The Detroit Lions were dead set this week on making sure the only celebration at Ford Field was their own.
The Lions played inspired football in all three phases Sunday and thwarted Minnesota's chance to clinch the NFC North title today by defeating the Vikings 34-23 to improve to 6-7 on the year and keep their own playoff hopes alive in the NFC. It's Detroit's fifth win in their last six games.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes and the Lions' defense did enough to preserve the win. Detroit's defense held the Vikings to just 22 rushing yards in the contest.
Detroit has now scored 25-plus points in five straight games for the first time since 1954 which ties the single-season franchise record.
Rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams' first NFL reception was a 41-yard touchdown from Goff to kick off the scoring and give the Lions a 7-0 lead. All 15 of Williams' touchdowns at Alabama last season were for 30-plus yards (four from 70-plus).
The Vikings responded with a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped off with a 1-yard Dalvin Cook touchdown run to tie the score at 7-7. The drive was aided by three defensive penalties on the Lions – holding (safety Kerby Joseph), unnecessary roughness (cornerback Jeff Okudah) and pass interference in the end zone (Okudah).
It took just one play on Detroit's fifth possession of the game to retake the lead on a Goff to wide receiver DJ Chark 48-yard touchdown down the left sideline. The drive was set up by a 35-yard Kalif Raymond punt return to the Vikings' 48-yard line.
Detroit took a 21-7 lead in the third quarter on Goff's third touchdown pass of the game, a 5-yard strike to wide receiver Josh Reynolds. It was Goff's 20th touchdown pass at Ford Field this season, tied for the most a Lion has had at home in a season. Goff now has seven multi-touchdown games this season.
Minnesota cut the lead to 21-13 on a 23-yard touchdown from quarterback Kirk Cousins to wide receiver Adam Thielen on a 4th and 4 play but failed to convert a two-point try following the score.
Detroit increased their lead to 28-13 early in the fourth quarter with a 15-yard Justin Jackson touchdown run.
After trading field goals, Minnesota cut the lead to 31-23 on a Cousins to wide receiver K.J. Osborn touchdown with two minutes and 50 seconds left.
The Lions ended the game by recovering the onside kick (linebacker Josh Woods) and converting a first down on a 3rd and 7 on a pass from Goff to tackle Penei Sewell. Badgley put it out of reach with a 48-yard field goal with 17 seconds left.
QB comparison: Goff continues his impressive play.
He completed 27 of his 39 passes for 330 yards with those three touchdowns and no turnovers for a 120.7 passer rating. Goff has totaled 300-plus yards and two-plus touchdowns in consecutive weeks.
Cousins was also good for the Vikings, completing 31-of-41 passes for 426 yards and two touchdowns and no turnovers for a 124.6 rating.
Key moment: With just over one minute left in the first half and the Vikings trailing 14-7, Minnesota was looking to tie the game with a first and goal at the Lions' 3-yard line.
Detroit's defense came up with a huge turnover to preserve their lead. Defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs burst through the line of scrimmage and hit Cook four yards deep in the backfield at the 7-yard line, jarring the football loose. Joseph was there to scoop it up at the 16-yard line.
It was a huge play for the Lions' defense because the Vikings had a chance to double up as they received the second-half kickoff. Instead, Minnesota turned it over and then went three and out on their first possession of the second half.
Injury report: No major injuries to report
Up next: at New York Jets (7-6)