PASSING OFFENSE: D - QB Donovan McNabb continues to have efficient first halves followed by horrendous second halves. And that's one reason the Vikings have blown first-half leads of 10, 17 and now 20 points. McNabb misfired badly on third down in the second half (again), overthrowing receivers from intermediate to deep range. He was 1-for-6 passing on third down and did not convert a third down. In the second half this season, McNabb is 1-for-11 on third down and has two field goals to show for 16 possessions. The Vikings are 1-for-15 on second-half third downs, including an 0-for-14 slide.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D - Again, it's a matter of completely different halves. Running back Adrian Peterson had 12 carries for 73 yards (6.1) and a touchdown in the first half, but was held to five yards on five carries in the second half. As a team, the Vikings ran the ball only seven times for eight yards in the second half. That makes no sense when you consider the Vikings' alleged ball-control philosophy should be grinding down the clock with big halftime leads. For the season, Peterson has 230 yards and three touchdowns on 36 first-half carries (6.4), and 66 yards and no touchdowns on 22 second-half carries (3.0).
PASS DEFENSE: D - The Vikings' defense forced the Lions to punt on their first six possessions. They sacked Matthew Stafford three times in the first half and five overall, with Jared Allen getting three of them. However, the Lions' passing game exploded in the second half. Stafford completed 22 of 30 passes for 314 of his 378 yards and both touchdowns. The Vikings gave up passes of 32, 27, 60 and 40 yards. Calvin Johnson beat good man coverage for a 32-yard touchdown and a 40-yard gain that set up the game-winning field goal in overtime. A lot of soft zone coverage allowed tight end Brandon Pettigrew to catch nine second-half passes for 101 yards. Johnson caught six second-half balls for 101 yards and two TDs.
RUSH DEFENSE: A - The Lions only ran the ball as throwaway plays designed to slow down the Vikings' pass rush. To the Vikings' credit, they didn't crack against the weak rushing attack. With Kevin Williams back in the middle after his two-game StarCaps suspension, the Vikings held Detroit to 20 yards on 19 attempts. Detroit ran it 15 times in the second half for 10 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A - The Vikings had their best overall special teams effort of the season. Punt returner Marcus Sherels had a 53-yard punt return and 90 total yards on six attempts (22.5). The 90 yards were the sixth-highest total in team history. Sherels also had a tackle for a 2-yard loss on a 54-yard punt by Chris Kluwe. Lorenzo Booker, who splits time at kick returner with the electric Percy Harvin, had a highlight of his own with a 68-yard return. The Lions, meanwhile, averaged only 19 yards on five kickoff returns.
COACHING: D - Leslie Frazier and his staff did an excellent job pumping up and preparing the players after becoming the first team in NFL history to lose its first two games after leading by double digits at halftime in both games. However, to then blow their biggest halftime lead of the season (20 points) screams that something is wrong with the coaches' approach. Yes, the players need to execute better in the second half. But coordinator Bill Musgrave's offensive approach in the second half is completely out of sorts. To run the ball only seven times in the second half with a 20-point lead when the team is built around Adrian Peterson? That's inexcusable. And while the defense was on the field for about 20 of the 30 second-half minutes, it still has to play tighter zone coverage on the tight end over the middle and do something to avoid giving up so many big plays. The Lions had four plays of 27 yards or more in the second half. Two of them were 40 yards or longer. There are big problems in Minnesota, and it's not just a matter of execution.
Grading the game: Lions
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