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Vikings Chad Greenway Calls Out Lions Offensive Line

By: Will Burchfield

The Lions beat the Vikings on Thursday - but not without the help of the refs, according to Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway.

When asked about the Lions' ability to convert some key third downs, Greenway suggested Detroit's offensive line was breaking the rulebook and getting away with it.

The Lions were six for 14 on third down (43 percent).

"They had some success. A lot of it was (Matthew Stafford) running. They did have some success on short routes, but really a lot of that success came with him running and them holding the absolute crap out of us," Greenway said. "That happened multiple times to keep drives going for them."

When a reporter doubled back and asked Greenway to clarify his comment, the linebacker replied, "Now you said it. So you can get in trouble."

Despite Greenway's claim, the Lions offensive line wasn't penalized a single time during Thursday's game. As a team, Detroit committed five penalties for 23 yards. Minnesota was flagged five times for 40 yards. It would be a stretch to say the refs played a significant role in the outcome of the game.

(For those wondering why Darius Slay's possible fumble wasn't reviewed, referee Carl Cheffers confirmed that indeed it was.

"That play naturally goes to review. It's an automatic review because it's inside of two minutes, and it's also a change of possession. It went to review. The replay official confirmed the ruling on the field [without the need to stop the game], that his right knee was down prior to any loss of possession," Cheffers said.)

Greenway was accurate in that Stafford had some success scrambling out of the pocket. The Lions quarterback scurried for 11 yards on 3rd-and-10 in the second quarter and then took off for 15 more on 3rd-and-15 in the fourth quarter.

"Matt had a couple nice runs," said Jim Caldwell. "He always adds a couple in there for us and I do think he's a weapon in that regard. Teams that play some man-to-man in those situations and turn their back on the ball, he finds a way to find a hole and escape through it. He makes good decisions in that regard. Those runs are very, very important to us. They got us big conversions today, that was huge."

Then again, maybe the Lions would be more comfortable watching their franchise quarterback remain in the pocket.

"I think it's like the last thing they want me to do, is run," Stafford joked. "But take a step back, drop back, maybe the play we have called isn't a great one into the coverage they have called, or maybe it's a coverage where they're not going to have a whole lot of underneath coverage and I think our team needs a play.

"But I'm not thinking about it. I'm not thinking, 'Oh, here's a good opportunity to get out and strut my stuff.' I'm just trying to help our team get first downs. I mean, the first run I had today had like eight jukes and went nowhere, so it's nothing special. I'm just trying to help us gain yards, man. That's what it's all about."

Stafford did that, and he helped the Lions to a win in the process.

"At the end of the day, they're a good football team," said Greenway, whose Vikings have lost four of their last five contests. "It was a great football game, one of those games you want to end up on top."

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