Final

Vikings 28

(2-11, 1-6 away)

Lions 34

(8-5, 4-3 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, December 11, 2011

Ford Field, Detroit, MI 

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 7 7 7 728
DET 21 10 0 334

Top Performers

Passing: M. Stafford (DET) - 227 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: J. Webb (MIN) - 7 CAR, 109 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: T. Young (DET) - 4 REC, 87 YDS, 1 TD

Lions hold on late after Vikings fumble ball while on the 1

Associated Press

DETROIT -- DeAndre Levy had a fist full of Joe Webb's facemask, got away with it, and wasn't apologizing for Detroit's good fortune in a 34-28 win over Minnesota on Sunday.

"We get a lot of calls called against us," the Lions linebacker said. "So, they owed us one if I did."

Detroit (8-5) is still in prime position in the NFC wild-card race. Barely.

Webb had the Vikings a yard away from a potential winning touchdown on the game's final snap, but the backup quarterback fumbled just before Levy's right hand tugged his facemask, and a penalty wasn't called.

"I didn't see a replay, but people have told me that they grabbed Joe's facemask," Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said.

Oh, the Vikings (2-11) will get plenty of chances to see an apparent missed call that would've given them one more shot to win with no time on the clock.

"No one is going to remember how this game ended," insisted Detroit defensive end Cliff Avril, who fell on the loose ball at the Minnesota 43 to conclude the wild final play. "It only matters that we got the win."

The Lions, seeking to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season, were in a precarious spot coming in after losing five of seven.

They looked as though they were going to win easily, leading by 21 twice in the first half, but Webb made it interesting when he replaced Christian Ponder in the third quarter after the rookie's fourth turnover.

Webb ran for a 65-yard score to pull the Vikings within 10 points late in the third and tossed a 2-yard TD pass to Toby Gerhart that made it 34-28 midway through the fourth quarter

Detroit didn't pick up enough first downs to seal the victory, giving Webb another opportunity.

He drove the Vikings down the field, and they had first-and-goal at the 1 with 9 seconds left after Avril jumped offside to stop the clock and move Minnesota a yard closer to the end zone.

Replays clearly showed Levy yanking Webb's facemask, but a flag wasn't thrown. Levy's hand grazed the ball, knocking it loose, just before he grabbed on, and he was credited with the sack and forced fumble.

The ball popped free at the 11 and was batted back toward midfield by Detroit's Stephen Tulloch. Webb ran it down and tried to pick it up, but the football came loose again and Avril pounced on it.

Webb couldn't complain afterward because he said couldn't remember what happened.

"I had so many things running through my head," Webb said. "I was just trying to make a play."

Matthew Stafford threw for two scores in the first quarter to give Detroit one of its three-touchdown leads. But the Vikings, playing for pride, nearly rallied from a 31-14 halftime deficit and a 34-21 hole early in the fourth quarter.

The Lions almost blew a big lead as the Vikings did in Week 3 against them.

Detroit won at Minnesota 26-23 in overtime after trailing 20-0 at halftime. This time, Detroit led by 17 after two quarters despite making just five first downs and going 0 for 5 on third down.

The Vikings committed four turnovers in the first half, including a play when running back Lorenzo Booker fumbled without being touched, and finished with six.

Ponder was benched after his fourth turnover. He fumbled on his first play of the game, getting stripped by Avril, and Tulloch recovered for a score. Ponder threw an interception on his fourth snap to set up Stafford's first TD pass. Alphonso Smith made his second interception early in the second quarter and returned it for a TD to give Detroit a 28-7 lead.

"I gave them 17 points in the first half," Ponder said.

Ponder's day was done after he threw his third interception on the opening drive of the third quarter, faking a handoff to no one, rolling right and throwing over the middle to cornerback Eric Wright.

Webb replaced Ponder and promptly scored on his long run to pull Minnesota within 31-21.

The Lions stalled at the Vikings 2 on the ensuing drive, and instead of going for it on fourth-and-1, they settled for Jason Hanson's field goal and a 34-21 lead.

That almost wasn't big enough.

"We just got to close out teams," Tulloch said. "We can't get comfortable."

Game notes


Stafford was 20 of 29 for 227 yards without a turnover. ... Ponder, playing with a hip pointer, was 11 of 21 for 115 yards with two TDs. Frazier said he'd start next week if healthy. ... Webb ran for 109 yards and was 12 of 23 for another 84. ... Vikings RB Adrian Peterson missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. ... Minnesota's Percy Harvin had a career-high 10 receptions for 109 yards and a score. ... Detroit was missing RB Kevin Smith (right ankle), two starters in the secondary -- Louis Delmas (right knee) and cornerback Chris Houston (left knee) -- and DT Ndamukong Suh, who served the second of his two-game suspension for stomping on a Green Bay Packer on Thanksgiving. ... Vikings DE Jared Allen had three sacks for the second time against Detroit this year, putting him at 100 1/2 sacks over his eight-year career.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MIN
DET
1st Downs2913
Passing 1st downs
1211
Rushing 1st downs
171
1st downs from Penalties
01
3rd down efficiency
8-148-16
4th down efficiency
3-30-0
Total Plays8355
Total Yards425280
Yards per play5.15.1
Total Drives1311
Passing156208
Comp - Att
23-4420-29
Yards per pass
3.57.2
Interceptions thrown
30
Sacks - Yards Lost
4-435-19
Rushing26972
Rushing Attempts
3521
Yards per rush
7.73.4
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-41-3
Penalties5-3710-76
Turnovers60
Fumbles lost
30
Interceptions thrown
30
Defensive / Special Teams TDs02
Possession28:4631:14

Passing Leaders

MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Ponder11/211155.5233-28
Webb12/23843.7101-15
DETC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Stafford20/292277.8205-19

Rushing Leaders

MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Webb710915.6165
Gerhart19904.7015
DETCARYDSAVGTDLG
Williams12433.608
Morris4133.304

Receiving Leaders

MINRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Harvin10696.911615
Aromashodu44711.802810
DETRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Young48721.81577
Pettigrew6579.51177

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMINDET
detTD12:56Stephen Tulloch Recovered Fumble In End Zone (Jason Hanson Kick) 07
detTD09:45Titus Young 57 Yd Pass From Matthew Stafford (Jason Hanson Kick) 014
detTD05:54Brandon Pettigrew 12 Yd Pass From Matthew Stafford (Jason Hanson Kick) 021
minTD01:51Visanthe Shiancoe 7 Yd Pass From Christian Ponder (Ryan Longwell Kick) 721
SECOND QUARTERMINDET
detTD12:33Alphonso Smith 30 Yd Interception Return (Jason Hanson Kick) 728
minTD07:36Percy Harvin 6 Yd Pass From Christian Ponder (Ryan Longwell Kick) 1428
detFG01:05Jason Hanson 30 Yd 1431
THIRD QUARTERMINDET
minTD04:21Joe Webb 65 Yd Run (Ryan Longwell Kick) 2131
FOURTH QUARTERMINDET
detFG12:17Jason Hanson 26 Yd 2134
minTD07:54Toby Gerhart 2 Yd Pass From Joe Webb (Ryan Longwell Kick) 2834

Research Notes

NEXT LEVEL: Eric Wright, a Detroit Lions cornerback, knocked down three passes and one interception in Sunday against the Vikings.
NEXT LEVEL: Matthew Stafford had success against the Vikings' defense when they sent 4 or less pass rushers, completing 14 of 17 passes with 2 touchdowns.
  [+]
For the 3rd time since 1980, the Lions scored at least 31 points in the 1st half. Coincidentally, all of those instances came against the Vikings.
It is the first time that the Vikings have allowed at least 21 1st quarter points since December 18, 1995 (21 vs 49ers). It's the 6th time its been done in franchise history.
The Lions scored 21 points in the 1st quarter, their most 1st-quarter points since December 10, 1990 (21 vs Raiders).

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