View images from the week six matchup at TCF Bank Stadium between the Vikings and Lions.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota's defense withstood several drives by Detroit, but the spark plugs of the Vikings offense misfired Sunday in a 17-3 loss at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Vikings (2-4, 0-2 NFC North) recovered from allowing a touchdown on the opening possession of the game for several possessions, but eventually yielded a long touchdown drive that spanned chunks of the third and fourth quarters to seal the game.
Joique Bell scored on a 1-yard dive that gave the Lions a 17-point lead with 11:46 left in the game. The possession included two first downs awarded because of penalties, and George Winn's four-yard gain on fourth-and-1 from the Minnesota 10. The Lions (4-2, 2-0) gained 15 yards on a screen pass from Matthew Stafford to Bell on third-and-16 on the previous play.
Vikings rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater returned at quarterback to make his second NFL start, but was under duress for much of the game. Bridgewater was sacked eight times and had three interceptions—the second and third by Detroit LB Tahir Whitehead after deflections.
Detroit efficiently moved the ball 80 yards on seven plays in 3:54 to open the game. Stafford opened with a completion to rookie tight end Eric Ebron for a gain of 12. Bell gained 10 yards on second-and-9 two plays later, and Stafford hit Golden Tate for a gain of 7 to move the ball to mid. The Lions then did the brunt of their damage with a 41-yard gain by Theo Riddick on a screen pass from Stafford. Riddick caught a 9-yard TD from Stafford two plays later.
The Vikings moved the ball effectively on their opening drive with runs by rookie Jerick McKinnon, who made his first NFL start. McKinnon had a pair of 9-yard runs and tossed the ball to receiver Jarius Wright on a reverse that gained 21 yards and moved the ball to the Detroit 15. The Lions, however, stopped the drive when Glover Quin intercepted Bridgewater in the end zone on the following play and returned the ball 20 yards to the Detroit 18. It was the first interception of Bridgewater's career.
Minnesota's defense responded well after Detroit's initial possession. The Vikings limited the Lions to 92 net yards the rest of the first half. Everson Griffen, Tom Johnson and Gerald Hodges converged on Stafford after a short gain to force a 50-yard field goal attempt by Matt Prater, who is the third kicker for the Lions this season. Prater's attempt was wide left, but he got another opportunity just before halftime and connected on a 52-yard kick.
The field goal gave the Lions a 10-0 lead at the break and was set up by Whitehead's first interception at the Detroit 49. Whitehead corralled the ball after it bounced off Matt Asiata's hands.
NOTES: Vikings LB Jasper Brinkley recorded his first career sack. The six-year veteran dropped Stafford for a loss of 10 on the first play of a possession that started at the Detroit 42, and Minnesota's defense forced a three-and-punt with help from a superb diving tackle of Riddick by rookie Anthony Barr.
The Vikings were without starters Chad Greenway and Kyle Rudolph, and the Lions were without starters Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush.