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Detroit at Minnesota

Big D: Lions dominate Bridgewater, Vikings 17-3

By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer
  •  

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Detroit Lions are playing some dominant defense.

With Ziggy Ansah and Ndamukong Suh leading a relentless rush, the Lions had eight sacks and three interceptions of Minnesota rookie Teddy Bridgewater in a 17-3 victory over the Vikings on Sunday.

Joique Bell put the game away with a fourth-quarter touchdown run to finish with 74 yards on 18 carries, and the Lions (4-2) won at Minnesota for only the second time in their last 17 trips. They entered the week with the fewest yards per game and the second-fewest points per game allowed in the NFL and still managed to top themselves, playing some stingy defense in a division that lacked it last season.

''It's definitely something to be proud of, but at the end of the day it's very early in the season,'' said Suh, who had two sacks and a big hand in holding the Vikings to 69 yards on 18 rushes. ''If we're talking Week 17 or Week 16 and we're still at this pace, which I expect this defense to do, then we can start to be really excited about it because it's translating to wins.''

So far, so good. The Lions bounced back firmly from a 17-14 loss to Buffalo.

''You have to find a way to stem the tide a little bit. I think our guys were ready to put that one behind them,'' coach Jim Caldwell said.

With Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush absent because of ankle injuries, the Lions played a low-risk game and were forced to punt as often as the Vikings: seven times each. Detroit converted only one of 13 third downs.

Matthew Stafford wasn't at his best, missing his three-time All-Pro wide receiver and finishing 19 for 33 for 185 yards. Theo Riddick caught five passes for 75 yards and a touchdown, the latest running back to work his way into the game plan this season. Riddick later hurt his hamstring.

But Stafford was turnover-free, most importantly, and good enough to lead a seven-play, 80-yard opening drive for a score to put the defense in position to dominate. The Lions kept pace with three-time defending NFC North champion Green Bay, which won 27-24 at Miami on a last-second touchdown. The Lions beat the Packers 19-7 at home last month.

''We were just out there on a mission, trying to get back on track,'' said linebacker Tahir Whitehead, who picked off Bridgewater twice, both on tipped balls.

Ansah, who was limping around at times, didn't have any trouble reaching Bridgewater. He had 2 1/2 sacks, as seven different Lions were credited with at least a half of a sack. They held the Vikings to 212 total yards.

''Hats off to Detroit. Great defense. They're No. 1 in the league for a reason,'' said Bridgewater, who finished 23 for 37 for 188 yards.

One of the interceptions was tipped at the line by Devin Taylor and another went through running back Matt Asiata's hands. But Bridgewater also ended a promising opening possession by locking his eyes on Cordarrelle Patterson in the end zone. He threw late on a post pattern, allowing Glover Quin to pick the ball off with ease.

The Vikings talked this week about getting the ball more to Patterson, but he was a nonfactor again with one carry for 2 yards and two catches for 15 yards. Bridgewater, left largely unprotected during another shaky performance by the offensive line, targeted Patterson with eight passes.

''I'm extremely disappointed about this loss. I can handle getting beat, but I can't handle getting our butts whipped like that,'' coach Mike Zimmer said.

The one problem for Detroit? Two more missed field goal attempts. Newcomer Matt Prater, the third kicker used by the Lions in four weeks, made a 52-yarder but missed from 50 and 44 into swirling wind. Caldwell said he wasn't concerned.

NOTES: Suh, in his fifth season, passed Shaun Rogers on the franchise list for career sacks by a defensive tackle, with 30 1/2. Rogers played seven years for the Lions. ... Jerick McKinnon moved ahead of Asiata as the featured runner for the Vikings and totaled 82 total yards on 17 touches. ... The Lions have missed 10 of 15 field goals this season.

---

AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Sun. Oct. 12Final
Detroit
(4-2)
730717
00033
LionsVikings
Pass: M. Stafford (19-33, 185) T. Bridgewater (23-37, 188)
Rush: J. Bell (18-74) J. McKinnon (11-40)
Rec: T. Riddick (5-75) J. McKinnon (6-42)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDTheo Riddick catches a 9 yard pass from Matthew Stafford (Matt Prater kick is good). Drive: 7 plays, 80 yards in 3:54.
2ND QUARTER
FGMatt Prater makes 52 yard kick. Drive: 5 plays, 17 yards in 0:38.
3RD QUARTER
None
4TH QUARTER
TDJoique Bell runs for 1 yard (Matt Prater kick is good). Drive: 14 plays, 60 yards in 7:54.
FGBlair Walsh makes 40 yard kick. Drive: 11 plays, 45 yards in 4:21.

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Players of the Game
Minnesota

T. Bridgewater
Att 37
Comp 23
Yds 188
TD 0
Detroit

J. Bell
Rush 18
Yds 74
Avg 4.1
TD 1
 
Detroit
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
M. Stafford19/3318510
RushingATTYDSTDLG
J. Bell1874113
G. Winn51604
T. Riddick3603
J. Collins1303
M. Stafford1101
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
T. Riddick575141
G. Tate744015
J. Bell223015
E. Ebron223012
C. Fuller21207
J. Ross1808
Minnesota
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
T. Bridgewater23/3718803
RushingATTYDSTDLG
J. McKinnon114009
J. Wright121021
T. Bridgewater31108
C. Patterson1202
M. Asiata2-50-2
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
J. McKinnon642013
C. Ford437013
G. Jennings333016
C. Johnson222015
M. Asiata118018
J. Wright41706
C. Patterson21509
R. Ellison1404
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
IND 33 Final
HOU 28
CHI 27 Final
ATL 13
NE 37 Final
BUF 22
CAR 37 Final
CIN 37
PIT 10 Final
CLE 31
GB 27 Final
MIA 24
DEN 31 Final
NYJ 17
BAL 48 Final
TB 17
JAC 14 Final
TEN 16
SD 31 Final
OAK 28
WAS 20 Final
ARI 30
DAL 30 Final
SEA 23
NYG 0 Final
PHI 27
SF 31 Final
STL 17