NFC North: 2013 Week 1 MIN at DET
September, 8, 2013
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
DETROIT -- My thoughts on the Minnesota Vikings' 34-24 loss to the Detroit Lions.
What it means: With a September schedule that included two division road games and a trip to London for a home game, it was important for the Vikings to get off to a good start. But after blowing a 14-6 lead on the road and losing for the ninth time in 10 NFC North road games, they'll have to win in Chicago next week to avoid starting 0-2. The Vikings hope to get defensive tackle Kevin Williams back, and they'll have a week to plug some of the leaks in their run defense that emerged with the six-time Pro Bowler's absence on Sunday. But in what looked like one of the team's more favorable road matchups, the Vikings missed an opportunity.
Stock watch: Falling -- Vikings' defense. They allowed the Lions to post 469 yards, generating little pass rush on Matthew Stafford and getting gashed by Reggie Bush on both the ground and on screen passes. Trailing by three with a chance to get the ball back midway through the fourth quarter, the Vikings committed two penalties on third down -- a roughing-the-passer call on Letroy Guion and a pass interference penalty on Xavier Rhodes -- to extend a Lions drive that would turn into a touchdown.
Simpson emerges: After a disappointing first season in Minnesota, receiver Jerome Simpson caught seven passes for 140 yards on Sunday, hauling in two deep passes from Christian Ponder and posting the third-most yards of his career. His 47-yard reception in the third quarter, where he dove to track down a ball directly over his head, set up a touchdown that got the Vikings within three.
Peterson neutralized: After he galloped 78 yards on the Vikings' first play from scrimmage, Adrian Peterson had a quiet day. He gained just 13 yards on his next 16 carries, scoring two more touchdowns but struggling to take pressure off Ponder, who threw two interceptions and was sacked three times.
What's next: The Vikings (0-1) travel to Chicago next Sunday, looking for their first win in the Windy City since Peterson's rookie year in 2007.
September, 8, 2013
By Michael Rothstein | ESPN.com
DETROIT -- Some thoughts following Detroit’s 34-24 win over Minnesota at Ford Field on Sunday.
What it means: For Detroit, this was a big-deal win. It may be only the opener, but the Lions showed a bunch of flashes of what they could potentially do on offense, with Reggie Bush being capable of running out of the backfield and the explosiveness in the short passing game. They also showed that their offensive line could hold up well, limiting Minnesota to just one sack. Considering Detroit’s next two games are on the road -- including a trip to Washington, D.C., in two weeks -- winning the season opener was extremely critical.
Stock watch: Rising -- Detroit’s defensive line. The Lions were always going to have a talented, big defensive line. But against Minnesota, Detroit’s deepest and most talented unit showed up all game long. Nick Fairley recovered a fumble, and Ndamukong Suh had a pressure that forced an interception in the first half. They spent a good portion of the day pressuring Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder. Also rising -- rookie tight end Joseph Fauria. The undrafted free agent saw a lot of time and caught his first career touchdown pass, a 1-yarder to give Detroit a 34-24 lead in the fourth quarter. In the coming weeks, he could end up taking snaps from Brandon Pettigrew if he can be consistent.
Reggie Bush’s debut: Detroit’s big-time free-agent acquisition paid almost immediate dividends. He scored a 77-yard touchdown off a screen pass from Matthew Stafford and almost had two more touchdowns, but both were reviewed and it was determined he was out at the 1-yard line. He finished with 21 rushes for 90 yards and four receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Containing Peterson: It may not look like it statistically, but Detroit’s defense did a good job limiting Minnesota superstar Adrian Peterson. Other than his 78-yard touchdown on his first carry of the season, Detroit’s defense held Peterson to 13 yards. In all, Peterson had 18 carries for 88 yards. He still did damage, though, scoring three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).
What’s next: The Lions head on the road the next two weeks, starting with a trip to Arizona next weekend.