As the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears took weeks seven off for a little R&R and to prepare for the second half of the 2015 NFL season, the two other teams in the division –- the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions –- played each other in Detroit.
Vikings’ quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs for the go ahead score in the third quarter and the Vikings defeated the Lions. Bridgewater finished with 25 completions on 35 attempts for a season-high 316 yards and two touchdowns. He made connections with a total of 11 different receivers during the day.
Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson contributed 98 yards on 19 carries, including a 75-yard run.
It was the Vikings first road win against a division opponent in three years. Diggs finished with six catches for 108 yards. In the last three games he has been on a tear catching 19 passes for 324 yards. He was inactive for the season’s first three games.
Diggs’ season so far has tied him with one-time Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers Anquan Boldin as the only rookies who had at least that many catches and yards in their first three games since at least 1960. Boldin was a rookie with the Cardinals in 2003.
The Lions scored on their first two drives after quarterback Matthew Stafford threw touchdown passes, but then the offensive line could not provide protection for him. The Vikings sacked Stafford seven times, a season worse for the Lions and a season best for the Vikings.
Still, the Lions made it difficult on the Vikings in the final quarter. Vikings’ punter Jeff Locke purposely took a safety when he ran out of the end zone with 59 seconds remaining and the score 28-19. The Lions drove the ball down to the Vikings 36 yard line, but couldn’t convert the forth-down play. Earlier in the quarter, Stafford led a drive to the Vikings’ 1-yard line, but the Lions were unable to get the touchdown and gave the ball back to the Vikings on downs. Stafford finished the game with 18 completions on 26 attempts for 256 yards. He also hurt his left hand, which was X-rayed after the game.
The Lions defense was determined that it would not be Peterson who would beat them. They stacked the box and ran a number of run blitzes similar to what the Vikings saw last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Vikings took advantage of the strategy and used a lot of play action. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Bridgewater threw for a career high 142 yards on play-action passes. He hit eight of his nine play-action passes with seven going at least 10 yards, three going at least 15 yards and one for 30 yards. VIKINGS 28 LIONS 19
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