|Date of game: 10/12/2014
Recap: Minnesota vs. Detroit
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Led by a stout defense that had eight sacks and three interceptions, the Detroit Lions overcame continued kicking problems to take a 17-3 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Matt Stafford was a pedestrian 19-for-33 for 185 yards and one touchdown while Joique Bell added a rushing touchdown for the Lions (4-2), who bounced back from last week's three-point loss at home to Buffalo.
That loss was due in large part to three missed field goals from Alex Henery, which led the Lions to release him and bring in their third kicker of the season in Matt Prater.
Playing for the first time since serving a four-game suspension and being cut by the Broncos, Prater made a 52-yard field goal but missed two more attempts. Detroit kickers have now missed 10 field goals on the season.
Detroit won the game despite missing two star offensive weapons in wide receiver Calvin Johnson and running back Reggie Bush, both of whom sat out with ankle injuries.
"Defense was smothering all day long," said Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell. "I'm not certain I've ever been around a defense that had eight sacks in a ball game, that was quite a performance and our defensive guys did a great job."
Teddy Bridgewater returned to action after missing last week with a sprained ankle, but was harassed all day by the Detroit defense and finished the game 23-for-37 for 188 yards and three interceptions for the Vikings (2-4), who have dropped their past two games.
"Well obviously that's a disappointing performance," said Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer. "I expected better today and I thought we practiced well all week. Disappointed we didn't protect the quarterback and we didn't block guys."
The Lions started the game with the ball and quickly got into the end zone thanks to Theo Riddick, who took a screen pass for 41 yards down to the Minnesota 9, and got into the end zone two plays later on a 9-yard catch to give the team a 7-0 lead four minutes in.
Minnesota drove down the field on its ensuing touch and got into the Detroit red zone, but Bridgewater was picked off for the first time in his career as Glover Quin stepped in front of a pass in the end zone for his second pick of the season.
The first play of the second quarter saw Prater line up for a 50-yard field goal, but the kicking woes continued for the Lions as he missed it well to the left.
Late in the half, Minnesota had the ball near midfield. Bridgewater, though, had a pass tipped by his target and it went into the hands of Tahir Whitehead.
The Lions moved the ball 17 yards, and it was enough for Prater to drill a 52- yard field goal with seven seconds left to give the Lions a 10-0 lead going into the break.
Minnesota began the second half with the ball and moved past midfield, but Bridgewater had another pass tipped into the hands of Whitehead to give the ball to Detroit.
Stafford, though, was sacked for eight yards on third down and Prater lined up for a 44-yard field goal attempt, but he hit it off the left upright and it stayed out.
"When they send me out there, I'm supposed to make them, so I'm upset with my performance today, but I'm glad we got the win," said Prater.
After another three-and-out, the Lions put together a scoring drive to take a 17-0 lead. Facing a 3rd-and-8, Stafford hit Golden Tate for a completion that fell a yard short of the marker, but defensive holding gave the team a first down. Another defensive holding call gave Detroit a fresh set of downs.
Stafford was sacked for an eight-yard loss and on 3rd-and-16 Bell took a screen pass 15 yards down to the Minnesota 10. Opting to go for it instead of trying a field goal, the Lions converted as George Winn pushed the ball four yards. Two plays later, Bell leaped over the goal line for a 1-yard score and a 17-0 lead with 11:44 to play.
Minnesota put together its first scoring drive of the game later in the quarter as an 11-play, 45-yard march was capped off on a 40-yard field goal from Blair Walsh with just under five minutes to play.
Following a three-and-out from Detroit, Bridgewater was sacked on fourth down as any hope for a comeback evaporated for Minnesota.Game Notes
Riddick left the game with hamstring injury ... Minnesota totaled just 212
yards while Detroit had 255 and controlled the ball for nearly 32 1/2 minutes
... Detroit won for just the second time in its last 17 games as the guest in
this series ... Bell, who had missed last week's game with a concussion,
totaled 74 yards on 18 carries ... Detroit hosts New Orleans next Sunday ...
Minnesota plays in Buffalo next Sunday ... Ziggy Ansah led Detroit with 2 1/2