TIM AND MIKE: Week 9 observations

They do run, run: It’s an old rock tune, and the needle got stuck in a groove with the Lions’ play calling in the first half. On 13 first-down plays they ran eight times, and eight of the first 10. One run was an end around by wide receiver Kenny Golladay that gained eight yards. The other seven runs, divided between Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount, gained 22 yards – an average of 3.14 yards per carry, with a long run of seven yards by Blount. – Mike O’Hara

Long problems: The Lions gave up 128 yards on the ground to the Vikings on 23 carries (5.3 average), but one of those was a 70-yard run by Dalvin Cook in the second quarter that set up Minnesota’s second touchdown. The other 22 runs gained a total of 58 yards (2.6). It’s the big ones that still plague the Lions' defense. They’ve now given up a league-high five runs of 40-plus yards this season. – Tim Twentyman

Short stuff: The long runs that Johnson has broken are thrilling to watch, and there’s an expectation he might break another one every time he touches the ball. It hasn’t happened the last two weeks. His longest run two weeks ago against Seattle was seven yards, and his longest run against Minnesota was six yards. – Mike O’Hara

Big play Slay: Cornerback Darius Slay got his hands on his second interception of the year Sunday and returned it 21 yards into Vikings territory. The turnover eventually resulted in a field goal. Slay was one of the few bright spots for the Lions against the Vikings. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins had just a 43.8 passer rating when throwing on Slay, gaining a total of just 18 yards. – Tim Twentyman

Rough start: Second-year cornerback Teez Tabor played in just 14 snaps, but gave up four catches for 69 yards Sunday. Tabor spoke to reporters after the game, and said his performance wasn’t good enough. Kudos to him for taking questions and owning up to the performance. Over the last three games, teams have thrown at Tabor 14 times and completed 13 of those for 233 yards for an average of 17.9 per completion, per Pro Football Focus stats. – Tim Twentyman

Snacks to the max: Damon Harrison played the most snaps against the Vikings of any Lions defensive tackle, and he produced the most. Harrison played 33 of the 39 snaps. He tied linebacker Christian Jones for the team lead with six tackles and had one of the three tackles for loss. – Mike O’Hara

Special teams penalties: It’s been a problem all year for special teams, who have now been credited with 14 penalties this season. Only Pittsburgh (19) and Cleveland (15) have more penalties on special teams than the Lions. – Tim Twentyman

Looking ahead: The Bears' defense forced four turnovers against Buffalo Sunday and scored two touchdowns. Chicago ranks fifth in overall defense, fourth in scoring defense and third against the run. And there’s this tidbit from the Chicago Tribune: The Bears had recorded eight interceptions in each of the last three seasons, but this year they have 14 in eight games by 10 different players. The Lions will have to be a whole lot better on offense than they were against Minnesota if they hope to win at Soldier Field next week. – Tim Twentyman

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