Detroit Lions unable to slow down Kirk Cousins, Vikings in 42-30 loss at Ford Field
Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni gathered his defense on the sideline after the Minnesota Vikings marched 97 yards in 15 plays, without much resistance, to take their first lead of the game.
Pasqualoni appeared to be reading his players the riot act, trying to motivate them to play – for the first time all season, really – up to the expectations most had for them entering the year.
The speech didn’t work.
The Vikings scored touchdowns on four straight possessions, not including an aborted no-play drive at the end of the first half, and the Lions couldn’t come up with a stop with the game still in the balance late in the fourth quarter, losing at Ford Field for the second time this season, 42-30.
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Kirk Cousins completed 24 of 34 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns and hit Stefon Diggs on a key 67-yard pass with just over 2 minutes to play.
The Vikings, leading 35-30 at the time, had second-and-6 inside their own 35-yard line and the Lions needed a stop to force a punt and get the ball back with enough time for a go-ahead drive.
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Instead, Diggs’ big gain gave Minnesota first-and-goal at the 4, and Dalvin Cook scored two plays later on a 4-yard run.
The loss drops the Lions to 2-3-1 in the NFC North, well behind the Vikings (5-2) and division-leading Green Bay Packers (6-1).
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The Lions, who lost starters Kerryon Johnson (knee) and Darius Slay (hamstring) to injury in the first half, host the New York Giants next week.
Matthew Stafford completed 30 of 45 passes for 364 yards and four touchdowns. He became the 22nd quarterback in NFL history to reach 250 career touchdown passes, and the 21st and fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach 40,000 career yards.
Stafford topped the 40,000-yard ark with a 40-yard pas to Danny Amendola in the first quarter.
Amendola led the Lions with 105 yards on eight catches, and Marvin Jones caught four touchdown passes, including a 2-yarder with 3:05 to play that gave the Lions a wisp of hope.
But the Lions defense, which was thought to be one of the best in the NFL entering the season, had no answer.
Cousins picked the Lions apart all day as Detroit failed to mount any semblance of a pass rush, and Cook ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.
Along with the 97-yard drive that gave them control of the game late in the second quarter, the Vikings scored on drives of 73 and 61 yards in the first half, and had a 12-play, 75-yard drive to open the third quarter.
The Lions, coming off a controversial loss to the Packers, have lost three straight since starting the year 2-0-1.
Contact Dave Birkett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Read more on the Detroit Lions and sign up for our Lions newsletter.