If the Lions were going to have a shot at the NFC North, Thursday was a game they had to win. However, it was not to be, as Detroit fell to the visiting Minnesota Vikings 30-23. Here are the top three takeaways from the game.
SLOW START AGAIN
The Lions got down 20-3 to the Vikings. This is the third straight game they have dug a hole, falling behind both the Browns and Bears 10-0 in the previous two weeks before coming back for the victory. The difference is those are both bad teams. Minnesota is not. They were able to run the clock in the second half and not give Matthew Stafford enough time to finish the comeback.
The Lions actually sacked Case Keenum twice, which is more than he has been taken down over the last month. The rest of the time, though, he got to stand behind the line long enough to complete some pretty easy passes or step out of the rush to make a play. Keenum finished the game 21-for-30 for 282 yards and two touchdowns and was able to lead the Vikings to 6-of-13 on third down. When the Lions tried to tee off on him, the Vikings were able to run the ball for 136 yards to slow the pass rush down. They controlled the clock for almost 35 minutes because of their balanced offense.
ONE STYLE AND IT WAS NOT STYLISH
The Lions were unable to run the ball. They had only 53 total yards on the ground. So it was all up to Stafford, and he was not up to the task. Even before the ankle injury in the fourth quarter, he was off. He made some good pass, especially on the TD throws drives, but he also missed some easy throws. Too high to Golden Tate; too low on a perfect screen to Ameer Abdullah; way off to Marvin Jones. It was not a good day for Stafford who ended up 20-for-35 for 250 yards, two scores, and an interception. If the Lions are not going to run the ball, he is going to have to be close to perfect in the passing game, and he was nowhere near that on Thursday.