The Lions finally found a victory when Jared Goff threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown as time expired, lifting previously winless Detroit to a 29-27 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
Not only was the finish dramatic, it was stunning. Goff led the Lions on a 75-yard decisive possession without a timeout after Kirk Cousins threw a go-ahead 3-yard touchdown pass to Justin Jefferson with 1:50 left. The Vikings failed on a 2-point conversion for the third time; those missed opportunities proved costly.
Goff threw two touchdown passes in the first half to put Detroit ahead by 14 points, its biggest lead this season. Then he turned over the ball twice in the second half to help Minnesota rally.
He came through in the end, leading the long drive and delivering a sharp pass to the rookie receiver, who took advantage of the Vikings secondary playing too deep in the end zone.
The Lions (1-10-1) ended a 15-game winless streak that lasted 364 days since winning at Chicago last season, giving first-year coach Dan Campbell his first victory with the franchise.
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The Vikings (5-7) hurt their chances of earning a wild-card spot in the playoffs by losing a game they were favored to win by a touchdown — and led until the very last tick of the clock.
Minnesota has the dubious distinction of being the first team Detroit beat this year because it missed chances to score more often, and allowed an offensively challenged team to score more than 17 points for the first time since Week 1.
The Vikings, perhaps lulled to sleep in the first half by the Lions’ gray “Color Rush” alternate uniforms that looked like pajamas, woke up with 16 points in the first 18 minutes after halftime.
Red-zone woes, though, will haunt them when they look back at how they let the Lions win. Minnesota had the ball inside the Detroit 20 twice in the first quarter, settling for field goals and a 6-0 lead, and Greg Joseph kicked another field goal in the third quarter after a drive stalled at the Lions 12.
Cousins connected on a third-and-goal from the 5 with a pass under the goal posts to a diving K.J. Osborn to pull within two early in the fourth quarter. Minnesota failed to convert on a pair of 2-point conversions in the second half, letting the Lions cling to a 23-21 lead early in the fourth period.
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Detroit drove to the Vikings 38 on the ensuing possession and Goff tried to force a pass to T.J. Hockenson that was picked off by Cameron Dantzler. That led to the wild final minutes.
Goff finished 25 of 41 for 296 yards with three touchdowns, an interception and a fumble. St. Brown had 10 receptions for 86 yards — and the touchdown that set off a roar in Ford Field loud enough it might’ve been heard on Motor City streets.
Cousins was 30 of 40 for 340 yards with two touchdowns and a fumble. Jefferson had 11 receptions for a career-high 182 yards, taking advantage of an increased role when Adam Thielen was injured early in the game.