A quick look at the final score of Sunday’s loss might make you think otherwise, but the Vikings defense answered the bell against a typically explosive Detroit Lions offense. The Lions scored 34 points in their victory, but the point total alone doesn’t tell the true story.
Ultimately, it was turnovers by the Vikings offense early in the game that allowed Detroit to build an advantage that was just barely enough to preserve victory. The Lions scored two defensive touchdowns in the 1st half, and for the game Detroit collected 24 points directly off of Vikings turnovers.
When the Lions weren’t aided by a Vikings turnover, though, they had trouble against the Vikings defense. Here’s a list of the Lions offensive drives and results of those drives when they didn’t obtain the ball via turnover:
4 plays, 19 yards, 1 first down, punt
4 plays, 34 yards, 2 first downs, touchdown
6 plays, 25 yards, 1 first down, punt
3 plays, 2 yards, 0 first downs, punt
4 plays, 9 yards, 0 first downs, punt
15 plays, 76 yards, 5 first downs, field goal
6 plays, 20 yards, 1 first down, punt
Add it all up, and the Lions averaged just 6 plays, 26.4 yards and 1.4 first downs per drive, very solid numbers for the Vikings defense.
In addition to all of that, the Vikings held QB Matthew Stafford to just 227 passing yards (he averaged 293.9 coming into the game) and they sacked Stafford 5 times. Stafford’s top target, Calvin Johnson, was also held in check with just 3 receptions for 29 yards.
The Vikings also held Detroit’s running game in check, as the Lions gained just 72 yards on 21 carries (3.4 yards per carry). For the game, Detroit had just 13 first downs – compared to 29 for the Vikings – and the offense as a whole generated 280 net yards, which is 104.2 yards below their season average.
None of this will make the loss feel any better, but it was good to see a Vikings defense that is severely hampered by injury play up to and above the level of the Lions offense. Both Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier and Defensive Coordinator Fred Pagac should be pleased with the effort and results of the Vikings defense.
Tags: Fred Pagac, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 25 Comments »