DETROIT – The Detroit Lions couldn’t put it all together against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday. The loss drops the Lions to 3-9-1 and 0-5 in the NFC North. It was a frustrating day for Detroit, as the defense held a good Minnesota offense to 20 points but the offense could not get their footing.
Here’s three takeaways from Sunday’s game.
Not Blough’s best: David Blough couldn’t follow up on an exciting Thanksgiving debut in his second start at QB for the Lions. Sunday was his first start on the road and it showed. Blough finished 24/40 for 205 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs. From the start of the game, he didn’t look as sharp or as confident as he did last week. He missed too many throws and he often held on to the ball too long. A couple of times he tried to move in the pocket and ended up running right into a Minnesota defender.
It was not a great day for him and the Lions offense. They could not get anything going at all, and when they did, Blough threw an interception or the Lions made mistakes that ended drives.
Sunday’s game is right there with the Washington game as the worst offensive performance for the Lions this year, in what has been a very good season offensively.
Lions lose battle up front: One big reason the Lions lost is they were beat in the trenches. It was the same thing we’ve seen all year on defense with a lack of pass rush, and missing Da’shawn Hand didn’t help. The lack of a pass rush gave Kirk Cousins lots of time to find his receivers and he took advantage of it, going 24/30 with 242 yards and 1 TD.
The Lions also could not get a push on run plays. Minnesota ran for 120 yards and used that success running to set up plenty of play action passes.
On offense, the Lions couldn’t get a great push running the ball as Detroit only had 70 yards rushing. The Lions offensive line did a good job of giving Blough time to throw, but he was sacked 5 times with at least one sack coming after a miscommunication on the offensive line.
Close but not good enough: There were a few moments throughout the game the Lions will want back. It actually seemed like the Lions might have a chance to turn things around and keep it a game as it got closer to halftime. The Lions defense had held Minnesota to only 10 points and the offense was moving in to score. Then, Matt Prater missed a 45-yard field goal with 1:10 left in the half.
The Vikings were able to take the ball and score to suddenly make it 17-0. A big play on that drive was a pass to Stefon Diggs where Darius Slay was right on him but couldn’t make a play on the ball.
In the second half, the Lions had a chance to get things going on offense a couple of times but couldn’t do it.
The Lions forced a three and out on Minnesota’s first possession of the half but the Lions gave the ball right back with a three and out after a drop by Marvin Jones.
A few minutes later the Lions had a first down at their 43-yard line, but David Blough badly overthrew Kenny Golladay and was intercepted.
Those plays where better execution was needed, or a missed assignment at a bad time, or just the other team being a little better have not gone the Lions way this year.