Lions-Vikings Burning Questions: Too many turnovers, breakdowns on defense and an injury to Matthew Stafford made for a losing day all the way around in the Detroit Lions' 34-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Question: Did the Lions beat themselves?
Answer: No. That's the easy way out in explaining a lopsided loss.
Take nothing away from the Minnesota Vikings for the way they dominated the game. They arrived ready to play. They scored touchdowns on their first two possessions to take a 13-0 lead and thwarted every challenge by the Lions the rest of the way.
The Lions had their moments, mostly on special teams where they blocked two punts, but it was far too little and far too late.
The Vikings were the far better team, and it wasn't close.
Question: Stafford went out and did not return after taking a hard hit early in the fourth quarter. Is that cause for concern? And how did he play Sunday after not practicing all week with the team?
Answer: There is always cause for concern when the quarterback goes out and does not return – especially one who has been as tough and durable as Stafford has been throughout his career.
However, when Stafford spoke to the media after the game he said he had cleared the concussion protocol.
"I feel OK," he said. "Just held the ball too long (before the hit). The doctors (who examined Stafford) did their job."
Question: But how did he play, after not practicing all week?
Answer: His first pass of the game was incomplete. After that he completed 16 straight. That was his bright spot for the game.
He had two costly interceptions on consecutive possessions in the third quarter. The Lions were driving for potential scores on both occasions. Stafford said he made a bad decision on the first interception and a bad throw on the second.
The bottom line: It was a costly combination.
Question: What was the most telling statistic?
Answer: It was how the Vikings dominated the line of scrimmage to gain 275 yards on the ground. It was the most allowed by the Lions this season. Dalvin Cook led the way for the Vikings with 206 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns.
Question: Couldn't the Lions have made more of a game of it if they'd converted some opportunities?
Answer: Yes, but there should be no credit for failing to take advantage of situations. Again, that is the easy way out. The Lions rolled up 421 yards on offense, more than enough to make it a closer game.
But they gave up 487 --- more than enough to lose it.