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Lions Team Grades: Detroit Stuns Minnesota In Overtime With Comeback Win

The Detroit Lions suffered a deflating loss at Houston last week that really took the wind out of their sails. So, heading into another tough match-up against Minnesota in Minneapolis — a place where the Lions had only won two of their last 15 games — things looked quite daunting. After a back-and-forth game that saw the Lions leading throughout, the Vikings took the lead with less than one minute remaining.

Detroit QB Matthew Stafford proved once again why he's one of the best in the league and gave his team a chance to tie the game with a field goal with less than 30 seconds left. Tie it they did, and the Lions won in overtime, scoring a stunning touchdown to silence the Minnesota crowd with a 22-16 victory.

Offense: B

From the start, the Detroit offense had trouble finding the end zone, but was able to put points on the board to keep a lead over Minnesota. While Stafford and his teammates were never able to put any real distance between themselves and the Vikings on the scoreboard, it's not entirely surprising considering the talent on Minnesota's defense. The Vikings entered the game with the NFL's second-best defensive unit and kept the Lions scrambling.

But, once again, Stafford and the Lions proved that when it comes down to the wire, there's nobody else you'd want attempting to mount a comeback. After marching down the field on two plays with less than 30 seconds left to give kicker Matt Prater a chance at a game-tying field goal, Stafford commanded his team in overtime. A fantastic pass to receiver Golden Tate looked like it might be enough for a first down, until Tate turned it into a touchdown with some fancy footwork and a leap into the end zone. Stafford ended the game completing 23 of 36 passes with two touchdowns and one interception.

Defense: C+

Minnesota has sometimes struggled on offense this season, especially last week during their loss in Chicago, so the true extent of the task for the Detroit defense was up in the air. While the Lions did keep the Vikings from scoring a touchdown in the first half, they failed late in the game as the Vikings scored with less than one minute remaining, giving them the lead. The Detroit defense also let Minnesota rack up 22 first downs in the game, including one on fourth down.

Had it not been for Stafford and his incredible talent, this would have been another disappointing loss for the Lions. Still, overall, not the worst effort from the Detroit defense this season.

Special Teams: A

Reliable Detroit kicker Matt Prater has always been ready to give his team the edge when needed; so when Matthew Stafford marched down the field with less than 30 seconds left after the Lions lost their lead, he asked his kicker to make a 58-yard field goal. Prater, of course, didn't bat an eye and easily made the kick.

Prater also made 47-yard and 53-yard field goals during the game to keep the Lions in the lead throughout...just for good measure. As clutch as Matthew Stafford has been with his arm, Prater has been right there backing him up with his foot — true symbiosis.

Coaching: C

Coming from behind during their three exciting wins a few games back, Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had momentum. But, some awful decisions during their Houston loss last week had many fans calling for his head. Watching Caldwell has been a roller coaster this season, and despite some questionable calls during this match-up, others also helped to keep Detroit rolling. While Stafford can be given most of the credit when it comes to those last minute drives, Caldwell also deserves a tip of the cap for his game management and preparation. And this time, like it has other times this season, it truly paid off for Detroit.

Up Next: The Lions have a bye for week 10, but return on Sunday, November 20 when Detroit hosts Jacksonville at 1:00 p.m. EST at Ford Field.

Post Author: Michael Ferro.

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