5 Numbers That Tell the Story Of the Lions-Vikings Game

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu (USA TODAY Sports)

The Detroit Lions went into US Bank stadium looking to get their first win in the Dan Campbell era. In the battle of the bottom two teams in the NFC North, the Lions kept it close until the end.

Although many casual NFL fans were expecting the Minnesota Vikings to dispatch Detroit with ease, Campbell’s squad hung tight the entire game. The Lions capitalized on a late fumble by Vikings running back Alexander Mattison and pulled off a gutsy two-point conversion to take a 17-16 lead. However, the Vikings were able to march the ball down the field with 33 seconds left and win the game on a 54-yard field goal.

Here are five numbers to recap the Lions’ heartbreaking loss in Minneapolis.


Penei Sewell had a rough day, giving up four hurries. The first-round pick faced off against former Lion Everson Griffen for the majority of Sunday.

On the second drive of the game, on first-and-10 at the Vikings’ 23, Griffen beat Sewell with a swim move and sacked Jared Goff, pushing the Lions back to the 31. On the next play, Griffen hit Sewell with a spin move, pushed past the former Oregon tackle, and stripped the ball out of Goff’s hands.

While some growing pains for young players in the NFL are expected, Sewell showed that despite all of the praise he has received he still needs to improve his game to fit in at the pro level.


One rookie who had a good performance was Amon-Ra St.Brown, who recorded five first downs. St. Brown hauled in seven grabs for 65 yards through the course of the game, finishing with the most catches, yards, and tackles out of any of Detroit’s pass catchers.

The Lions have no real long-term plans at pass catcher outside of tight end T.J. Hockenson, but St. Brown has shown good progression getting increased targets and more playing time through the course of the season. St. Brown has also displayed prowess at getting yards after the catch, finishing with 51 yards after the grab against Minnesota.

St. Brown’s emergence serves as a silver lining to the 0-5 start of the season. It should be interesting to see how he progresses as the season goes on.


Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye had a rough day in pass coverage on Sunday. He was targeted six times and allowed five catches for 96 yards. Jeff Okudah is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, so the Lions’ secondary needed someone to step up and take command of the cornerback positions. Oruwariye drew the difficult task of being the primary defender guarding Justin Jefferson, and he had difficulty in coverage.

One of the key plays came on a third-and-six during the first drive. Jefferson was able to go up high for a lofted pass from Cousins and make a contested grab.

While the Lions were able to keep it close because of Minnesota’s timid play-calling, a more aggressive team will attack the secondary more frequently.


The Lions haven’t started 0-5 since 2015. Although they haven’t made the playoffs since 2016, Detroit has not been this bad in a while. While everyone knew that the rebuilding process in the post-Matthew Stafford era would take time, nobody expected to be winless over a month into the season.

What might be even more impressive is just how close they have come to victory. They were able to stay within striking distance of the San Francisco 49ers and lost by heart-wrenching, last-second field goals to both the Vikings and the Baltimore Ravens.

The Lions are better than most people would think. With the foundation of what could be a good team down the road, a coach who is willing to put everything on the line for his players, and a war chest of picks, Detroit’s future is bright.


To put into context just how unlucky the Lions have been this season, they are the first team ever to lose twice in one season on a 50-plus-yard field goal with no time left on the clock. Both the Ravens and the Vikings were able to string together last-second kicks after seemingly miraculous drives.

Both Justin Tucker and Greg Joseph were able to hit career-long kicks against the Lions to win the game 19-17. While the defense faltered during that final drive, this team has been on the other end of some horrible luck.

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