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NOTEBOOK: Stafford has tough outing vs. Vikings

Quarterback Matthew Stafford wasn't as sharp as we normally see him in Detroit's 30-23 loss to Minnesota.

The final stats aren't terrible for Stafford. He finished 20-of-35 passing for 250 yards with two touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 86.6.

He suffered an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter he had to battle through, and was limping considerably after the game, but Stafford just missed some throws he normally makes even early on before the injury.

For whatever reason – and that's a really good defense they have in Minnesota – Stafford just wasn't as sharp as we've seen him at other times this season, which is something he even admitted after the game.

"I just missed them," Stafford said of some of his throws. "It's frustrating."

A little behind here or a little high there made the difference between three points and seven points a couple times.

Maybe the most glaring miss was the one right before the interception that ended the game. Stafford missed Golden Tate, who had a step on his defender deep down the middle, on 3rd and 7. A good throw there and who knows, Tate might score on the play.

It's a throw Stafford makes eight or nine times out of 10 times.

"There were a couple throughout the day where we ended up getting threes (points) that could've been sevens," Stafford said. "And if they're sevens we're sitting at a better place at the end of the game."

As for the ankle injury, Stafford said he had to battle through it in the fourth quarter, but there was never a chance he wasn't coming back into the game. He suffered the injury when he got rolled up on right after he released a 43-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones Jr. with 14:16 left in the game.

When asked after the game how he was feeling physically, Stafford said: "Not 100 percent. But ticker's still ticking, so we'll be alright."


The Lions lost starting center Travis Swanson and starting strong safety Tavon Wilson to injury in the second half vs. Minnesota. Neither player returned to the game.

Swanson injured his knee and went right from the field to the locker room. The Lions were forced to move Graham Glasgow to center and bring Corey Robinson in at left guard.

Wilson injured a shoulder making a play on a deep ball in the third quarter. He's dealt with a shoulder issue all season. Miles Killebrew played the rest of the game at strong safety.

Caldwell gave no update on either player after the game. The Lions have 10 days until their next game in Baltimore Dec. 3.


There was a key 3rd and 6 conversion for the Vikings with 5:01 left in the game at their 47-yard line that kept a drive moving and allowed them to extend their lead to 30-23 a couple minutes later.

Case Keenum found Stefon Diggs on a short pass, and Diggs was able to extend for the first down right at the marker. The refs spotted the ball and measured for a first down, and Diggs got it by the nose of the football.

The Ford Field video board showed a replay that tried to make a case for Diggs having a knee down before he stretched past the sticks, but the play happened right in front of Caldwell, and he said afterward he didn't entertain challenging the play.

"Yeah, I was standing right there," Caldwell said. "We would've challenged it if we thought it was short. I mean, yeah, he wasn't short. His reach was there and he was good from my angle at least."


The Lions claimed veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney off waivers Wednesday, but the turnaround to Thursday was too short, so Freeney was inactive vs. Minnesota.

Detroit got after Keenum pretty good. They sacked him twice and recorded nine hits on him, but Caldwell does expect Freeney to make an impact in Baltimore next Sunday.

"If he played it'd probably be the shortest turn-around that anybody has ever had," Caldwell said. "He'll be ready next week.

"Well, the thing you know he's been able to do, he's always been consistent. He's been able to pressure the quarterback, even this year he's been able to do so. He's one of those guys. He's unusual because he's taken great care of his body. He's obviously got some gas in the tank. We're looking forward to getting him out there."

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