Lions win opener over Vikings, 34-24

Posted Sep 8, 2013

The Lions showed something Sunday they showed little of last year – resiliency –in an eventual 34-24 win

It was about the worst start Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz could have hoped for Sunday in the season opener.

--The Lions offense moved briskly and steadfast down the field on their opening drive before stalling at the Vikings 13–yard line.

--Rookie punter Sam Martin botched the snap on the ensuing David Akers field goal try and the Lions got nothing out of the drive.

--To top it all off, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson took his opening handoff 78 yards for a touchdown on the very next play.

In a matter of seconds, the wind was taken out of Ford Field.

But the Lions showed something Sunday they showed little of last year – resiliency –in an eventual 34-24 win.

"The team stuck together and stuck with the plan," Schwartz said. "We were resilient, we played hard, we played physical and we went out and beat a playoff team at home in the opener."

Joique BellRB Joique Bell (Photo: G.Smith/Detroit Lions)

A Joique Bell 2-yard touchdown run in the final seconds of the first half got the Lions to within 14-13 at the half and that play seemed to spearhead a Lions resurgence.

After a defensive stand to open the second half, the Lions scored on their first possession of the second half to take their first lead at 20-14 and never gave it back.

The Lions offense got a number of terrific performances on the day, none better than running back Reggie Bush, who finished with 101 receiving yards and 90 rushing yards.

"It’s definitely what we talked about," Bush said. "We just talked about getting in space and constantly being is situations where I’m mismatched on a linebacker or safety or cornerback. Somebody in man coverage.

"I think you saw a little bit of what’s to come in the future."

He nearly became just the second running back in Lions history to have at least 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in a game (Billy Sims in 1982, 119 rushing and 103 receiving vs. Rams)

Bush’s biggest play of the game was a 77-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford that gave the Lions a 27-17 lead in the third quarter.

Bush showed Sunday that he was made to play in Scott Linehan’s offense with his skill set as an elusive runner and pass catcher.

Stafford finished 28-of-43 passing for 357 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His quarterback rating was 96.8 and his 357 yards was the second most on an opening day (Bobby Layne had 364 yards against Pittsburgh in 1953) in Lions history.

The Lions defense forced three interceptions and a fumble and scored 14 points off of them.

Bell also had himself a game.  He rushed for two touchdowns for the first time in his career and caught five passes for 67 yards.

Combined, the running back combo of Bush and Bell accounted for 283 of the Lions total 472 yards.

Besides that first run by Peterson, the Lions defense kept him in check to the tune of just 15 yards on his next 17 carries.

"We didn’t play that first one well," Schwartz said. "But after that I was proud of the way we played him."

For the Lions, it’s their first win the NFC North since 2011 and guarantees them first place heading into next week’s matchup in Arizona.