Lions vs. Vikings: Slow Offensive Start Dooms Detroit in Key Division Loss
The Lions started slow once again and it finally bit them in the rear end again.
Matt Stafford still looked uncomfortable in the pocket and threw a few bad passes, but he did begin to spread the ball out more (hitting Titus Young and Brandon Pettigrew for touchdowns) and Calvin Johnson finally found the end zone while topping 200 yards for the fourth time in his career.
Mikel Leshoure found it tough sledding against what had been a slippery run defense. Joique Bell was virtually forgotten and his one noticeable play was a dropped pass along the sideline.
The Lions cannot just forget the run, especially when they were only down 10 points at the half and six points after three quarters.
It's hard to say if it's Stafford's predilection to force balls to Calvin Johnson, or if offensive coordinator Scott Linehan just forgets he has a backfield on occasion—which made them ditch the ground attack—but it certainly hurt.
However, they scored three points in the first half and once again struggled to get the offense going.
On top of that, the secondary couldn't stop Christian Ponder from throwing for 200-plus yards and a pair of touchdowns without turning the ball over for the first time since Week 4.
Five weeks of interceptions ended against a secondary that, let's be honest, is a bit banged up.
Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey were already out, and they were joined by Chris Houston, who left the game with an ankle injury.
To make matters worse, Cliff Avril left with a concussion, which didn't help since Adrian Peterson added the Lions to his list of "teams who can't stop him or hope to contain him."
Detroit's playoff hopes were dealt a sharp blow by the loss. They had to win this game and both sides of the ball failed to step up in time to keep them in the division race. Dropping two games to a division foe digs them a hole which will be hard to get out of.
Can the Lions still win a spot in the playoffs with a wild-card berth?
We'll look more closely at this later this week, but they're going to need a lot of help from here on out.
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