MINNEAPOLIS – It appeared Minnesota had all but won Sunday when they went up on Detroit 16-6 with under five minutes left to play.
Up to that point, Detroit had failed to even reach the Vikings' red zone, so 10 points seemed just about insurmountable.
But credit head coach Dan Campbell and these Lions for showing no quit. Detroit recorded a 40-yard field goal, a touchdown, and Campbell went for the win instead of the tie after running back D'Andre Swift scored Detroit's first touchdown of the game with just 37 seconds left to give the Lions a 17-16 lead.
But the Lions still couldn't escape heartbreak in the end.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Vikings' offense attacked Detroit's defense in the middle of the field in the final 30 seconds to set themselves up for a last-second, 54-yard field goal that kicker Greg Joseph converted for the 19-17 victory. The loss was eerily similar to the one Detroit suffered Week 3 against Baltimore. In fact, it was the same final score.
It's sad for the game to end the way it did, with Detroit's defense giving up a couple big catches, because that unit played well all game and gave them a chance to win the game.
After trading a pair of short field goals on their opening possessions, Detroit was looking for points on their second possession driving down to the Minnesota 23-yard line, but the drive was ended when Vikings edge rushers Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen met off the edge at Lions quarterback Jared Goff and forced the ball out of Goff's hands, which was recovered by Minnesota. It was Goff's sixth fumble of the season, the most in the NFL. Minnesota turned the fumble into a field goal.
The Vikings extended the lead to 13-3 late in the second quarter on a 15-yard pass from Cousins to running back Alexander Mattison, who broke four tackles on his way into the end zone.
Kicker Austin Seibert added a 52-yard field goal for the Lions in the final minute of the first half to trim Minnesota's halftime lead to 13-6.
Minnesota added a 55-yard field goal with under five minutes to play to push the lead to 10. It was the fifth time this season the Lions have trailed by double digits in the second half.
But Detroit fought back.
Seibert added a 40-yard field goal with two minutes and 30 seconds left in the game to get the Lions within a touchdown.
On the next Vikings possession, linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin stripped Mattison of the ball and recovered it at the Vikings' 20-yard line with two minutes left.
Swift punched it in from seven yards out with 37 seconds left, and Goff hit wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge for the two-point conversion to give the Lions a brief 17-16 lead.
QB comparison: It was an off day for Goff and the Lions' offense. Goff completed 21 of his 35 passes for 203 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. He finished with a passer rating of just 64.3, his lowest of the season through five games.
Cousins had a pretty efficient day through the air. He completed 25-of-34 passes for 275 yards with a touchdown and an interception for a 94.6 rating.
Key moment: Minnesota started their last possession down a point at their own 18-yard line with just 33 seconds left. Cousins' first pass was to an open Adam Thielen down the middle at the Minnesota 39. After a short pass to the Vikings' 45-yard line and a timeout with 22 seconds left, Cousins hit Thielen again across the middle to the Detroit 36-yard line. Cousins spiked it with three seconds left, and Joseph did the rest from there.
It's the second time this season Detroit's defense came up short in a key two-minute situation.
Injury report: Second-year wide receiver Quintez Cephus left the game with a shoulder injury in the second quarter and did not return. He was injured along the sideline being tackled after a 21-yard gain on a 3rd and 8 play. Cephus had three receptions for 38 yards before leaving the game.
Cornerback Corey Ballentine left the game with a hamstring injury in the second half and did not return. Fellow cornerback Jerry Jacobs was slow to get up after being involved in a tackle late in the fourth quarter and also did not return.
Next up: vs. Cincinnati