Turning Point: Just Enough Defense

The Vikings defense allowed two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, but it made just enough plays to keep the Vikings from trailing since the first quarter.

In a game in which the Vikings defense appeared to have once again let the team down, it was the performance in big situations that created the turning point of the game. With a defense slowed down by a flu bug running through the team, making the big plays when needed made all the difference. The evidence:

FIRST QUARTER — On the opening drive, the Lions marched into the red zone, but a key tackle by Keith Newman on a Kevin Jones sweep puts the Lions in a long-yardage situation and they had to settle for a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

SECOND QUARTER — With the Vikings leading 14-10, the Lions drove to the Vikings 5-yard line. With blitz pressure and good coverage, the next two passes went incomplete and the Lions kicked another field goal to trail 14-13.

THIRD QUARTER — With the Vikings offense struggling, the defense was asked to step it up. The result? Of the Lions' three possessions, Corey Chavous ended one with an interception, Chris Claiborne caused a fumble by Jones he recovered and the other drive was a three-and-out.

FOURTH QUARTER — With the Vikings still leading 14-13, Detroit got into Minnesota territory only to have Harrington intercepted by Brian Williams. After failing to take advantage of two previous turnovers, the Vikings offense made good on that opportunity and drove 68 yards for a touchdown.

While the final two defensive opportunities were brutal and gave the Lions a chance to win, the defense's ability to keep the Lions off the board during a 31-minute span between the second and fourth quarters allowed the Vikings to never surrender the lead and, in the process, created the turning point of the game.



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