For the second straight week, the Vikings faced a deficit in a hostile environment. And, for the second straight week, they found a way to combine offense and defense to silence the crowd, seize back momentum and create their own turning point of the game.
In the opener against Cleveland, it was the dominance of the third quarter that turned a 13-10 halftime deficit into a 24-13 lead before the quarter ended. This time, it started sooner, but the result was the same.
With 5:40 to play in the first half, the Vikings found themselves facing their biggest deficit of the season. Following an 8-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson, the Vikings trailed 10-0 and were looking like a team that was once again playing down to its competition in a matchup with the Lions. But, as they did the previous week, with the opponents and their fans in a frenzy, the Vikings took control.
Adrian Peterson got things started on a drive that began on the Vikings 24-yard line. After gaining just 16 yards on his first seven carries, Peterson took a run up the middle and, finding nothing, changed direction and ran to the left sideline – gaining 22 yards and a first down at the Vikings 46-yard line.
From that point, Favre took over. Faced with a third-and-5 from the Lions 49, he zipped a short slant pass to Percy Harvin, who made a couple of moves to gain 10 yards and move the sticks. Favre stayed in the air, completing a pair of passes to Peterson for 14 yards and two to Sidney Rice for 23 yards to get the ball to the 2-yard line. One play later, he rolled out and found Visanthe Shiancoe in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown and the Lions lead was cut to 10-7 with 1:04 to play in the half, which would be the halftime score after the Lions were pinned deep and let the clock run out.
With the lead and the ball to start the third quarter, the Lions still had some momentum working on their side, but it wouldn't last long. On his first two pass attempts of the third quarter, Stafford was sacked – the first by Jared Allen and one play later by Ray Edwards. The Lions were forced to punt and, following a 14-yard return by Darius Reynaud, the Minnesota offense took over in Lions territory.
Favre engineered another scoring drive, converting a pair of third downs with a 10-yard pass to Harvin and an illegal-contact foul on a lineup mismatch with Shiancoe and safety Marquand Manuel. After a 14-yard run by Peterson got the Vikings to the Lions 13-yard line, the drive stalled, but the Vikings were able to come away with a field goal to tie the game 10-10.
With momentum slipping away from the Lions, it flew away within a matter of seconds. On their next possession, running back Kevin Smith took a pitch to his right and had the ball punched out by Ray Edwards. Chad Greenway pounced on the ball and the Vikings would take over on the Detroit 27-yard line. It took only one play to cash in, as Peterson took a handoff up the middle, bounced the play outside and was off to the races for a 27-yard touchdown. The score gave the Vikings 10 points in 53 seconds and turned a 10-7 deficit into a 17-10 lead that would never be seriously challenged.
"Obviously the difference in the game was the first two drives of the second half," said Lions coach Jim Schwartz. "We had battled pretty good and were in good position to come out in the second half. We had the ball in the beginning of the second half and started off with a poor kickoff return, three plays and out, losing yardage on offense, defense goes out and allows a score and then offense comes back, fumbles and we give up another score and it's a 10-point turnaround right at the beginning of the second half. The rest of the game sort of played out, but that was the difference in this game."
It might be a little frustrating for Vikings fans that the team has got off to a slow start in both of their games thus far this season, but, for the second straight week, they showed the ability to knock out an opponent quickly and turn tight games into blowouts, creating a eerily similar turning point in both of their wins to start the season.
Turning point: One minute, 10 points
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