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Lions 26 - Vikings 23

For the first time in 31 years, the Detroit Lions have started a season 3-0 and they did it by filling their fans with anguish, anxiety and finally joy.

At half time the Lions were losing 20-0 in the dome where they haven't won in about three eternities. It might have been four, I cannot recall to be sure. I don't think Old man Ford remembers.

The Vikings were absolutely dominating the Lions from the first kick-off. Stafford had no time to let plays develop and Best had no room to run. The Lions offensive line came in lethargic and became almost wimpish in their play. Quite frankly, it was plain ugly.

Then something miraculous happened. I don't know what that miracle was, but it gave the Lions life. It wasn't raining, so it couldn't have been some old man with an umbrella in the stands. It was just that the Lions finally started moving the ball. In the first half, the Lions offense mustard something like 40 total yards. In the second half they had over 300.

The Lions turned a 20-0 deficit at half time to a 23-20 lead in the 4th quarter. With just over a minute left in the game, the Vikings tied it up.

So the Lions had 1:11 on the clock and all three of their timeouts. All they needed to do was move the ball close enough for a Jason Hanson field goal, and he had already hit one from 50 out earlier in the game. No problem right? Wrong!

On 1st and 10 at their own 20 yard line, with the Minnesota crowds jarring the stadium, Backus flinched for a false start. On 1st and 15, Backus flinched again. Finally on 1st and 20, Backus did not flinch and the ball was snapped. Jared Allen blew past Backus like he was a statue and dropped Stafford hard at the 3 yard line. It wasn't like Stafford wasn't used to this by now. It was after all the fifth time he was sacked. After two fruitless run plays the Lions punted, giving the Vikings one more chance to win the game.

The Lions defense held again and forced overtime and it was then that the most exciting play of the game happened. After a 2 yard run by Best and a 17 yard pass to Titus Young, the Lions had the ball at their own 46 yard line. It was on 2nd and 10 and a Viking's Defensive Linemen busted through, falling over the offensive linemen he pancaked. Stafford was immediately back-peddling to avoid the rush and in his backwards motion he let the ball fly down the left sideline.

Calvin Johnson ran hard along the sideline, covered well, then the corner back stumbled and fell and Calvin, while stumbling over the fallen corner back, stretched out his arms and caught the ball as it fell over his right shoulder. It was a 40 yard reception and put the Detroit Lions well within Jason Hanson's range. A 32 yard field goal later, the Lions had made one of the greatest comebacks I remember, broke their win-less streak in the Mall of America Football Stadium and started the season 3-0.

It was a game lined with emotions and ended with the best of them. Joy! Happy Lions Day Everyone!

Side note:
There will be the usual Backus haters who will talk about how he almost lost the game for the Lions. That the Lions need to get rid of him. The fact is however, that Jared Allen is one of the best defensive ends in the game and was playing with a desire to control the game. Once it was evident that Allen was on his game, the Lions should have had someone over on that side to help out. They left Backus one on one with him and paid the price. If Backus continues to give up sacks in weeks to come, then it is time to replace him. One bad game against the best in the NFL? Let it slide. By the way, the first sack Backus gave up was more on Pettigrew than on Backus. Pettigrew was to Backus's left and Allen was lined up outside of him. Pettigrew never even made a move to stop Allen, nor did he move to run out for a pass. He simply stood there lost and Backus had to move around him to try to reach Allen. I would say Backus deserves credit for even getting a piece of Allen under the circumstances.

1 comment:

  1. The Lions grew up a lot in this game. Never gave up great win!! What can you say about the Vikings sad.