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Next-Day Stats: Griffen & Wonnum 'Get Home' Fast for Sacks

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings returned to the win column and extended their current streak against the Lions to eight games with a 19-17 victory Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Another Minnesota streak — three consecutive games started with a touchdown on the Vikings opening drive — came to an end on a day when touchdowns were hard to come by for either team.

Here's a deeper dive at some "next-day stats" with an eye on the ever-increasing number of Next Gen Stats. References to rankings across the league include all Week 5 games except for tonight's game between the Colts and Ravens.

1. Fast sacks

Vikings Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator Andre Patterson went to great lengths last week to explain that there's more to affecting passers than recording sacks.

While that has been proven true over the years, sacks are one of the most quantifiable measurements because they are so easy to see. The quarterback had to eat the football, losing yardage in the process, and there's usually a pretty good celly dance — like Everson Griffen's "Sack Daddy" or Danielle Hunter drawing the door outline only to kick it down — that follows.

There's also something to be said for how fast a sack can be recorded because it can force a quarterback to play faster than his comfort zone.

Everson Griffen recorded 2.0 sacks, including one that forced a fumble late in the first quarter after he executed an amazing spin move.

According to Next Gen Stats, Griffen reached Jared Goff in 2.94 seconds, the third-fastest sack of Week 5.

Second-year pro D.J. Wonnum got to Goff in 3.14 seconds in the fourth quarter for the sixth-fastest sack of Week 5.

Trey Flowers recorded Detroit's fastest of two sacks on the day. Flowers reached Kirk Cousins in 3.74 seconds, which tied for 14th in the NFL. Charles Harris ranked 16th with a time of 3.77 seconds on his sack of Cousins.

Next Gen Stats clocked Goff's average time to throw at 2.51 seconds, which is notably faster than his 2021 average of 2.83 seconds. Cousins' average time to throw of 2.93 seconds against Detroit was longer than his season average (2.66 seconds).

Goff's difference could be a result of advanced game-planning, his own adjustment from feeling pressure or a combination of factors.

2. Passing comparison

Goff had opened his Lions career with a passer rating of 90 or higher in four consecutive games, but he was limited to a 64.3 on Sunday.

All but 31 of Goff's 203 passing yards were gained on throws that were 10 or fewer yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

He was 2-for-5 on passes from 10-20 yards beyond the line and 0-for-2 at 20 or more yards beyond the line.

The Vikings didn't take many deep shots, either, during the grit-fest between NFC North foes. Cousins was 1-for-2 on passes 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. The 37-yard gain — a completion to Justin Jefferson — occurred on Minnesota's third snap of the game and converted a third-and-6.

According to Next Gen Stats, the play had a completion probability of 27.3 percent. It ranked 13th on the list of least-likely completions in Week 5.

Cousins did the brunt of his damage (21-of-26 passing for 225 yards and a touchdown) on passes between the line of scrimmage and 20 yards beyond.

3. Mattison's ups and downs include 'remarkable rush'

Alexander Mattison's roller-coaster day included his second career receiving touchdown, on which he showed strength and determination after initial contact, and a fumble that almost lived in infamy.

According to Next Gen Stats, Minnesota's win probability was greater than 99 percent with 3:39 left in the game after a 2-yard run by Mattison (the Vikings led 16-6 at that time). After Detroit added a field goal, and Mattison fumbled on a third-and-7 run inside the 2-minute warning, the Vikings likelihood of winning tumbled to 82 percent.

It dipped all the way to 35 percent after Cousins hit Dede Westbrook for a 6-yard completion to the Minnesota 45-yard line. The Vikings used their final timeout before Cousins hit Adam Thielen for a gain of 19 to the Detroit 36.

When Minnesota lined up for a 54-yard field goal, its win probability was 43 percent, but Greg Joseph drilled the ball through the uprights on the final play.

Mattison's day also included a "remarkable rush." Next Gen Stats determines the greatest of those by looking at expected rushing yards on a play vs. actual.

The excess of 45 yards on the run was the fourth greatest above expectation in Week 5. 

According to Next Gen Stats, Mattison was expected to gain 3 on a run that resulted in a 48-yarder from the Minnesota 27 to the Detroit 25, but the Lions corralled a deflected pass for an interception two plays later.

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