For the third consecutive week the Vikings built up a commanding lead by halftime and for the third consecutive week they watched as that lead evaporated in the 2nd half and left a disappointing defeat in its place. The Vikings led 20-0 at halftime of Sunday’s NFC North showdown with the Detroit Lions and when they returned to the locker room after the game they were dealing with a heart-breaking 26-23 overtime loss.
Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson paced the Vikings offensive effort in the 1st half, with the duo combining for 146 yards and 1 TD on 17 touches. QB Donovan McNabb was helping the cause, too, completing 12 of 18 passes for 103 yards and a TD too to TE Visanthe Shiancoe. Defensively, the Vikings were suffocating QB Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense. Detroit accumulated just 50 yards of total offense, tallied just 4 first downs and scored zero points.
As has been the case for the Vikings every game this season, though, everything changed for the worse in the 2nd half. Stafford found a rhythm in the passing game, finding TE Brandon Pettigrew regularly in the middle of the field and then hitting superstar WR Calvin Johnson over the top and on quick slants whenever a big play was needed. For the game, Johnson and Pettigrew combined for 18 receptions, 220 receiving yards and 1 TD.
Just as influential in the outcome of Sunday’s game were mistakes made by the Vikings. A 4th-and-inches play fell short in the 4th quarter as the Vikings nursed a 3-point lead, a penalty on a punt late in the 4th quarter ruined what would’ve been outstanding field position for the Vikings as they tried to pull out a late win, and the team was penalized 10 times on the afternoon.
Increasing the frustration level in this loss is the fact that the Vikings did many of the things they needed to do to win. They sacked Stafford 5 times (he hadn’t been sacked coming into the game), they held the Lions to 20 rushing yards, and McNabb had a season-high in completions and yards.
The Vikings will regroup tomorrow and throughout the week as they must prepare for a tough road test at Kansas City. The Chiefs are having as disappointing a season as the Vikings, but Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City always yields a tough environment for the visiting team, and it’ll be the Vikings challenge to correct what’s gone wrong in 3 games and find their first win of the season while on the road.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Donovan McNabb, Percy Harvin
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