Vikings Push Lions To Limit, Lose On Last Play 34-28

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 11, 2011 – 5:26 pm

You wouldn’t have thought it was possible in the 1st quarter, when the Lions were firmly in control and held a 21-0 advantage at one point, but the Vikings had a ton of fight in them on Sunday at Ford Field and they gave the Lions more than they could handle.

Unfortunately, though, giving the Lions more than they wanted to handle wasn’t enough. Detroit, a team that came in having lost 3 of their last 4 and 5 of their last 7 after starting 5-0, was able to escape the game clinging to a 34-28 victory as a last-second play from the 1-yardline went awry for the Vikings and the officials missed a severe facemask infraction against Lions LB DeAndre Levy (just look at the photo on the home page of to see how severe and obvious an infraction it was).

There is so much to go over from this game that presenting it in paragraph fashion will not be effective. Here’s a quick summary of the game, with many details missing but the main story explained…

– A pretty good looking start quickly turned into an awful series of events for the Vikings. The Lions won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. The Vikings defense forced a punt after giving up just 1 first down. The Vikings offense took over 1st and 10 on the 10-yardline. On the Vikings first offensive snap, Lions DE Cliff Avril got around the edge of RT Phil Loadholt and Vikings QB Christian Ponder was not able to step up into the pocket quick enough. Avril batted the ball from Ponder’s hands and then LB Stephen Tulloch pounced on the ball to score a TD.

– Things got much worse before they got better for the Vikings. Ponder was intercepted by CB Alphonso Smith on the next possession, and Detroit turned the turnover into a TD just two plays later when QB Matthew Stafford found WR Titus Young down the left sideline for a 57-yard score. The Vikings punted the ball away on their next possession, and Stafford struck again 3 plays later, this time finding TE Brandon Pettigrew for a 12-yard score. At that point the score was 21-0 and it looked like the game would be no contest.

– But Ponder and the Vikings showed life. The rookie QB drove his team down the field – 80 yards in 10 plays – and capped the drive by finding TE Visanthe Shiancoe for a 7-yard score.

– Things looked as if they’d get better on the next drive, as the Vikings forced another Lions punt. Two plays later, though, Ponder threw another INT. This one was returned by Smith for a 30-yard TD, and the Lions lead was 28-21. Once again, Ponder responded by driving down the field for a TD. After another 10-play drive, this one for 60-yards, Ponder found WR Percy Harvin for a 12-yard score, and we had a game at 28-14 midway through the 2nd quarter.

– The teams exchanged 3 punts after the Harvin TD, and the Vikings had the ball 1st and 10 from their own 16 looking to pull to within 7 points before halftime. But RB Lorenzo Booker lost a fumble and the Lions were able to turn it into 3 points just before halftime to take a 31-14 lead into the locker room.

– On the first drive of the 2nd half, Ponder threw another INT, his 3rd of the game, and after that was replaced by Joe Webb. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier explained after the game that the move to Webb was the result of Ponder not being able to operate normally because of his hip injury. Going forward, Frazier explained, Ponder will be the starter. For the rest of the game, though, it was Webb’s ballgame. And Webb answered the bell, in a big way.

– The Vikings defense bowed up in the 2nd half, paving the way for Webb to mount a furious comeback. Webb got the party started late in the 3rd quarter by dashing through and away from the Lions defense for a 65-yard TD run. It was the longest run ever by a Vikings QB and the 6th-longest run ever by an NFL QB. More important, though, is the fact that it pulled the Vikings to 31-21 with just over 19 minutes to play in the game.

– The Vikings defense continued to shut down the Lions offense, holding Detroit to just 3 points in the entire 2nd half. After Jason Hanson’s 4th-quarter FG to make the score 34-21, Webb drove the Vikings down the field – 12 plays, 60 yards – and found RB Toby Gerhart for a 2-yard score. That made the score 34-28 in favor of the Lions.

– The Vikings defense answered the bell yet again on the next drive, forcing the Lions to punt the ball and opening up an opportunity for Webb to finish the comeback effort. Down 21-0 and 28-7 at various points in the game, the Vikings were poised to stun the Lions and their home crowd by notching a game-winning TD on the game’s final drive.

– Using his legs and his throwing arm, Webb drove the Vikings from their own 20 to the Lions 1. Facing a 1st and goal from the 1 with 9 seconds to play, the Vikings called a fade/fade stop option route to TE Kyle Rudolph, who faced single coverage split wide left. Rudolph was covered right after the snap, and as Webb attempted to extend the play by scrambling left, Levy grabbed his facemask and forced a fumble. Detroit recovered the fumble all the way down the field at the Minnesota 43, but the referees failed to call the egregious penalty. Had the officials made the right call, the Vikings would’ve had an untimed down from inside the 1-yardline with no time on the clock. But because the referees missed the call – which should’ve been easy to see because the facemask infraction caused the fumble – the game was over and the Lions escaped with a victory.

There’s so much more to go over from this game, including discussion about the Ponder/Webb situation, the tremendous play of DE Jared Allen (3.0 sacks), Toby Gerhart performing well in place of superstar Adrian Peterson, and the surge in play we’ve seen from DT Kevin Williams over the last several weeks. We’ll get to all of that over the next 2 days or so on the Blog as we digest this game and get ready to move on to next week’s matchup with the New Orleans Saints, who will visit Mall of America Field on Sunday.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 41 Comments »

41 Responses to “Vikings Push Lions To Limit, Lose On Last Play 34-28”

  1. By vikemike on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    vikings are worst team in league.

  2. By SmileyStar on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    Webb did awesome!!! Love watchin him play!!

  3. By CajunViking on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    Another tough loss but we stayed in it until the end which gives me alot of hope for next year. I for one still and always will support this team. SKOL VIKINGS!

  4. By Tarkstillowns on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    That last play was hard to watch. it wasn’t just blown blocking assignments but the no-call headturning facemask of Webb by the refs that ended another disappointing game.

  5. By Frederick Jones on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply


  6. By Frederick Jones on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    Mike Wobschall this one’s for you:


  7. By Robert Griffin III on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    Cough Cough Robert Griffin III

  8. By Garrett on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    I sent a HIRE A GENERAL MANAGER comment during the last chat to see what Mike would say about it…as expected..NO POST. He stopped that comment cold haha

  9. By Garrett on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    “live game chat”

  10. By VegasVike on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    Looks like a great game, tough thru this year. Get some holes filled in the draft and F/A, we’ll be back in the hunt! Way to go Vikes! BE PROUD

  11. By Bigfan1 on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    The photo of a Lion yanking the facemask of Webb should be sent to the officials head office and they need to be briefed on officiating 101, again they ruin a Viking win by not calling that penalty, we wouldn’t had 1st and 10 on the goal line, good night.

    I believe the Vikes will be second in the draft, the question is since they always subscribe to “best player” if the Colts take Luck will the Vikings take Griffin III, then they’d truly have their heisman qb like the Panthers, Rams, but that doesn’t mean much on the forefront since rookies take time to mature as great players. Maybe they won’t take the best player and instead fill some glaring needs like OT with Kalil or CB with Claiborne. Maybe they should pick all secondary and linemen this go around.

  12. By Eric P on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    That no call facemask is complete bs, the ref is suppose to be watching to make sure the QB doesn’t get hit in the head and the such and that was clear as day.
    Who cares if the NFL apologizes about that non call, doesn’t mean jack.
    NFL needs to have a center like the NHL does that watches all the games and can call and talk to the officials about a missed score or horrible missed call and make them call it.
    They shouldn’t need to do this but it does need to be done cause half the refs can’t see more then 3 yards out…………..

  13. By Dueyz on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    In a season filled with failure, I’m going to give LOVE to Jared Allen! He embodies our sport with character, performance, and endurance! I can’t wait to see him put on the golden jacket of the HOF. A true testament to old school, smash mouth, defensive football.

  14. By Dueyz on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    My question is….if the persons in charge of our franchise have not made good decisions up to this point, what good will it do to have good draft picks?

  15. By Jon Bernreuter on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    Webb should be your QB, right now. You guys are crazy. Go Blazers.

  16. By Geiber on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    Well…Even though ponder played down right terrible today, I still think he is great, yes he made terrible decsions, and horrible reads but come on, you know he is going home tonight and is probably wishing he could hang himself. I still think we are expecting to much of Ponder to soon. But seriously on some of those plays what on earth was he thinking. I love the fact he does not put any blame on anyone except himself, and makes no excuses. People just give him time please….

    As for my boy Toby Gerhart I hope everyone realized how great he is. The man is a beast, a viking he is; Toby the Train Gerhart ha ha. I think the problem is is that everyone expects Toby to be able to make big plays like AP, but that’s not him, you saw how he plays: lower the pads and hammer through. Awesome job Toby, hopefully people are starting to realize that you actually are great and deserve to be on the Vikings.

  17. By Geiber on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    I know people will disagree but all Webb did was come in and run the ball, he really can not pass at all. Anyone whos says Webb should be our quarterback really needs to look at some of the throws Webb made. Ponder had the good passses and then the terrible ones, and what did Webb have all terrible except for the 2yd td pass to the T-Train? So why start Webb, so we can win games, why would we want to win? It’s about the draft at this point. Start Ponder, let him play, let him work through his mistakes.

  18. By Parody on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    I agree Geiber – There’s actually a very positive spin to this loss: It only occurred because of a blatant but somehow unnoticed personal foul in what would have been the game winning play! This team isn’t as bad as its record, and the loss actually helps us! The draft is going to have a couple of high quality players go in the top-5 selections, so as long as we can remain at the bottom-3 of the NFL, we’ll have multiple opportunities to choose from in order to put together a great draft and have a huge turnaround next year. I’m not saying division title yet, but it could be enough to put us in contention for a wild card.

  19. By VegasVike on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    Ya Geiber you would think the lions would have game film on Webb and know he’s a run first QB. But obviously they didn’t cuz JDUB held class. Not taking anything away from CP7 but Joe is one heck of an athlete! The fact he was the first man on his fumble and he ran a 65 yarder in for 6 proves it. The Vikes got some players (and some holes), bring on 2012!!

  20. By purplegoldman on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    Dont get over excited about joe Webb’s performance. I he had been the listed starter for the game, Then the Lions would have prepared for him. In that case , Webb would not have had all of those long runs. Ponder will be great next year as long as he hits the wieghts hard and often. He needs to build his upper body strength so he can throw the ball with alot more velocity. Half of his INT’s are due to lack of Velocity and that has allowed the defender enough time to jump the pass , Especialy the sidline out routes. They must work realy hard with him to improve his Velocity so that alot of the INT’s dont happen. But he must stop throwing into double and triple coverage as well.

  21. By Jon Bernreuter on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    At least Joe can throw to the right colored jerseys.

  22. By purplegoldman on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    Name 1 running type QB that has won a championship, Just 1, Answer ( 0 ) and there will never be one. Just sayin.

  23. By purplegoldman on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    You are as impatient as a 6 year old. 95% of rookie QB’s play to there potential in years 2 or 3. The best QB’s to play the game where as misstake prone or worse than Ponder in there rookie season. GET A GRIP.

  24. By vike0din on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    draft Kalil in the first, and a tall WR in the third, the rest of the picks go to the secondary, and pick up Laron Landry, defense wins championchips, a young talented defense sounds like success for years, build a defense that can pick rodgers apart twice a year.

  25. By sandiamond on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    We have a two game lead on 6 others teams(4-9) for a very nice draft slot. With only three games remaining, the vikes just need a win period to boost moral within the organization. All this points to Joe Webb as the starter next week. Relax people we are in good shape with 2 young QB’s going into camp next year open for the job

  26. By Bigfan1 on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    The only game I see us winning is Washington, but it’ll be good stuff to lock up #2 draft position, I’ve never seen the Vikings that far up. They better get their heads together and make the most of this year’s ranking. Vike0din is right the Vikes need to focus on stopping Rogers since they’re the best right now all the others will follow. You stop Rogers you stop the rest. The one plus is Woodson is getting old and is just hanging on, once he’s gone that team won’t be the same. If we can pick up Claiborne from LSU and/or maybe Mathieu from LSU, we’d have our secondary. The most exciting part of this season will be in April 2012.

  27. By purplegoldman on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    They had better take Claiborne the CB out of LSU. of all the teams to win there confrence championship game for the past 2 Decades every team had at least 1 First round CB. Those facts should point to the obviuos selection for our first round pick. in every draft there have been no more than 3 shut down corners. Shut down Corners are more rare that Pro Bowl calibur QB’s and thats why it would be Foolish to pass one by with a rare oppertunity at a #2 over all in the first round. The Vikins are very lucky to be in a position to aquire the # 1 corner back in the country because a team like the Vikes that does have alot of pro bowl calibur players is never in this position to aquire such a high draft pick.

  28. By Dennis on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    When the vikings get a Defense that can create take a ways and score some points, they will start winning some games. Until then, the vikings offense will never keep up with the combined scoring of the better teams in the league. Even with the pass rush the vikings have, their db’s can’t get a pick. It is really sad to watch every week!

  29. By purplegoldman on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    Due to the lock out and a completely new coaching staff and the coaches being first year ever at there positions and all of our rookies. The season has been what it should have been. Its hard as a fan to be patient thru the growing pains, But this team is a heck of a lot better than there record. We know it and the sports writers know it. Trust me , next year this team will make changes and aquire more talent through the draft and free agentcy and it will be an explosive Offence and a much improved Deffence . Next year 11 – 5 . we should absolutely make the playoffs and from there anything is possible. Alot of good things ahead for this team and its Fans.

  30. By Brad on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    Personally, I think Ponder is looking GREAT for a rookie QB with mediocre receivers. I was skeptical of that pick at first, but he has proven me wrong. Rookies are going to have bad games from time to time, just like veterans sometimes do… so let’s not blow up one bad performance to be more than it is.

    Harvin should be playing in the slot… not trying to be a #1 receiver. We really need a reciever or two from free agency and/or the draft.

    I know people are down on the team in general right now, but I’m excited for next year. We’ve been playing most of our games tight with a rookie QB and a tough schedule. We seem to be a WR (or two) and a decent Left Tackle away from contending. With a high pick in the 2012 draft, we should have the LT issue resolved.

  31. By hippster on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    the coaching of this team, is pushing us all to our limits….

  32. By Troutdaddy on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    Ponder made some rookie mistakes, but you can’t fault him for trying to make plays. Our receivers have got to get open and they are not doing it- Harvin being the exception here. Yes- it was cool to see Webb get his turn, but I really hope everyone realizes that Ponder is the real deal and just because he had a bad game is not a reason to throw him under the bus. the kid is going to learn a lot from this year and that is what we want. The fact that we have 3 more games to help him get his feet wet will be good. The defense was great. Our offensive line once again blew it when it mattered. I don’t care if the ref didn’t see the face-mask. They shoulda blocked the guy in the first place to give Joe a chance to make a play. To be down by 21 points and have a chance to win at the end was still an amazing comeback and I thought it was cool to see so many of our guys not give up.

  33. By HANK77 on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    how can the nfl justify a non call at the end of the game! oh i forgot the vikings qb is not manning or rogers

  34. By sandiamond on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    Would most agree that the secondary seems to be the primary or higher weighted player concern for most vikings fans out there ?
    Why not go ahead and take care of the issue in April with a one-two punch ~
    Claiborne rd1
    Barron rd2
    watch jan 9th and decide for yourslves………..

  35. By DEVikesFan on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    Umm…Steve Young was a running QB that one the SB…..just saying…..

  36. By Geiber on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    Hank77, I know how can the refs miss an obvious facemask ON THE QB, ON THE LAST PLAY. What the heck were they doing?

  37. By purplegoldman on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    Steve Young Was not a QB with WR reciever speed not even close , He was a Mobile QB with quick feet and a good bust of speed, Just like Farve in his early years and Elway. None of these QB’s depended on there legs to move the football but they were quick enough to run for positive yards if they needed to. None of these guys had the Running speed or abillity to elude deffences, Like Webb / Cordell Stewart/ Randall Cunningham/ Mike Vick these guys depend on there legs and running abillity. A running QB is a dual threat sprinters speed. You mean Steve Young was known for having sprinter speed. Don’t think so. Good try.

  38. By Bagheera17 on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    Ponder played terrible. But I blame that on 2 things. The lack of a front line, and the fact that Ponder started injured. I know Ponder needs experience, but playing injured is not the way to do it. Vikings should be thankful that he didn’t suffer a season ending injury by playing hurt. Should not have even played him. Should have benched him so he could heal up.

    I wonder what the NFL pays its officials for? It is obvious that they are not getting paid to do their jobs, nor are they getting paid to put in a full week’s worth of time (of which there is only 3 hours). The number of no-calls in all games on both sides is astounding. The officials do not do their jobs. At this point, the games would be fairer without any officials and just have the players be honest about yardage and call their own penalties. Kids are able to officiate themselves better at recess than the paid officials.

  39. By Kevin on Dec 13, 2011 | Reply

    I hate to admit this, but the facemask did not cause the fumble. I was watching it back in slow motion to show a friend and you could see Levy knock the ball out of Webb’s hands right before it touched the facemask. Of course a call still should have been made, but if Levy’s hands didn’t touch Webb’s facemask, the play still would have been the same.

  40. By geiber on Dec 13, 2011 | Reply

    @Purplegoldman, I agree I think Claiborne would be a great pick also.

  41. By Maureen McDermott on Dec 14, 2011 | Reply

    I agree that the ref’s should have called the penality on the last play…Because they didn’t and neither did the people “Upstairs” I think the win should be taken away and a draw be put on both teams as well as fines on all the ref’s and people upstairs. Yes the ball was knocked out before the face mask but still…

    I am a Vikings fan for life and don’t like to lose but that’s the name of the game. But to lose because of the ref’s….UH UH The other team should lose the win and both teams should get a draw and the ref’s should be heavily fined.

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