at all, while Joique Bell had just over 100 yards on 15 carries and four receptions. Golden Tate had the Lions’ lone touchdown, while Calvin Johnson was not even the most prolific C. Johnson in this game, as he had four catches for 53 yards while Minnesota’s Charles Johnson had five catches for 72 yards. On the other hand, the Lions gave up no sacks and had no turnovers. There were no real highs, but also no real lows. Grade: B-
Quarterback: Much like the Lions offense as a whole, Stafford didn’t do a ton either positive or negative. He went 17-for-28 for 153 yards with his touchdown pass to Tate. Again, he didn’t turn the ball over and was only his a few times. Stafford had played better the past couple of weeks, but this week he was just good enough to help the Lions win. Thanks to the defense, his mediocrity was enough. Grade: B-READ MORE: 2 Workers Hurt In Explosion At US Steel Plant In Ecorse
Special Teams: When you look at a game that ended up being decided by two points, it is hard to overlook the simple fact that Matt Prater made all three of his field goals while Blair Walsh missed all three of his attempts. Granted, one of those was blocked by the Lions, and the final kick was a 68-yard attempt as time expired, which would have been an NFL record. Still, the optics of that point to where the Lions were able to eke this win out. Sam Martin punted well, while the Lions had a little trouble with Cordarrelle Patterson on kick returns. If you give the Lions’ special teams credit for that blocked field goal, they came up big. Grade: B
Defense: After giving up those two early touchdowns, the Lions shut things down. Teddy Bridgewater did throw for over 300 yards, and he ran for 30 yards on three carries, but Detroit also picked him off twice, with Glover Quin and Darius Slay each earning an interception. The Lions also picked up four sacks and six quarterback hits.
As per usual, the Lions kept their opponents from running the ball terribly well, as the Vikings only had 76 yards on 21 carries, and Detroit had seven tackles for loss. Minnesota’s offense isn’t great, but Detroit still shut them down. Once again, the Lions can thank their defense for their victory. Grade: A-
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Chris Morgan has been a diehard Detroit Lions fan through the good (Barry Sanders) and the bad (Matt Millen) and that love has led him to take jobs writing about sports, including as a fantasy sports “expert.” His work can be found on Examiner.com. .