Sunday, September 25, 2011
Wrap-up: Lions 26, Vikings 23 (OT)
By Kevin Seifert
A few thoughts on yet another amazing second half in the NFC North:
What it means: The Detroit Lions won at the Metrodome for the first time in 14 games, giving the Lions their first 3-0 start since 1980. The Vikings stunningly gave up their third consecutive halftime lead, this one a 20-0 advantage earned by thoroughly trashing the Lions in the first half. The Vikings have now been outscored 87-6 after halftime this season.
What happened?!: The Lions deserve all the credit in the world for coming back from such a big deficit, but it takes two to tango when one team outscores the other 26-3 after halftime. We'll have plenty of time for post-mortem, but there was one play I really didn't like for the Vikings. It was giving Toby Gerhart the handoff on a fourth-and-1 play at the Lions' 17-yard line in the fourth quarter. Even if you don't kick the field goal, I prefer to come up short with the ball in Adrian Peterson's hands.
MegatronWatch: I didn't see every play of this game, but it sure looked like the Lions got receiver Calvin Johnson in single coverage a lot in this game. Vikings cornerback Chris Cook made some nice plays on the ball, but in the end Johnson had his third consecutive two-touchdown game, including a leaping 32-yarder in the third quarter that got the Lions on the scoreboard. That gives Johnson six touchdowns in three games.
Injury report: It appeared that Vikings receiver Percy Harvin wasn't on the field late in the fourth quarter. Harvin, who missed a day of practice with the stomach flu, was reportedly vomiting on the sidelines.
Lions pass protection: Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 378 yards but was sacked five times. Tackles Jeff Backus, Gosder Cherilus and Corey Hilliard couldn't slow down Vikings defensive ends Jared Allen (three sacks) and Brian Robison (two). Stafford hadn't been sacked before Sunday's game, but it's clear the Lions have an issue on the edge. It might be their biggest vulnerability as they move into unchartered waters of competitiveness this season.
PonderWatch: Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb hasn't played horribly this season, and on Sunday he threw for 211 yards. But should an 0-3 team be playing a 34-year-old quarterback while the future of the position stands on the sidelines? You'll hear that question a few times about Christian Ponder this week.
What's next: The Lions will play at the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday. The Vikings will travel to play the Kansas City Chiefs.