Grading the Game: Lions

In a 42-10 blowout, the grades should be good. The Vikings clicked in all phases of the game, earning good or excellent grades throughout the team effort.

PASSING OFFENSE: B — QB Tarvaris Jackson was steady for the second consecutive game, completing 18 of 24 passes for 204 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Jackson led the Vikings to touchdowns on their first six possessions and had a passer rating (110.4) of more than 100 for the second consecutive game. He had never had a rating above 100 until the Vikings' victory 41-17 over the New York Giants in Week 12. Jackson's two touchdown passes also were a single-game high, and he ended up completing passes to nine receivers. He is showing a definite poise that didn't exist earlier in the season.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B — With Adrian Peterson returning after a two-game absence caused by a knee injury, the Vikings had their one-two punch of Peterson and Chester Taylor back. The Lions, like so many other teams, had trouble stopping the Vikings' running game. Peterson rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, and Taylor ran for 70 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Peterson has now topped the 100-yard mark in six of the 10 games in which he has played this season. Minnesota finished with 216 net yards on the ground, including 20 yards on five scrambles by Jackson.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus — Lions QB Jon Kitna threw for 260 yards and only one touchdown. He also found himself under pressure on several occasions as the Vikings finished with three sacks. The Vikings' leading tacklers were CBs Cedric Griffin (seven) and Marcus McCauley (seven) and nickel back Charles Gordon (five). McCauley again found himself starting in place of veteran Antoine Winfield, who has a hamstring injury. The Lions' Roy Williams finished with five receptions for 85 yards but was knocked out of the game because of an injury. Rookie Calvin Johnson was never a factor and had only one reception.

RUSH DEFENSE: A-minus — The Lions gained 23 yards rushing on seven attempts, and most of them came late in the game as T.J. Duckett picked up 22 yards on three carries. Detroit offensive coordinator Mike Martz's decision to show no commitment to trying to run the ball was a somewhat surprising move considering the Packers' ability to establish the run was key to their victory over the Vikings on Nov. 11. Martz, like so many, figured that trying to pick on the Vikings' suspect pass defense was the way to go and didn't want to attempt to go against Pro Bowl DTs Pat Williams and Kevin Williams. Safe to say the Vikings dominated at the line of scrimmage.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-minus — The highlight for this unit came in the second quarter when KR Aundrae Allison went a franchise-record 103 yards for a touchdown. Allison was active only because receiver and regular kick return man Troy Williamson missed the game due to a concussion. Allison is easily this team's best return man on kickoffs and should remain on the game-day roster. It was a fairly uneventful day for K Ryan Longwell (six extra-point attempts) and Chris Kluwe (one punt). Kluwe did help the Vikings get a first down on a fake field-goal attempt when he completed a shovel pass to TE Jeff Dugan.

COACHING: B — Coach Brad Childress has pushed all the right buttons since the Vikings were blown out 34-0 on Nov. 11 at Green Bay and fell to 3-6 on the season. Childress has this team back in the playoff race and has an offense that has gone from being suspect and inconsistent to incredibly productive. The Vikings are clearly carrying themselves with a confidence rarely seen since Childress took over as head coach before the 2006 season. The return of Peterson against the Lions certainly did not hurt matters. Even as the Vikings pulled away, Childress remained aggressive in his play-calling. He called for a fake field goal that resulted in a first down on a shovel pass and a halfback pass from Taylor to TE Visanthe Shiancoe that almost worked. Those plays came in a span of less than two minutes and with the Vikings leading by 32 points.



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