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Stats That Stood Out: Vikings at Lions

The Vikings offense scored touchdowns of six of 11 possessions against the Lions in Sunday’s 42-30 victory in Detroit.

Kirk Cousins continued his hot streak, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to have three consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards and a passer rating of 130 or higher after totaling 337 yards, four touchdowns and his best passer rating in Purple (141.1).

He had strong protection from the offensive line and help from multiple players who stepped up after Adam Thielen left the game with a hamstring injury.

Dalvin Cook met one of his idols, Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, before escaping multiple tackles en route to 142 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.

The Vikings didn’t back down when things got a little dicey, and Eric Kendricks helped the Vikings seize momentum with a key pass breakup on a fourth-and-2 in the fourth quarter.

View the Vikings in "Big Head Mode" following the 42-30 victory over the Lions in Week 7 at Ford Field.

Here are three stats that stood out:

1. Proficient passing

Cousins and Lions QB Matthew Stafford had quite the duel. Instead of 10 paces, both quarterbacks did their most damage 0-10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

According to NFL.com’s Next Gen Stats, Cousins completed 16 of 18 passes (88.9 percent) for 135 yards and three scores for a passer rating of 137.5 when targeting a teammate at that route depth.

Stafford completed 19 of 26 passes (73.1 percent) for 202 yards and three touchdowns for a passer rating of 133.8 at that range.

Cousins, who wasn’t sacked, led the NFL in Week 7 in average time to throw (3.38 seconds per attempt); Stafford ranked 23rd (2.6 seconds per attempt).

Stafford led the league with an aggressiveness percentage of 24.4, meaning he was frequently throwing into tight coverage, a trend that Head Coach Mike Zimmer noted last Wednesday. Cousins’ percentage in the category was 11.8 (19th).

This is a definition of aggressiveness from Next Gen Stats:

Aggressiveness tracks the amount of passing attempts a quarterback makes that are into tight coverage, where there is a defender within one yard or less of the receiver at the time of completion or incompletion. AGG is shown as a % of attempts into tight windows over all passing attempts.

Stafford’s 47-yard pass to Marvin Hall ranked fourth in improbable completion percentage (21.6), and his 10-yard touchdown to Marvin Jones, Jr., ranked 20th (30.9). Cousins’ 27-yarder to Stefon Diggs ranked 12th (28.1).

The Vikings were able to record six pass breakups on the day, but the Lions did not have one.

2. The long and short of it

Cousins took advantage of Detroit selling out to stuff the run by targeting Diggs against 1-on-1 coverage late in the fourth quarter.

The gain in the box score was 66 yards, but Diggs ran a total of 102.3 yards on the play, which ranked second in the NFL behind former teammate Cordarrelle Patterson’s kickoff return for a touchdown (130.5).

The deep heave resulted in the longest tackle made by a defender as Tavon Wilson traversed 90.6 yards before catching Diggs from behind. Diggs forced Justin Coleman to run 47.9 yards to make a tackle (10th) on a 14-yard reception, and Rashaan Melvin ran 45.6 yards (18th) in order to track down Irv Smith, Jr., on a 28-yard reception.

Diggs topped out at 21.19 miles per hour on the play, which was the second-fastest speed by a ball carrier. He was joined on the list by Dalvin Cook (20.15 mph on a 12-yard run) at No. 13, Adam Thielen (19.96 mph on his 25-yard touchdown catch) at No. 16 and Hall (19.94 mph on his 47-yard reception) at No. 17.

Mike Hughes also was involved on the longest plays, but didn’t have much to show for his effort. He ran 69.3 yards on a punt return trying to find daylight before being tackled for a net return of zero.

View postgame celebration images from Sunday as the Vikings beat the Lions by a 42-30 score.

3. Red zone & goal-to-go

Both offenses were perfect in the red zone with goal-to-go situations.

Minnesota was 5-for-5 once moving the football inside the Detroit 20-yard line and scored touchdowns on all four times it earned a goal-to-go.

Detroit also performed well, going 4-for-4 inside the Minnesota 20-yard line and 2-for-2 after it earned a goal-to-go.

That efficiency led to the third-most points between the teams in 116 total meetings. The record of 82 was set in 1995, and the teams combined for 74 points in 2002.

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