(DETROIT, MI) – With a 16-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, the Lions claimed their 10th victory of the season, and improved to 10-4. The win marks the first time the Lions reached 10 wins in the first 14 games of the season since the Lions started 10-4 in 1991.
QB Matt Stafford completed 17-of-28 passes for 153 yards and 1 touchdown in the Lions’ win. Stafford did not throw an interception against the Vikings and has now gone three-straight games without a pick.
Detroit won for the 7th time at home this season, which gives the Lions a 7-1 home record in 2014. A 7-1 home slate this year marks the best home record for the Lions since 1995 when they also went 7-1.
“We did everything we could to hurt ourselves in the first half in all three phases,” said Stafford. “GQ [Glover Quin] made a huge play for us and kind of swung a little momentum back for us right before the half. [Darius] Slay had a nice pick as well. We’ve lost pretty ones, it’s nice to win an ugly one. It’s a part of being a good football team, is finding ways to win when you don’t play your best in any of the phases.”
With yesterday’s win over the Vikings, Detroit has now defeated all three NFC North divisional opponents at home for the second-consecutive season. The win against Minnesota gave the Lions their sixth-straight win over NFC North teams at Ford Field.
The Lions also claimed their fourth win vs NFC North teams this year with two to play in the season. Detroit owns a 4-0 record thus far against NFC North opponents.
The win over the Vikings gave head coach Jim Caldwell his third 10-win season in his four years as an NFL head coach. He led Indianapolis to records of 14-2 in 2009 and 10-6 in 2010.
Detroit safety Glover Quin turned the game around in the second quarter when he intercepted a pass at the Detroit 33-yard line and returned it 56 yards to the Minnesota 11. The interception occurred with the Vikings driving and the Lions trailing 14-0.
The Lions would score a touchdown two plays later.
“You really can’t tell until it’s kicked off, until it gets rolling,” Caldwell explained the slow start for the Lions. “They were humming pretty good, they were moving along pretty well, and we have some penalties there early on that kind of slowed us down. I think we had four in the first half and one in the second half. We did get it straightened out finally, but they got off to a little better start than we did.”
Detroit’s defence has set a staggering pace against the run, in 14 games thus far, yielding just 63.8 yards per game. Currently, that rank 5th all-time in NFL history. After allowing 76 yards vs the Vikings, the Lions have allowed less than 100 yards in 13 of the team’s 14 games this season.
Quin’s interception was his sixth of the season, as he became the Lions first defensive back with six interceptions since CB Dré Bly had 6 in 2005.
“I just think it’s the way football is,” said Caldwell. “You just have to be able to win different ways and I think our guys found a way to do that today.”
With the Lions trailing 14-13 in the fourth quarter, and just 7:43 remaining, Stafford led the Lions on a 10-play drive, which started at the Lions own 20-yard line. The drive covered 65 yards and culminated with a 33-yard field goal by Matt Prater.
Prater connected on 3-of-3 field goal attempts in the Lions’ win. Over the past eight games and since joining the Lions in Week 6, Prater is 18-of-20 on field goal opportunities, which is the fourth-best field goal percentage in the NFL since Week 7.
By overcoming a 14-0 deficit, Stafford now has six career comeback victories when trailing by 14+ points at any point in the game.
The Lions will now travel to Chicago to kick-off against the Bears at Soldier Field. Game time is 1:00 pm on December 21.
“All we have to worry about is playing the Bears, who’s going to be a team that’s hungry,” said Caldwell. “We just have to make certain that we’re ready to go and match their intensity.”