Minnesota has to turn the page quickly to its Thursday Night Football game against Pittsburgh, but a brutal loss to the previously winless Lions still stings.
Even in bad games, though, there's usually a positive to take away. NFL.com's Chase Goodbread pointed out that silver lining for the Vikings: Justin Jefferson was "uncoverable" at Ford Field. Goodbread wrote:
There's been no sophomore slump for the second-year star, and he tormented the Detroit secondary mercilessly on Sunday. Minnesota WR Adam Thielen was knocked out of the game with an injury early in the first quarter, and from that point on, double-teaming Jefferson would've been a good idea for the Lions. Instead, [Kirk] Cousins went on to derive more than half his passing yards from Jefferson. He created all kinds of separation in getting open both short and deep, finishing with 11 catches on 14 targets for 182 yards. In a late, clutch moment, he beat single coverage for a touchdown that would've been the game-winner had it not been for [Jared] Goff's heroics.
Jefferson emphasized after the game, though, that stats don't mean much without the win.
"As long as we don't get the W, it doesn't matter what type of game I have. Doesn't matter if I have a career game, record-setting game, it doesn't matter," Jefferson said. "If we don't come out with the W, it's pointless."
Vikings earn 'C' grade for 'embarrassing' loss to Lions
It's hard for pundits to give Minnesota much praise for its outing at Detroit Sunday afternoon.
The Vikings knew entering the game the Lions were better than their 0-10-1 record, and I don't think the Vikings overlooked their opponent, per se, but they certainly were outplayed in the NFC North matchup.
View game action photos between the Vikings and Lions during the Week 13 matchup at Ford Field.
CBS Sports' John Breech handed out his weekly grades and gave Minnesota a "C" for its performance, giving credit only for the team's comeback efforts in the second half. Breech wrote:
In one of the most embarrassing losses by any NFL team this year, the Vikings imploded in the first half, then fought back to take the lead late in the fourth quarter before letting the Lions drive straight down the field to score a game-winning touchdown with no time left. The Vikings continue to be one of the most baffling teams in the NFL. One week, they'll beat the Packers and then in another week, they'll lose to the Lions. The loss overshadowed a huge game from Justin Jefferson, who caught 11 passes for 182 yards and a TD.
Meanwhile, the Steelers – whom the Vikings will host at U.S. Bank Stadium Thursday – bounced back with a win over Baltimore after suffering back-to-back losses to the Chargers and Bengals.
Bryan DeArdo gave Pittsburgh an "A" for its 20-19 defeat of Baltimore.
Given what transpired in Cincinnati last week (the Bengals won by 31), the Steelers edging the Ravens by a point deserves a high grade. Ben Roethlisberger engineered three fourth-quarter scoring drives that included two touchdown passes to Diontae Johnson. Former Raven Chris Wormley tallied 2.5 of Pittsburgh's seven sacks of Lamar Jackson, who also got picked off by Minkah Fitzpatrick on Baltimore's opening drive. This was a win the Steelers desperately needed, and they got it in a thrilling fashion, stopping the Ravens 2-point conversion attempt at the end that decided the game.