Tarvaris Jackson has only a few snaps of game action in the last 11 weeks, but when he was needed on Sunday he delivered a big come-from-behind win that might end up being the difference for the Vikings to get into the playoffs. See what Jackson did and the Vikings had to say about it, and get more than three dozen game notes that helps explain how it all came about.
For the last 10 games, Tarvaris Jackson
has been little more than an afterthought. Despite seeing Gus Frerotte
go down at least once in nearly every game he has played, Jackson's on-field time was limited to a play here and a play there for the last three months. Not Sunday.
"It was hard at first, but I had some time," said Jackson, who got into the game at the end of the first half and played the rest of the way. "I had to get in for Gus a play or two every now and then a kind of wake-up call. I just had to be ready because you never know, and it really showed today. Coach (Brad Childress) has been saying it. He guaranteed me I'd probably be in there because of how the NFL is. That's the thing, I'm just happy we got the win."
Jackson got the call and delivered – rallying the Vikings for 17 second-half points in the 20-16 win. Although he still had a couple of his trademark "Oh, no!" moments in which he badly overthrew a deep pass and threw another one up for grabs, Jackson was extremely efficient with his passes – finding open receivers and keeping drives alive.
Aside from those two incompletions, however, Jackson was a perfect 8-for-8 passing – completing passes to six different receivers. He accomplished what he failed to do as a starter in the first two games of the season – lead the team on scoring drives and rally them from a pair of second-half deficits. On the game-winning touchdown, Jackson playfaked, rolled out right and threw a strike to tight end Visanthe Shiancoe
"He did a good job of selling it. It was a naked (bootleg) and I just tried to give a good fake because everybody is looking at Adrian (Peterson) all the time. (Shiancoe) did a good job and got open. I just gave him the ball, and he got in the end zone," Jackson said.
There is no word immediately how quickly Frerotte will recover from his latest injury—the Vikings are calling it a lower back contusion – but Jackson has made the decision on naming a starting quarterback for next week at Arizona a little easier with his play Sunday.
In the process, he may have garnered a renewed confidence from his teammates.
"He did a great job stepping in," Peterson said. "I wasn't surprised. I see him time after time in practice making big plays and making good throws and things like that. You never know what's going to happen in a game, so that's why even if you're not starting, your backup has always got to be prepared. He's been doing a great job preparing himself to be able to step in if we needed him. That's what he did today. He came out and did a great job."
Adrian Peterson finished the game with 23 rushes for 102 yards, with 16 carries and 74 yards coming in the second half. It is his eighth 100-yard rushing game of the season, which ties a franchise record set by Robert Smith during the 2000 season.
With eight points, Ryan Longwell has 109 for the season and 1,352 for his career. That moves him past legendary Lou Groza into 23rd place in NFL history and leaves him just 13 points shy of former Viking Fred Cox for 22nd on the all-time list.
The Vikings won the yardage battle, despite gaining just 298 total yards (168 passing, 130 rushing). The Lions were limited to 267 total yards (191 passing, 76 rushing). In the second half, the Vikings outgained the Lions 196-123 in total yards.
The Vikings have struggled on third down all year, but converted five of nine chances Sunday. Detroit made good on just three of 11 third downs and were stopped twice on fourth down.
The Lions didn't turn the ball over, while the Vikings had a pair of first-half interceptions.
There had to be some concern about Adrian Peterson, who fumbled three times during the game. Fortunately for the Vikings, two of the fumbles went out of bounds, Peterson fell on a third fumble in the backfield and one fumble was negated by a Vikings challenge in which A.D. was ruled down before the ball came out.
Brad Childress' recent hot streak with the challenge flag continues. Both of them were critical overturns – the Peterson non-fumble that led to the first Vikings points of the game in the second quarter and a reversal on a completion that would have given Detroit a first-and-goal from the Vikings' 8-yard line that was overturned and forced the Lions to kick a field goal to cut the Vikings lead to 17-16.
The teams combined for only four punts and they were massive. Chris Kluwe averaged 57 yards on his two punts and Detroit's Nick Harris averaged 59.5 yards on his two kicks.
With two punts of 50 yards or longer, Kluwe has 30 punts of 50 yards or more – breaking his own record of 29 set last year. In the last three years, Kluwe has 82 punts of 50 yards or more.
The Vikings had six penalties and three others that were declined. Of those, four were offside penalties that drive coaches crazy under the mental mistakes category.
The Vikings were 2 of 3 scoring touchdowns in the red zone. The Lions, who came into the game second in the league in converting red zone chances into touchdowns, were 0-for-3 Sunday.
Daunte Culpepper was efficient if not spectacular Sunday, completing 14 of 24 passes for 220 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
The Vikings run defense again held an opponent in check. Rookie Kevin Smith ran 22 times for 63 yards – 13 carries for 35 yards in the first half and nine for 28 yards in the second half.
Visanthe Shiancoe led the team with five catches for 65 yards and a touchdown – tying him with Bernard Berrian for the team lead with five receiving TDs.
The team lead in receptions is going to come down to the wire again this year. With two catches, Bobby Wade maintains his lead with 42 receptions. Berrian caught three passes to give him 41 catches. Chester Taylor now has 35 and Shiancoe has 32.
One of the big worries heading into the game was to prevent Calvin Johnson of the Lions from making the big back-breaking play for which he has become famous this season. It was VikingUpdate.com's pregame matchup to watch. He got that chance in the third quarter lined up with Cedric Griffin and made the Vikings pay with a 70-yard touchdown.
Although the Lions offense has been pathetic, Johnson now has a touchdown catch in seven of his last nine games and has seven receptions of 40 yards or more this season.
Despite being injured in the first half, Jared Allen had two more sacks Sunday, giving him 12.5 for the season. That is the most by a Viking since John Randle registered 15.5 sacks in 1997.
As a team, the Vikings had four sacks, with Ray Edwards notching his third and Ellis Wyms recording his second sack of the year. Those two came on the final two Detroit snaps of the game.
Darren Sharper led the Vikings with eight tackles.
Before being injured late, Paris Lenon had quite a game for the Lions with 10 tackles, two forced fumbles and a half-sack.
Peterson now leads the league with 1,413 rushing yards. He needs just 109 yards in the final three games to set the single-season franchise record currently held by Smith, who had 1,521 yards in 2000.
On the second-to-last play of the game, Edwards stripped Culpepper of the ball by slamming his arm and knocking the ball loose. With one second remaining, Culpepper came to sideline because the play was going to require a deep throw and it appeared as though he injured his throwing shoulder on the play. Backup Drew Stanton came in to make the final heave, but was sacked by Wyms.
On his 70-yard touchdown, Calvin Johnson went over 1,000 yards receiving for the season.
In the entire first half, the Vikings had just 39 yards rushing. On the final three plays of their opening drive of the third quarter, Peterson and Taylor ran for 48 yards.
At halftime, the Lions held a yardage edge of 144-102. Detroit had 101 yards passing and 43 yards rushing, while the Vikings managed 63 yards passing and 39 yards rushing.
In the first half, Frerotte completed 7 of 10 passes for 70 yards with two interceptions. Peterson ran seven times for 28 yards and Taylor had five carries for 10 yards. Shiancoe was the leading receiver with three catches for 45 yards.
For the Lions in the first half, Culpepper completed 7 of 13 passes for 101 yards. Smith ran 13 times for 35 yards and recently signed Keary Colbert led the team with two catches for 32 yards. Johnson had just one catch for eight yards in the first half.
Frerotte was injured late in the first half trying to make a tackle following an interception. The injury was a lower back injury and he did not return to the field in the second half.
The Vikings got a scare when Allen went down in obvious pain after a low block by rookie offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus. Allen, who was chasing Culpepper from the back side of the play was in pursuit when Cherilus, who was on the ground, dove out and hit Allen in the knee with his helmet. Allen went down immediately, but got up and tried to go after Cherilus. He had to be restrained by Edwards and members of the Vikings training staff who had come out to provide injury assistance.
On the very next play, Napoleon Harris got into a dust-up with Detroit fullback Moran Norris. Both were flagged for personal fouls, but Norris was ejected for throwing a punch at Harris's head right in front of an official.
On the rush in which he was charged with a fumble but was overturned after review, Peterson surpassed his rushing total from his rookie season.
Darius Reynaud had a 43-yard kickoff return in the first half. He was injured on the play and went to the locker room, but did return in the second half.
The Lions dominated the first quarter, outgaining the Vikings 68-38. Peterson had just 14 yards on five carries and Frerotte completed three of four passes for 30 yards with one interception. Culpepper completed 2 of 4 passes for 35 yards and Smith had 22 rushing yards on seven carries.
Coming into the game, the Lions had just two interceptions all season and were in danger of setting the modern-day record of just five for an entire season. They had two in the first half.
The Lions had problems throughout the day with managing their timeouts. They called a timeout on the second play of the game and, in the second half, the Vikings were able to wind down the clock because the Lions had burned two of their times out already – one following an incompletion on offense and another when the defense was confused by a Vikings formation.
With Sunday's win, the Vikings have won 13 of the last 14 games against Detroit and Childress has a 5-1 record against the Lions.
The Vikings are done with division play, having posted a 4-2 record – splitting with Chicago and Green Bay and sweeping Detroit.