DETROIT (AP) — The Lions loss to Vikings secures last place in tough NFC North.

There’s still one more game to go, but the Lions are now assured of their first last-place finish since 2012 after a 27-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Detroit actually dominated the first 25 minutes or so, but the Lions allowed Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph to catch a Hail Mary touchdown with embarrassing ease with no time remaining in the first half.

 

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 23: Kyle Rudolph #82 of the Minnesota Vikings and David Morgan #89 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrate a touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 23, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

That play put Detroit behind for good.

 

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 23: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions reacts to play in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 23, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Minnesota Vikings won 27 – 9. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

“Each game is different. That’s part of the frustrating part,” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “It’s not one thing, you say, ‘OK, let’s go fix that and we’ll be fine.’ It’s just, it’s tough to win games in the National Football League and for one reason or another, execution and playmaking, we haven’t done enough of it.”

 

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 23: Head coach Matt Patricia of the Detroit Lions walks off the field after the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 23, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Minnesota Vikings won 27 – 9. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

Detroit (5-10) will end up in the NFC North cellar for the first time since going 4-12 in 2012 under Jim Schwartz. The Lions fired coach Jim Caldwell after going 9-7 last season, and in the first year under Matt Patricia, they will end up with a worse record than in any of Caldwell’s four seasons in Detroit.

One of the low points of Caldwell’s tenure came in 2015, when Aaron Rodgers threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Richard Rodgers with no time remaining to give Green Bay a 27-23 win over the Lions. Detroit seemed ill prepared for that play, and the defense wasn’t much better Sunday when Minnesota tried it.

 

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 23: Kyle Rudolph #82 of the Minnesota Vikings is tackled by Quandre Diggs #28 of the Detroit Lions in the second half at Ford Field on December 23, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

“We just have to get a little bit better from an alignment standpoint, we have to get some of those guys in better position,” Patricia said. “Get the guy who caught the ball boxed out and get him out of there. So, a couple details there.”

Aside from that Hail Mary, it wasn’t a bad performance by the Lions on defense. They held Minnesota (8-6-1) without a first down for the whole first quarter, and Detroit was up 9-0 in the second.

 

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 23: Darius Slay #23 of the Detroit Lions tackles Adam Thielen #19 of the Minnesota Vikings in the first half at Ford Field on December 23, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

 

The game turned when the Lions left Adam Thielen all alone on third-and-17, and Kirk Cousins found him for a 40-yard gain. That set up a touchdown with 1:32 left in the half.

Minnesota got the ball back, and the Vikings made it to the Detroit 44 with 2 seconds left. Cousins had plenty of time to throw to the end zone, and Rudolph made the catch without even falling down.

 

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 23: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings look to pass in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 23, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Minnesota Vikings won 27 – 9. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

Detroit managed only 74 total yards in the second half. The offense was without rookie running back Kerryon Johnson and receiver Marvin Jones, both on injured reserve.

The Lions dropped their opener at home to the New York Jets, 48-17 back in September. Their home finale Sunday was similar.

 

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 23: Fans with bags over their head watch the end of the Detroit Lions season at Ford Field on December 23, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

“We just have to be better as a team and even next year, it’s not going to get any easier,” defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois said. “We’re going to keep playing playoff teams, now you have to figure out how to beat playoff teams. Don’t even look at the season, just look at playoff teams.”

 

© 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s