MINNEAPOLIS –Turnovers most of the time are the determining factor between a win and a loss in the NFL.
It was a bit of an anomaly last week that the Lions won the turnover battle 3-0, but lost the game. This week, that statistic corrected itself.
The Lions got two crucial turnovers on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter that they turned into 11 points, and iced the game with their third forced fumble and recovery in the final two minutes to secure a 14-7 victory. The win improves the Lions to 3-1 on the year.
Matt Prater chipped into the Vikings' 7-3 halftime lead with a 37-yard field goal after the first turnover, a fumble by Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon from the Wildcat formation.
Ameer Abdullah scored from three yards out following Minnesota's second turnover, a fumble by Dalvin Cook forced by Lions safety Tavon Wilson and recovered by defensive end Anthony Zettel. TJ Jones added a two-point conversion.
Glover Quin knocked the ball loose from Vikings receiver Adam Thielen in the final minutes, and it was recovered by Tahir Whitehead. That led to a few Matthew Stafford kneel-downs. Game over.
Detroit's defense was terrific all game long. Minnesota's possession chart looked like this: Punt, punt, punt, touchdown, fumble, fumble, punt, missed field goal, punt, turnover on downs and fumble. The Vikings came into the game second in the NFL on offense, averaging more than 400 yards per game. They had just 284 total yards Sunday, and were 3-of-10 on third down.
QB Comparison: Neither quarterback lit up the stat sheet.
Stafford completed 19 of 31 passes for 209 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions for a passer rating of 81.2.
Case Keenum was 16-of-30 passing for 219 yards, also with no touchdowns or interceptions for a 76.9 rating.
Sack attack: Stafford could be a little sore Monday morning.
The Vikings have one of the more talented defensive fronts in the NFL, and they were in Stafford's face all game long.
Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter recorded two sacks. Defensive tackle Linval Joseph, defensive end Everson Griffen and linebacker Eric Kendricks also got in on the action with one each.
Minnesota also recorded a team sack.
In all, Stafford was hit eight times in the contest.
Career highs for Abdullah: The Vikings entered Sunday's game third in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing opponents just 62.7 yards per contest through their first three games.
Detroit had struggled to find any real consistency with their run game all season long.
That didn't seem like a good recipe for success, but give Lions running back Ameer Abdullah credit for having a career game Sunday before leaving early in the fourth quarter with an injury. He finished with career highs in attempts (20) and yards (94), and scored Detroit's lone offensive touchdown of the game (3 yards) in the third quarter.
Making an impact: Detroit second-year defensive end Anthony Zettel had himself a game. He recorded two sacks (now has four on the year). He also recorded four quarterback hits and recovered a fumble.
Injury report: Already thin at linebacker with Jarrad Davis (concussion/neck) inactive, the Lions lost linebacker Paul Worrilow (knee) on the game's first play. It forced Nick Bellore and rookie Jalen Reeves-Maybin into bigger roles. Both held up pretty well.
Abdullah appeared to injure an ankle early in the fourth quarter and didn't return.