Sunday, December 14, 2014
2014 Game 14 - Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings
The now division leading 10-4 Detroit Lions narrowly beat the 6-8 Minnesota Vikings effectively taking the Vikings out of their playoff hopes by a score of 16-14. It has been a very long time since the Lions were sitting at the top of the NFC North after 15 weeks of play, but before we crown them the second coming of all thinks football let us realize they won because the free agent kicker they picked up (Prater) made all 3 field goals and the established kicker for the Vikings (Walsh) missed all 3 (very very long) field goals.
Matthew Stafford was only 17 of 28 (60.714%) for 1 TD and 0 INTs while the defense allowed Bridgewater to be 31 of 41 (75.6%) for 1 TD but 2 INTs. The Lions managed to eek out 90 yards of rushing while the Vikings only managed 76 yards. Despite these lopsided figures the true difference in the game was field position and the kickers.
Okay, the Lions safety's also contributed mightily with their 2 interceptions, without which the Lions would not be 10-4. So kudos to the Lions safeties and Matt Prater... game balls all around for them please.
I was actually worried about this game not due it being a supposed trap game, but due to the fact that N. Suh had had the flu (along with others) starting a few days ago, and back then I realized the timing was such that they could've infected many on the team earlier in the week and they would only begin to be symptomatic on Sunday (today). Not saying that is what happened, but boy the offense and defense sure looked like they were running in mud for a good part of the first quarter and a half. Then suddenly the Lions offensive coordinator held an on field meeting with all the offensive players and the next thing we know the penalties stop (on O) and things start to slowly get better (and faster). I would give the next game ball to the OC after Quinn and IH and Prater.
The Lions get to set their sites on the Bears who they play next week and who have been struggling mightily this year. The Lions need to continue to win to control their own destiny and to keep the players and fans into the game, for if I were to look ahead (and I am trying not to) the Lions could have a home playoff game (or more then one even) and it's critical that every aspect of the game fall in their favor for the wins to keep happening, after all, you don't want the kicker to be winning or losing (as happened earlier in the year) your games for you if you can help it.
One other note, if the Lions beat the Bears and the Packers lose next week... the final game of the year in Lambeau against the Packers may still be critical in that losing that game still ties the Packers and the Lions and since they would have split in head to head the additional tie breaker rules would apply... possibly (probably) making the Packers the division champs (and giving them the bye week). True the Lions would likely still make the playoffs at 11-5 as a wildcard team, and also true I am not particularly keen on having a team take a week off as the playoffs start (this isn't FFL after all, the guys need to keep up with game speed) ... I still would like to see the Lions make it deep into the playoffs no matter the consequences or obstacles... even if it means winning all the games from here on out by their street pickup (and former Lion and Bronco) kicker.
Posted by NetRat's Lions Blog at 10:52 PM