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Minnesota at Detroit

Vikings continue revival at beleaguered Lions' expense

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

DETROIT -- Brad Johnson heaved a pass, pumped his fist and shouted with joy.

The Minnesota Vikings are back -- and Johnson is, too.

Johnson threw two touchdowns, including an 80-yard pass to Koren Robinson that fired up the 37-year-old quarterback, and the Vikings held on to beat the Detroit Lions 21-16 Sunday.

Minnesota's mess is becoming a distant memory. Detroit's is getting worse.

The Vikings (7-5) have won five in a row, salvaging their season after a bad start and the now infamous boat party.

"We've gotten ourselves out of a deep, deep hole," Johnson said. "We're back in the ballgame, with four games left."

Detroit (4-8) has lost five of six and didn't seem to be sparked by Dick Jauron in his debut as interim coach. In just six weeks, the Lions have gone from sharing the division lead to being mathematically eliminated from the race.

Fed-up fans booed quarterback Jeff Garcia throughout the game, and directed their anger toward team president Matt Millen during much of the second half.

"Man, this is supposed to be our home stadium," said receiver Roy Williams, shaking his head. "This felt like a road game."

The Vikings appeared to be in control leading by 15 early in the third quarter after Michael Bennett's second TD, but the Lions rallied before losing their eighth straight in the series.

Artose Pinner scored on a 6-yard run to make it 21-16 with 7:38 left after cornerback Brian Williams had an interception return for a score negated by a penalty.

The Lions got the ball back at their 7 with 2:46 left after Paul Edinger -- punting in place of injured Chris Kluwe -- made a low, bouncing kick.

Detroit drove to midfield before Garcia's up-for-grabs lob was intercepted by leaping safety Corey Chavous at Minnesota's 2 with 52 seconds left.

"I was glad we got back on the field because in those situations, you want an opportunity to make a play," Chavous said.

The Lions led once -- briefly. After Jason Hanson kicked a field goal on the opening drive, Johnson needed only one play to put the Vikings ahead with his long pass to Robinson.

Johnson, who was 17-for-23 for a season-high 256 yards, is 5-0 since starting in place of the injured Daunte Culpepper.

"He's throwing it on time and he's throwing it precise," Robinson said. "He's like Greg Maddux."

Johnson has thrown eight TDs and just two interceptions after Culpepper had twice as many interceptions (12) as TDs (six) before having season-ending surgery on his right knee.

Bennett had 79 yards rushing and a 7-yard TD, and caught a 5-yard TD to give the Vikings a 21-6 lead in the third quarter. Robinson caught four passes for 148 yards, surpassing his previous season total, and a TD.

The loudest cheers at Ford Field came when a fan held a "Fire Millen" sign behind Minnesota's bench in the third quarter.

Security scurried to take the sign away and more messages like it, but "Fire Mil-len!" chants could not be stopped. One fan amused the crowd as he ran from section to section, dodging security, holding up an anti-Millen sign.

"That was crazy stuff," said Edinger, whose game-winning, season-ending kick while playing for Chicago led to Millen's hiring.

The Lions are an NFL-worst 20-56 since Millen took over the franchise in 2001.

Garcia, who was cheered as Joey Harrington's backup, was booed regularly as Jauron's-picked starter and the rest of his teammates didn't escape the wrath of the crowd.

"We worked on that," Minnesota coach Mike Tice joked. "We talked about getting the crowd to boo them early."

Garcia finished 17-of-35 for 126 yards and an interception.

"We don't have the confidence in each other that we need to make plays," Garcia said.

A play after Hanson's 45-yard field goal gave Detroit its only lead, Johnson lofted a perfect pass to Robinson, who simply ran past cornerback R.W. McQuarters for the score.

"We put that play in on Thursday. We knew it was coming," Robinson said. "They said that they wanted to go at R.W. McQuarters, and he happened to line up on me."

It was Minnesota's longest play of the year, and was Johnson's longest pass since 1996.

"What a great throw from Brad. He's having hernia surgery tomorrow," Tice joked. "He threw that thing as far as he could throw it."

When Garcia threw a pass at Williams' feet on the ensuing possession, the crowd chanted "Jo-ey! Jo-ey!" in a humorous moment because those same fans have jeered Harrington throughout his career.

Notes

  • Detroit WR Charles Rogers, the second pick overall in 2003, was inactive despite being healthy and RB Kevin Jones (thigh) also did not play.
  • Kluwe and RB Mewelde Moore injured ankles during the game.
  • Detroit LBs Boss Bailey (ankle) and Nate Wayne (ankle) and FS Jon McGraw (shoulder) were injured.
  • Culpepper attended the game.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Vikings WR Koren Robinson outruns Lions CB R.W. McQuarters for an 80-yard touchdown ...
 
Vikings WR Koren Robinson outruns Lions CB R.W. McQuarters for an 80-yard touchdown ... (AP)
 

 

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Sun. Dec. 4Final
777021
Detroit
(4-8)
333716
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
FGJason Hanson 45 Yd, 8:06. Drive: 13 plays, 35 yards in 6:54.
TDKoren Robinson, 80 Yd pass from Brad Johnson (Paul Edinger kick is good), 7:56. Drive: 1 play, 80 yards in 0:10.
2ND QUARTER
TDMichael Bennett, 7 Yd run (Paul Edinger kick is good), 13:53. Drive: 5 plays, 68 yards in 2:12.
FGJason Hanson 26 Yd, 0:08. Drive: 5 plays, 10 yards in 0:28.
3RD QUARTER
TDMichael Bennett, 5 Yd pass from Brad Johnson (Paul Edinger kick is good), 10:45. Drive: 9 plays, 64 yards in 4:15.
FGJason Hanson 28 Yd, 1:51. Drive: 8 plays, 71 yards in 3:34.
4TH QUARTER
TDArtose Pinner, 6 Yd run (Jason Hanson kick is good), 7:38. Drive: 10 plays, 73 yards in 5:50.
Players of the Game

J. Hanson
FG 3/3
LG 45
XP 1/1
PTS 10

K. Robinson
Rec 4
Yds 148
Avg 37.0
TD 1
 
Minnesota
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
B. Johnson17/2325620
RushingATTYDSTDLG
M. Bennett2279116
C. Fason413015
K. Robinson1909
B. Johnson4807
M. Moore1-60-6
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
K. Robinson4148180
M. Robinson332016
N. Burleson226015
J. Kleinsasser426010
T. Taylor114014
M. Bennett31015
Detroit
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
J. Garcia17/3512601
RushingATTYDSTDLG
A. Pinner1464112
S. Bryson62909
J. Garcia31209
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
A. Pinner339019
R. Williams434013
S. Bryson426010
M. Pollard21007
S. Vines21006
M. Williams1606
C. Fitzsimmons1101
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
SEA 42 Final
PHI 0
OAK 10 Final
SD 34
NYJ 3 Final
NE 16
DEN 27 Final
KC 31
JAC 20 Final
CLE 14
ARI 17 Final
SF 10
WAS 24 Final
STL 9
CIN 38 Final
PIT 31
DAL 10 Final
NYG 17
TB 10 Final
NO 3
BUF 23 Final
MIA 24
TEN 3 Final
IND 35
GB 7 Final
CHI 19
ATL 6 Final
CAR 24
HOU 15 Final
BAL 16