Found September 30, 2012 on isportsweb.com:
PLAYERS: Calvin Johnson
TEAMS: Detroit Lions

The real story here is that the Detroit Lions are 1-3, and after suffering two bad losses in a row, seem to be out of any sort of playoff contention.

But that certainly isn’t the only story.

The Lions were run out of their own building by the Minnesota Vikings 20-13, leaving Detroit in a state of shock.

Following a year in which Detroit started the season 5-0 and went on to make the playoffs, the Lions’ 1-3 start can certainly be classified as a huge disappointment.

Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin set the tone in the game by returning the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown.  Special teams once again turned out to be the difference in the game for Detroit, as they gave up a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown as well.

The special teams unit was terrible and the offense was just as bad, as they were able to score only 13 points.  The Lions’ sole touchdown came late in the fourth quarter when Detroit was furiously trying to erase a 14-point deficit.  Detroit leads the NFL in drops with 12 according to Fox’s Brian Billick, and Sunday was no exception.  Brandon Pettigrew, Titus Young, and even Calvin Johnson dropped passes in this game, and it cost the Lions dearly.

For those looking for the bright spot in this game, Detroit’s defense played well from start to finish, allowing only 227 yards of offense to the Vikings.  Adrian Peterson had

Avril was one of few bright spots for Detroit

over 100 yards rushing, but Detroit was able to stop him from getting any big plays.  Cliff Avril finally made an impact, recording .5 of a sack, a tackle for loss, and three QB hits.

However, penalties still plagued the defense, especially corner Bill Bentley.  Bentley was flagged twice for pass interference on deep balls down the sideline. Bentley has shown some promise, but it is still clear he is a rookie.

Speaking of rookies, I have absolutely no good news for anyone the Lions drafted this year.

None.

Well, Ryan Broyles did see the field today.  Just enough to drop a pass.

Detroit never got the running game established, and finished with only 55 yards rushing on the day.  RB Mikel Leshoure got hit in the backfield with regularity, and had eight carries for six yards at the half.  Leshoure also lost a fumble in the second half, which killed a Detroit drive that was nearing Minnesota’s 25-yard line.  The Leshoure fumble destroyed what little momentum the Lions had, turning the tide of the game.

For Minnesota, the win brings their record to 3-1, and was their first win against an NFC North opponent since 2010.

For Detroit, the loss effectively eliminates them from playoff contention when looking ahead at the schedule they face.

The Lions continue to give up big plays, and continue to lose.  If the Lions don’t work on their discipline, this could become a very, very long season for the team and its fans.

Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny

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