Detroit 17 Minnesota 26
|Detroit 17||Minnesota 26|
|October 08, 2006||Metrodome-Attendance: 63,906 (64,035)||Time: 2:59|
|MIN||FG||4:23||Ryan Longwell 26 yard field goal attempt is good.||0||3|
|DET||TD||2:17||Jon Kitna rush up the middle for 8 yards for a touchdown.||6||3|
|DET||PAT||2:17||Jason Hanson extra point attempt is good.||7||3|
|DET||FG||0:33||Jason Hanson 53 yard field goal attempt is good.||10||3|
|DET||TD||5:11||Jon Kitna pass completion to the middle to Dan Campbell for 12 yards for a touchdown.||16||3|
|DET||PAT||5:11||Jason Hanson extra point attempt is good.||17||3|
|MIN||TD||14:14||Brad Johnson pass completion to the middle to Travis Taylor for 3 yards for a touchdown.||17||9|
|MIN||PAT||14:14||Ryan Longwell extra point attempt is good.||17||10|
|MIN||TD||13:12||Jon Kitna fumbles. Minnesota recovers, Ben Leber returns 0 yards for a touchdown.||17||16|
|MIN||13:12||Ryan Longwell extra point attempt is blocked.||17||16|
|MIN||FG||3:00||Ryan Longwell 20 yard field goal attempt is good.||17||19|
|MIN||TD||1:31||Jon Kitna pass to the middle intercepted by E.J. Henderson and returned 45 yards for a touchdown.||17||25|
|MIN||PAT||1:31||Ryan Longwell extra point attempt is good.||17||26|
|Team Stat Comparison|
|3rd down efficiency||3-12||5-13|
|4th down efficiency||1-2||0-0|
|Yards per pass||4.3||5.9|
|Yards per rush||1.5||4.5|
They weren’t the same old Lions. They could hit. They could catch. They couldn’t run, but they had a 17-3 lead over the Minnesota Vikings and were cruising to their first win under head coach Rod Marinelli.
That’s when the 2006 Lions took over. They stopped hitting, stopped catching, still couldn’t run, and collapsed under the siege of a stunning 23-point fourth quarter by the Vikings to lose, 26-17, at the Metrodome on Sunday afternoon.
It was vintage Lions. Too good to be true — and it wasn’t.
Their record sank to 0-5, and they are facing a harsh comparison in their next game. They play the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field on Sunday. Later in the day, their next-door-neighbor Tigers host the Oakland A’s at Comerica Park in the American League Championship Series — assuming neither team sweeps.
It is a sports doubleheader of contrasts — a Tigers team that has caught the city’s fancy, and a Lions team in store for another round of scorn.
They were beaten up on the field and on the scoreboard by the Vikings. Three Lions starters left the game with injuries and did not return — wide receiver Roy Williams, guard Damien Woody and defensive tackle Shaun Cody.
“We’re scrambling right now,” said quarterback Jon Kitna, forced to scramble away from the Vikings’ pass rush all game. “We’re a beat-up team.
“Nobody (cares). Times like this test your character, individually and as a football team.”
Minnesota scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter on turnovers by Kitna — a fumble recovery by linebacker Ben Leber, and linebacker Eugene Henderson’s interception return for the clinching touchdown.
Marinelli was stoic. He wasn’t looking for sympathy for himself or his players.
“That’s life,” he said. “I’m not going to feel sorry for myself or them.”
The Lions had the Vikings on the ropes with that 17-3 lead late in the third quarter. They weren’t overpowering, but they forced three turnovers and enough miscues by the Vikings to have the Metrodome crowd either groaning or booing the Vikings for much of the game.
They left cheering the Vikings, as the Lions lost their poise in the fourth quarter.
“At that point, we’ve got to make our plays,” Marinelli said.
The Vikings scored first, on Ryan Longwell’s 26-yard field goal in the first quarter.
After that, the Lions’ 17-point surge gave them their biggest lead of the season. Kitna’s 8-yard run up the middle in the second quarter caught the Vikings flat-footed and put the Lions ahead, 7-3. A 53-yard field goal by Jason Hanson with 33 seconds left in the half made it 10-3.
Kitna’s 12-yard pass to tight end Dan Campbell midway through the third quarter made it 17-3.
Even then, with the Lions well in front, there was a sense they were hanging on.
“The second half, we just came out flat and gave them the game,” said Eddie Drummond, who had another strong game on returns. “There were too many instances where the wind was taken out of us and we couldn’t pull back up.”
One was a roughing penalty against defensive tackle Shaun Rogers on the first play after Campbell’s touchdown. He hit Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson after he dumped off a pass for a 6-yard gain.
The extra 15 yards started Minnesota rolling. Johnson’s 3-yard pass to Travis Taylor on the second play of the fourth quarter cut the lead to 17-10.
This is how the Lions collapsed in the bitter end:
After Taylor’s touchdown, Drummond returned the kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back because of an illegal block by Donte Curry.
Two plays later, Kitna was sacked by Vikings defensive Pat Williams and fumbled. Leber recovered as he crossed the goal line. Jared DeVries broke through to block Ryan Longwell’s extra-point attempt, leaving the Lions with a 17-16 lead.
The Lions failed to gain first downs on their next two possessions. Longwell’s 20-yard field goal ended a 61-yard, nine-play drive and put the Vikings ahead, 19-17, with three minutes left.
The clincher was Minnesota’s second defensive touchdown. The Lions were at their 49 at the two-minute warning. After three straight incompletions, Kitna threw a desperate, wobbly pass under pressure to the left — straight to Henderson, who ran 49 -yards for the clinching touchdown.
Defense: --- B. The Defense that played the Seahawks finally showed up against the Vikings and gave up only 3 points through three quarters. They caused three Vikings turnovers including their interception of the year. Unfortunately, it was not enough given the Offense took over for the Defense in blowing yet another game for the honolulu blue and silver.
Special Teams: --- B. Eddie Drummond had some great returns including one that would have just about put the game away in the 4th. But, Donte Currey was called for an illegal block in the back. A few plays later the Vikings scored a touchdown. Jason Hanson kicked a 53 yard field goal, which caught me by surprise. The special teams also had a blocked extra point.
Coaching: --- C. Not the coaches fault with all the players that got injured and the talent they have to work with. Marinelli is doing a good job given his team has the worst record in the NFL.
Overall: --- D. The Lions are 0-5, but as crazy as it sounds, they were a few plays away from being 4-1. Chicago was the only game they got decimated, but that was against the best team in the NFL (that is very hard for me to say). Every week, the Lions find some way to melt down in the 4th quarter and lose a game. If they want to get their first victory of the year they have a great shot against the Buffalo Bills this Sunday. I cannot wait for Sunday to get here and it certainly is not because of the football game! At 4:00pm, I will make the three minute walk to Comerica Park and hopefully get the chance to see the Tigers keep their magical season alive. If the Fords had any brains, they would can Millen and hire the best possible GM out there. That was exactly what Mike Illitch did when he fired Randy Smith (Matt Millen's clone) and hired Dave Drombrowski. As I keep saying over and over - as long as Matt Millen is GM of the Lions, they will and always continue to be the laughing stock of the NFL.