Vikings vs Lions: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
The Vikings did what they needed to do, and what everyone expected them to do. They beat a Matthew Stafford-less Detroit Lions team 20 - 7 at US Bank Stadium.
Yes, it was a boring game. But I can handle boring as long as it comes with a win. I can handle boring a week after a "exciting" Minnesota/Seattle game which resulted in a loss. I can handle boring with the playoffs on the line and a possible division title on the horizon. Yep...I can handle boring.
So here's the boring...The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.
The Defense: Mike Zimmer unleashed the pressure immediately, blitzing on the first play of the game with Harrison Smith deflecting the pass. Two downs later, Danielle Hunter got his first of three sacks on the day. The Lions punted seven times in the game and the Vikings defense finished with five sacks, eight QB hits, eight tackles for a loss and two interceptions. A garbage time touchdown led to the only Detroit score of the game.
Stephon Diggs: Diggs was really the only significant thing that happened on offense. He had that catch on a high throw from Cousins, the Cris Carter type sideline catch and the 40+ yard downfield reception. The only thing he didn't do is score a touchdown. By the way, Diggs as 12 catches for 30+ yards this season. That leads the NFL.
C.J. Ham: He didn't show up big on the box score. But if you were paying attention, he did make an impact. He's the extra lineman for Dalvin Cook, making big blocks and occasionally the big yardage play. And that dude can hurdle.
Second Half Offense: The Vikings didn't anything in the second half. They had a 17-0 lead going into the half and only scored 3 points the rest of the game. This game should have been a 20+ point blowout. But they seemed to give just enough effort to win the game. Maybe they didn't want to wear themselves out or reveal too much for future opponents but they pretty much phoned it in, instead of putting their foot on the throat as they say. And what happened to that screen pass they're so good at?
3rd Downs: It's wasn't good. 5 for 14. That's what the Vikings were on 3rd down conversions. And while .357 might look good as a baseball hitting stat, it's not good in a NFL football game.
No Thielen...again: I've been hooked on a Thielen as much as anyone but it's been so long since he's played, I've almost forgotten what he looks like. But I haven't forgotten what he plays like. This team needs him. He affects so much of what they can do on offense. Yes, hamstrings are a difficult injury. I've had one so I understand having patience and making sure he is 100% because we need him at seasons' end. But we're pretty close to being there now.
THE UGLY (aka The Rhodes):
Nothing to see here. Not even Rhodes can make his own list this week. But not starting the game helped and so did being involved in only 37% of the snaps. I know he got hurt late in the 3rd quarter but even prior to that he wasn't on the field as much and was only thrown at ONE time. I guess Detroit did not watch previous game film.
Next week: The Vikings are going to have to give a lot more effort Sunday afternoon when they travel to LA to take on the Chargers.