The Lions opened with the ball and made it look easy on their first drive. Matthew Stafford was 6-for-6 for 46 yards in the 75-yard drive, culminating the series with a 2-yard touchdown strike to Anquan Boldin. It didn’t matter who he targeted on the Vikings defense, as Captain Munnerlyn, Eric Kendricks, Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes and Anthony Barr all gave up completions.
The Vikings answered with their own 12-play, 75-yard drive for a touchdown, but they were the beneficiary of two close calls. They drove into Lions territory with an 18-yard pass to Kyle Rudolph, but when Rudolph later dropped a third-down pass, the Lions were called for defensive holding. One play later, Sam Bradford was hit by Ziggy Ansah and the Lions recovered the loose ball. However, the call on the field was overturned as Bradford’s arm was going forward. On the next play, Laquon Treadwell bobbled a pass and Glover Quin came away with the interception, returning it into Vikings territory. However, Darius Slay was flagged for a tight pass interference penalty and the Vikings maintained possession again. Three plays later, Matt Asiata scored on a 5-yard run to tie the game at 7.
The teams traded punts to start the second quarter, but Golden Tate burned the Vikings again, getting behind Andrew Sendejo for a 41-yard gain to start their third drive. The Vikings gave up another first down before the defense stiffened with Trae Waynes breaking up a pass in the end zone to force a 29-yard field goal from Matt Prater, as the Lions took a 10-7 lead with 6:45 left in the second quarter.
The Vikings responded with a drive inside Detroit territory but they failed to pick up a first down on fourth-and-2 with the second pass of the drive that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. The Lions took over, but the Vikings stopped them on fourth-and-1 at midfield.
Both teams had another chance, but neither would get into scoring position, sending the game to halftime with the Vikings trailing 10-7.
The Vikings were outgained 218 to 110 with the Lions going 4-for-8 on third downs while Minnesota was 0-for-3. Bradford finished the half 13-for-17 for 93 yards while Stafford was 15-for-26 for 154 yards and a touchdown.
The Vikings couldn’t get much going on their first drive, but a second-down sack by Anthony Barr on the Lions’ first possession helped the game of field position. On the first play of Minnesota’s second drive of the half, Bradford found a wide-open Jerick McKinnon and he sprinted 41 yards to the 20-yard line, setting up a Kai Forbath 30-yard field goal to tie the game 10-10 with 7:03 to play in the quarter.
It remained that way until the end of the third quarter, but the Vikings were driving with an efficient mix of the run and pass, with Cordarrelle Patterson picking up first downs on a 10-yard reception and 22-yard run on a double reverse.
With the Vikings at the 10-yard line to start the fourth quarter, T.J. Clemmings was flagged for a chop block, backing up the offense and forcing them to settle for a 28-yard Kai Forbath field goal for a 13-10 lead with 12:38 to play in the fourth quarter.
It was the Vikings’ first lead of the game and the 11th game this season that the Lions had trailed in the fourth quarter. They had won six of those instances, but the Vikings were looking to change that.
They forced the Lions off the field on the next drive, but passes of 29 yards to Anquan Boldin and 15 yards to Marvin Jones put the Lions in field goal position and Prater delivered a 48-yarder with 1:45 to play.
The Vikings appeared to pick up one first down, but Cordarrelle Patterson was called for illegal formation, negating that and putting the Vikings in third-and-7. Bradford forced the pass to Adam Thielen, Darius Slay intercepted it and the Lions were in position for the game-winning field.
Prater delivered the dagger again, this time with a 40-yarder as time expired, giving the Lions the outright lead in the NFC North with two wins against the Vikings, who fell to 6-5.
Bradford finished the game completing 31 of 37 passes for 224 yards and an 80.6 rating, but one extremely costly interception. Stafford was 23-for-40 for 232 yards, one touchdown and an 82.5 rating.
Rudolph led the Vikings with nine catches for 64 yards and Thielen had eight for 53.
Defensively, the Vikings got two sacks and eight quarterback hits, blitzing often in the second half, and held Theo Riddick to 45 yards on the ground, but it wasn’t enough as Minnesota’s offense settled for too many short passes and couldn’t muster more than one touchdown.