NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 13 Game Recap: Detroit Lions 29, Minnesota Vikings 27

Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) celebrates his game winning touch down against the Minnesota Vikings with zero time on the clock during the second half at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions have won a football game in 2021.

Jared Goff hit Amon-Ra St. Brown for an 11-yard, walk-off touchdown in front of his home crowd to take down Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings, 29-27, in Week 13.

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Minnesota Vikings

Quarterback

Good Kirk Cousins showed up in Detroit, much like he has for the majority of the season. He completed 75% of his passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns. He made one turnover-worthy throw and one big-time throw, and 19 of his passes went for first downs. Some 35.3% of his yards came after the catch.

Running back

It was the Alexander Mattison show with Dalvin Cook out of the lineup, and Mattison took advantage. He carried the rock 22 times for 90 yards and a touchdown, forcing four missed tackles in the process. Sixty-seven of his yards came after contact on his way to a pending 60.5 rushing grade. No other Minnesota back handled more than four rushing attempts.

Wide receivers/Tight ends

Fresh off his November NFC Offensive Player of the Month title, Justin Jefferson kept it rolling into December. He tore up the Detroit defense to the tune of 11 receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown. He recorded nine receiving first downs, zero drops and six explosive receptions. The performance earned an 86.4 receiving grade for LSU product, pending final review.

Adam Thielen left the game after just four snaps with an ankle injury and did not return.

Offensive line

The Minnesota offensive line struggled a bit in pass protection — allowing 13 pressures on Cousins — but it still put up a solid 63.6 pass-blocking grade on first review of the film. Tackle Brian O’Neill led the way individually with an 83.9 pass-blocking grade, not allowing a single pressure on 46 pass-blocking snaps.

Defensive line

It was an uneventful day for the Minnesota defensive line in pass rush (only one sack among the group), but the unit was elite in run defense. The Vikings notched 14 stops and five tackles for loss or no gain on 26 run-defense snaps and posted an 88.6 team run-defense grade, pending review.

Linebackers

Blake Lynch and Nick Vigil each logged 71 defensive snaps on the afternoon but had very different games. Vigil posted 11 tackles compared to just four for Lynch, but Vigil struggled in pass coverage, allowing six receptions for 80 yards. Lynch, meanwhile, recorded two sacks on four pass-rush snaps on his way to an elite 91.2 pass-rush grade.

Secondary

Cornerback Cameron Dantzler enjoyed a solid afternoon in the Motor City, allowing two receptions on four targets for 21 yards. Bashaud Breeland struggled, though, giving up five catches for 78 yards and a touchdown on six targets.

Detroit Lions

Quarterback

Jared Goff had one of his better games of the season, racking up 296 yards and three touchdowns. He did throw an interception, but he made three big-time throws for a 7.3% big-time throw rate, pending review. While he's often maligned for being a conservative quarterback, Goff found success with that strategy in Week 13: 51% of his passes were short of the sticks. He posted an 8.7-yard average depth of target.

Running back

Jamaal Williams saw the bulk of the work out of the Lions' backfield with D’Andre Swift out of the lineup. The former Packer carried the ball 17 times for 71 yards, including 54 after contact. Williams posted just a 38.1 rushing grade. No other Lions running back registered more than six touches.

Player RUSH GRADE* R ATT RUN YDS YCO MTF RUN
Jamaal Williams 38.1 17 71 54 1
Godwin Igwebuike 66.2 2 8 3 0
Jermar Jefferson 54.7 5 18 9 0

*Pending Final Review

Wide receivers/Tight ends

Week 13 marked the long-awaited breakout game for Amon-Ra St. Brown, who posted a career-high 10 catches for 86 yards and the game-winning touchdown. He didn’t record a drop and ran most of his routes from inside (68.2% of his routes from the slot). No other Detroit pass-catcher had more than four receptions — Josh Reynolds and TJ Hockenson had four apiece — but Hockenson and Brock Wright both recorded touchdowns.

Offensive line

Rookie tackle Penei Sewell led the way in pass protection, allowing just one pressure (for a sack) on 45 pass-blocking snaps en route to a 79.6 pass-blocking grade, pending review. As a unit, the Lions posted an elite 87.1 pass-blocking grade, giving up five total pressures.

Defensive line

Charles Harris was the star of the Detroit defense, getting home to Cousins twice on the afternoon. He tallied seven total pressures, a 13.2% win rate and an 80.1 pass-rush grade on first review.

Linebackers

Alex Anzalone co-led the defense in snaps (71), but he posted just a 57.6 overall grade on first review of the film. He graded negatively on 8% of his run-defense plays and allowed four catches on five targets in coverage.

Secondary

Safety Tracy Walker co-led the defense in tackles with seven. Walker was especially elite in coverage, allowing one catch for just a single yard on one target.

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