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TIM AND MIKE: Week 9 observations

Surprise stats: Two categories the Lions dominated were first downs and plays run. They had 30 first downs to 22 for the Vikings and a 75-55 advantage in plays run. Obviously, that did not translate into points – as the 34-20 win for the Vikings showed. The Vikings simply were far more efficient than the Lions. – Mike O'Hara

Snap counts: Looking at the snap counts for Detroit on defense, seven of the eight players who played the most Sunday weren't with the team last season. The Lions revamped their defense this offseason, but it hasn't translated to the field halfway through the season. Sunday marked the second time this season Detroit's allowed at least 250 rushing yards in a game. Pro Football Focus grades that unit 28th in football after eight weeks. New personnel hasn't led to better results so far. – Tim Twentyman

QB comparison: Matthew Stafford was on pace for a big season last year when he went out for the season with a back injury after eight games. He had passed for 2,499 yards, 19 TDs and only five interceptions. After eight games this year, he has 2,127 yards, 14 TDs and seven interceptions. – Mike O'Hara

NFC North woes: Detroit continues to struggle to win games within its own division. Since the start of the 2018 season, the Lions are just 2-13 against the Packers, Vikings and Bears, with those two wins coming against the Packers in a season sweep in 2018. – Tim Twentyman

Stretching out: One of the most disappointing exchanges in the game for the Lions was at the end of the first half. A 15-yard TD pass to Marvin Jones Jr. cut Minnesota's lead to 13-10 with 1:19 left in the half. The Lions were back in the game, but not for long. The Vikings drove 87 yards on only six plays. Former Lion Ameer Abdullah's 22-yard TD catch with 15 seconds left in the half boosted the Vikings' lead to 20-10. – Mike O'Hara

Welcome back: It wasn't all bad for the Lions' defense Sunday. Veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant returned to the lineup after missing five games this season due to a hamstring injury. Trufant slotted back into the starting lineup in Minnesota, and finished with six tackles, a sack and a pass breakup. He allowed just one catch in his coverage for eight yards all game. He was one of the few bright spots for the Lions on that side of the ball. – Tim Twentyman

Condensed passing game: Minnesota's defense did a good job taking away the deep part of the field Sunday, which is a strategy we've seen a lot lately from Lions opponents. Don't give up the deep play, make the Lions drive the football. Stafford attempted one pass Sunday that traveled more than 20 yards in the air, per PFF statistics. It was the opening deep shot to Marvin Hall down the left sideline that was a little under-thrown and fell incomplete.

Stafford attempted only five passes the rest of the game that went more than 10 yards in the air. He completed three and the other two were interceptions. Everything else (all of his other 26 pass attempts) were under 10 yards in the air. – Tim Twentyman

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