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FOUR DOWNS: Protection issues limit Lions in loss to Vikings


Detroit Lions center Graham Glasgow said after Sunday's loss to the Vikings he was embarrassed.

Left tackle Taylor Decker said that was a pretty good way to describe the collective feeling of Detroit's offensive line group after giving up 10 sacks and 17 quarterback hits in a 24-9 loss to Minnesota Sunday afternoon.

Rookie left guard Frank Ragnow said a performance like that is a hit to his pride.

It wasn't a good day for the Lions offensive line or their passing offense in any regard. The guys upfront took responsibility for the part they played in the 10 sacks after the game. Quarterback Matthew Stafford said he needed to get rid of the football faster. Lions head coach Matt Patricia said he and the offensive coaches have to coach it and prepare it better.

"Today was a bad day for us," Glasgow said. "Bad day for our team overall. You just have to give their guys credit."

The 10 sacks for the Vikings are a new franchise record. They're also the most sacks Stafford has endured in his 10-year career. Minnesota also added 10 tackles for loss and scored a defensive touchdown in the game in a dominating performance all around for them.

"A day like that," Stafford said. "It's a little bit on everyone."

The Vikings blitzed and stunted their way to Stafford, and when it was just beating the man in front of them one-on-one, they did that too. They also did a really good job of disguising coverage, especially on third down.

Detroit gave up 13 sacks in seven games coming into the contest. It's something they'll have to watch the tape on, and make the proper corrections because it won't get any easier for them next week against Chicago.


Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter got creative trying to replace wide receiver Golden Tate in the slot Sunday vs. Minnesota.

We saw receivers TJ Jones and Andy Jones play in the slot. TJ Jones caught a third down pass on Detroit's first scoring drive and finished with two catches for 13 yards.

We saw running back Theo Riddick play some in the slot as well, and run some of the quick screen passes Tate used to run. He caught seven balls for 36 yards in all.

"I'm just trying to do whatever I can when my number is called," Riddick said after the game. "If they want me to play a little slot, then I'm willing to do it."

Riddick said we'll have to see what happens when asked if that will be more of his role moving forward.

Even second-year wide receiver Kenny Golladay got into the action. Tate used to run a lot of jet sweeps for the offense. Golladay ran one for the Lions and gained eight yards on the play.

But overall, it was a tough day for the Lions' passing game. They threw for 199 yards total with no scores and were just 4-of-15 on third down, an area where Tate really excelled the first seven weeks of the season.

"We practiced all week and we're really just going out there and have to execute with the guys that are out there," head coach Matt Patricia said after the game. "We have really good football players on this team and we have enough. We are productive, those guys are good players. We just have to coach it and execute it better."


The Lions knew coming into Sunday's game they had to be nearly perfect in the red zone to score on a Vikings' defense that ranked fifth in the NFL by allowing a touchdown inside their own 20-yard line just 43 percent of the time.

It's an area where the Lions have struggled at times this season. Detroit's been scoring a touchdown in the red zone just 50 percent of the time coming in.

The first two times the Lions entered the red zone they were forced to kick two Matt Prater 35-yard field goals.

On those two drives, the Lions had a 1st and goal from the 4-yard line and a 1st and 10 from the 12-yard line. Three sacks and a Lions penalty were part of the reason why the Lions couldn't come away with touchdowns and instead were forced to settle for six points.

The Lions finished 0-for-3 in the red zone, failing to convert their last attempt at a score in the final two minutes of the game. Stafford was also sacked in that sequence.

"It's really a microcosm of the game," Stafford said Detroit's red zone issues Sunday. "We go in there and score points and score touchdowns there and the score at the end of the game is a whole lot different. Got to be better in a lot of areas."


With the Lions trailing 17-6 and needing a play, Stafford tried to do too much trying to pitch the ball to running back Kerryon Johnson after escaping the pocket.

The Lions were at their own 38-yard line and facing a 2nd and 14. Stafford eluded the rush to his right and made an errant pitch to Johnson, that bounced off Johnson's helmet, and was picked up by Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter and returned 32 yards for a touchdown.

The play essentially ended any comeback hopes for the Lions.

"Just trying to do too much," Stafford said of the play. "Hadn't really gotten anything going all day on offense. Snuck out of the pocket and saw him there. Really just (should have slid) and played the next play. I just tried to make too much happen."

It's not hard to blame Stafford for trying to make something happen at that point in the game. Detroit's longest play up to that point was an 18-yard reception to Marvin Jones Jr.

Johnson took the blame for the play after the game.

"I dropped it," he said. "Bounced right off my helmet. An NFL athlete is supposed to be able to catch that. He threw it, he trusted me and I let him down."

View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions Week 9 game against the Minnesota Vikings.

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