Detroit Lions stun Minnesota Vikings with TD on final play for first win, 29-27

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Dan Campbell threw his arms in the air, fists clenched in jubilation.

Jared Goff sprinted to his coach and the sideline and the two embraced in a big bear hug.

After 11 games of shock, frustration and sometimes pitiful play, the Detroit Lions finally got a late-game break to go their way.

Goff rebounded from two fourth quarter turnovers and the Lions overcame a questionable late-game coaching decision by Campbell that backfired to win their first game of the season, 29-27, on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Goff to Amon-Ra St. Brown as time expired.

The Lions, 1-10-1, had been the only winless team in the NFL, and had lost three times on field goals as time expired, including to the Vikings earlier this season in Minnesota, 19-17.

They had not won a game in 364 days, since beating the Chicago Bears in Darrell Bevell’s first game as interim coach Dec. 6, 2020.

The Lions played their best offensive football in the season in Sunday’s first half, then nearly wilted under pressure in the final nine minutes.

Leading 23-21, Goff threw his seventh interception of the season when he tried to squeeze a pass to T.J. Hockenson through two defenders as St. Brown ran wide open across the other side of the field.

The Lions forced a punt on the next possession with the help of two Vikings penalties, and started their next possession at their own 28-yard line with a chance to run the final 5:32 off the clock.

Jamaal Williams was stopped for a 1-yard gain on third-and-2, leaving the Lions in fourth-and-1 with 4:08 on the clock.

Rather than punt, Campbell called a play-action pass, but Blake Lynch came unblocked off the edge and ripped a fumble out of Goff’s hands as Goff cocked his arm to pass.

The Vikings (5-7) took over at the own 19-yard line, and Kirk Cousins threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Justin Jefferson with 1:50 left that seemed to seal the Lions’ fate of another loss.

Instead, Goff answered with a touchdown drive, moving downfield in small chunks: 5 yards to Hockenson; 6 to Josh Reynolds; 9 to KhaDarel Hodge.

Godwin Igwebuike converted a third-and-10 with a 13-yard pass and outraced a Vikings defender to the sideline to preserve key time on the clock.

The Lions had second-and-10 at their own 19-yard line with 12 seconds left when Goff threw a short out to St. Brown for a 7-yard gain. After throwing incomplete in Reynolds’ direction on third down, the Lions lined up for one final play on fourth-and-2 with 4 seconds left.

St. Brown lined up to the far left of the formation and found a soft spot in Minnesota’s zone, between cornerback Cameron Dantzler and safety Xavier Woods for the easy touchdown catch that sent the Lions sideline into a frenzy.

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Goff finished 25 of 41 passing for 296 yards with three touchdowns as the Lions topped 20 points for the first time since Week 1. St. Brown added 86 yards receiving on 10 catches.

Kirk Cousins was 30 of 40 passing for 340 yards for the Vikings. Alexander Mattison added 90 yards rushing and a touchdown on 22 carries.

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Contact Dave Birkett at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions stun Vikings on final play for 1st win, 29-27

 

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