Skip to main content

3 Takeaways from Lions' 29-27 Victory Over Vikings

Head coach Dan Campbell has earned his first victory coaching the Detroit Lions.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

It had been nearly 365 days since the Detroit Lions last tasted victory.

Detroit's last official victory was against the Chicago Bears, a 34-30 win with then interim head coach Darrell Bevell at the helm.

In that timespan, the organization has overhauled its entire front office and has hired a completely new coaching staff. 

With a full rebuild ahead, Detroit was able to put aside the ills of the 2021 season to earn a victory over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday afternoon at Ford Field. 

Despite the less-than-capacity crowd at Ford Field, the Lions finally were able to put together plays on both sides of the football to secure Dan Campbell his first victory as head man. 

Here are three takeaways from the Lions' 29-27 victory in Week 13.

Jared Goff found his mojo early against Vikings, faded in second half

All season, Goff and the Lions' offense have struggled to perform with any kind of consistency. In the first half of Sunday's tilt with the Vikings, Detroit's first-year signal-caller relied upon his tight ends to move the offense into the end zone.

Goff found his tight ends twice in the first half to cap off touchdown drives. 

T.J. Hockenson opened the scoring for Detroit with a 9-yard touchdown grab on the third offensive possession of the game. 

After the defense forced a turnover, Goff then found tight end Brock Wright on the very next drive for a 23-yard reception that extended Detroit's lead to 14-6.

Detroit was able to take a 17-6 lead on Riley Patterson's first ever field-goal attempt. 

Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds and Amon-Ra St. Brown were also utilized more often in the game plan than they had been in previous weeks. 

In the first half, Goff went 13-of-17 for 185 yards, with two touchdown passes. 

Unfortunately, the 27-year-old quarterback could not carry over any momentum into the second half of the game. 

Detroit opened the second half with consecutive three-and-outs, and never regained the momentum that was established in the first half.

A fourth-quarter interception gave the Vikings another opportunity to retake the lead midway through the quarter.

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff

Charles Harris takes advantage of Kirk Cousins' lack of mobility

Prior to the game, outside linebacker Charles Harris spoke about the possibility of the defense being better able to earn more sacks, as Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is not that much of a threat to leave the pocket.

Early in the second quarter, Harris recorded a strip-sack on the Vikings' Cousins. Julian Okwara earned his second takeaway on the season, when he scooped up the fumbled football to secure Detroit another offensive possession.

The extra offensive possession allowed Detroit to quickly march down the field for three additional points prior to halftime. 

Harris' two sacks in the first half were his fifth and sixth on the season, a career-high mark for the EDGE defender. 

Before the Lions' Week 11 game against the Cleveland Browns, Harris explained just how impactful pressuring and sacking the quarterback can be for a team's defense.

“I think the quarterback usually is a major factor in any game. That’s something we definitely are harping on, that’s something we are trying to improve and even just now, staying after practice, staying a few more minutes, working little details in terms of the pass rush, (to) make sure we have pass-rush lanes, pass-rush coverage all goes hand in hand,” Harris explained. 

Dan Campbell earns first victory as head coach of the Detroit Lions 

With a youthful roster, Campbell has remained steadfast and positive, understanding this season is mostly about identifying who will make up the core of this roster moving forward. 

Among the youngest teams in the league, Detroit has seen several young players earn significant playing time. 

“You’ve got to take the good and see the progress that’s going down," Campbell said earlier this week. "You’ve got to look at all of these young guys. For me, that’s what I do. I look at all of the youth that we’ve got that is really improving and getting better."

Against Minnesota, Detroit's defense was tested, but came up with the plays late when needed. 

After halftime, Cousins led the Vikings' offense into the end zone twice, but was unable to convert on both of the team's two-point conversion attempts.

With his first victory at the helm, Campbell and Co. will now turn their attention to the Denver Broncos, Detroit's Week 14 opponent. 

Despite a controversial call in the fourth quarter to go for it on fourth down, Campbell's offense marched down the field 75 yards for the game-winning touchdown. 

Goff lost a sack fumble, allowing Cousins to find Justin Jefferson for a 3-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. 

Goff, down 27-23, was able to find rookie wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown for the game-winning touchdown on the final play of the game. 

The home victory sends Detroit to Denver next weekend with a 1-10-1 record.