The Lions (7-4) have won six of seven, including two against Minnesota this month and four of the wins have come on Prater’s field goals, despite trailing in the fourth quarter of every game this season.
He’s not wrong. If your eye didn’t tell you the Vikings were trying to kill the Lions with a billion small cuts, Pro Football Focus charted the game and found Bradford threw beyond 10-yards just three times.
Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins was unlucky to be on the losing side as he threw 449 yards, passing the 400-yard mark for the second time this season, for three touchdowns. But the Vikings let Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford work some more fourth-quarter magic, just has he had done in Minnesota on November 6.
It starts with Stafford, who has rallied the team for seven fourth-quarter comeback victories this season, tying an National Football League record shared by the Manning brothers, Peyton (2009) and Eli (2011). So why not end it with five victories in a row? Tip the cap toward linebacker Josh Bynes, who pulled down Minnesotas Jerick McKinnon a yard short of a first down, leading to the late fourth-quarter change of possession that culminated in Detroits game-tying drive. This holiday feasting on the Vikings was not as dramatic as Stafford’s last-minute gun-slinging and Matt Prater’s last-second big footing November 6 in Detroit’s overtime victory at U.S. Bank Stadium. They are a half game behind the Redskins (6-4-1) for the second wild-card spot in the NFC. Detroit is coming off a 26-19 home win over Jacksonville.
Both teams failed on fourth-down conversions later in the quarter. Prater tied the game with a 48-yarder with 1:45 left to play in the game, and he then nailed a game-winning 40-yarder as time expired.
Said Vikings tackle Tom Johnson: “It looked like Cordarrelle recovered it”. Slay stepped in front of Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen and intercepted a Sam Bradford pass at the Vikings 33-yard-line.
Prater’s 29-yard field goal, set up by Golden Tate’s 41-yard reception, gave Detroit a 10-7, second-quarter edge. It’s clear that this offense can’t put together more than 14 to maybe 20 points a game (now that we have a reliable short range field goal kicker in Kai Forbath).
Slay pretty much summed up his game-winning interception with a nickname. And in Slay, they have their shutdown, big-play cornerback. Against Jacksonville it was safety Tavon Wilson with the game-sealing interception off a awful Blake Bortles pass.
Caldwell on Slay: “He’s as good as they come in those situations”. But you can never count out Jim Caldwell’s bunch. “But they don’t hand out trophies and things of that nature after a few wins like we’ve had”. This matchup could go either way with the motivation of first place on the line. A lot of it was (Matthew Stafford) running. They have lived a charmed life. Because of a highly flawed offense, it is a defense that has to win games.
In the other locker room, the disappointment was palpable.
There was a time when Sam Bradford was turning heads, when the defense was being compared to the ’85 Bears and when Mike Zimmer was considered as the NFL’s Coach of the Year.