In a wild Thanksgiving affair marked by defense, the Detroit Lions once again came from behind after trailing in the fourth quarter, topping the Minnesota Vikings 16-13.
Darius Slay picked off Vikings QB Sam Bradford in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, and Matt Prater nailed a 40-yard field goal at the buzzer to send the Lions to the win to put them at 7-4 on the season, dropping the Vikings to 6-5.
Down 13-10 in the fourth quarter, Lions QB Matthew Stafford led the team on a drive which concluded with a Prater field goal to tie the game with 1:45 to play.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, instead of playing for overtime, let Bradford go for the win, and it cost Minnesota as Slay picked him off near the sideline, and a few knees later Prater nailed the winning kick.
“He’s as good as they come in those situations,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said of Slay. “He’s kind of a riverboat gambler.”
The Vikings free fall continues, as they have lost five of their last six, and they are now looking up at the Lions for first in the NFC South.
Stafford was 23-for-40 passing for 232 yards and a touchdown in the win. Prater nailed three field goals, and Anquin Boldin had seven grabs for 69 yards and a score in the win.
Golden Tate added seven catches for 77 yards for the winning Lions.
The Vikings offense continued to struggle, as Bradford was held to 224 yards passing, but hit on 31-for-37 passing with the key interception.
Minnesota had 306 yards of offense, but managed just 13 points, and a key stat was they were just 2-for-10 in third down conversions.
“We had to keep playing but we didn’t make enough plays,” Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph said.
The Lions defense was the story, playing a bend but don’t break type of game that included them stepping up on third downs stopping the Vikings in just about every key situation.
They seem to be a team ready for a playoff run, and this season with the Packers struggling and the Vikings now in a major slump, the NFC North is theirs for the taking.
They have a great shot to get to 8-5 next week as they travel to New Orleans to play the Saints next Sunday at 1pm.