Lions Den: Clutch Stafford Leads Lions to Another Comeback Win

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Detroit Lions (5-4) quarterback Matthew Stafford took the offense on yet another late game drive to secure a 22-16 victory over the Minnesota Vikings (5-3) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. Sunday afternoon.

The Lions’ offense struggled to get much going all afternoon, but in overtime, the offense marched right down the field to earn the victory. Stafford hooked up with Golden Tate on a 28-yard pass with 8:21 left in overtime. The game-winning drive was Stafford’s fifth this season and 25th of his career. Stafford didn’t have a great passing day, but did enough to pull out the win, throwing for 219 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Detroit was finally able to run the ball, and that created a lot of opportunities for the offense. Lions running back Theo Riddick rushed for 70 yards on 14 carries. Dwayne Washington added 26 yards on 10 carries. The Lions rushed for 97 yards in the game, which helped keep the Vikings defense honest.

Golden Tate and Eric Ebron were the shining stars of the Lions’ receiving corps on Sunday. Tate caught 11 passes for 79 yards and the game-winning touchdown, while Ebron led the team in receiving, catching seven passes for 92 yards.

Whenever Tate has a big day, Lions star receiver Marvin Jones does not, and that trend continued on Sunday. Jones was targeted five times, but caught just one pass for five yards. The Lions need Jones and Tate to play well together if they want to make a playoff push.

The Lions defense bent, but didn’t break on Sunday, allowing Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford to throw for 273 yards and one touchdown. Bradford was able to find his number one receiver Stefon Diggs 13 times, but other than that, he really wasn’t effective throwing the ball to anyone else. One of the biggest keys to the game was the Lions secondary versus Bradford, and the Lions won that battle.

Minnesota running backs Matt Asiata, Jerick McKinnon and Ronnie Hillman had a tough time finding holes to run the ball. The trio combined for just 65 yards and no touchdowns. The Lions’ front seven took advantage of the injuries on the Vikings’ offensive line, and were generating pressure all afternoon.

The Lions’ secondary played better than normal today. They only allowed one receiver to take advantage of them. Besides Diggs, no Minnesota receiver caught more than six passes and none of them had more than 70 yards receiving. Detroit was content with letting Diggs get his yardage, and clamping down on the rest of the Minnesota receivers.

Detroit will be on bye next week, giving them time to get healthy and work out the kinks of their offense and defense. After the bye, the Lions will play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 20 at 1 p.m.