Late interception helps Lions edge Vikings
Darius Slay dropped into coverage as if he was going to cover a deep route and pounced on an opportunity to help the Lions come back to win another game.
Slay intercepted Sam Bradford’s pass from the left hash across the field to help send the Lions into sole possession of first place in the NFC North.
Slay returned the interception 13 yards with 30 seconds left to set up Matt Prater’s 40-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the Lions to a 16-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday.
Minnesota could have stuck with the conservative approach it took on offense for much of the game and played for overtime on its last drive, but coach Mike Zimmer allowed Bradford to pass and Slay made him regret it.
“I knew they were going to throw,” Slay said. “They didn’t want overtime. They know what happened last time.”
Earlier this month, Prater made a game-tying 58-yard field goal at the end of regulation at Minnesota and the Lions won in overtime.
Slay, a standout cornerback, who calls himself “Big Play Slay,” fooled Bradford by coming up and stepping in front of Adam Thielen to pick off the pass.
“I wish I could have seen him fall off the outside route and come back in,” Bradford said.
The Lions (7-4) have won six of seven, including two against Minnesota this month and four of the wins have come on Prater’s field goals.
Slay sealed the first victory during the successful stretch with an interception late in the game on Oct. 9 against Philadelphia.
“He’s as good as they come in those situations,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “He’s kind of got a knack for it. He’s a bit of a riverboat gambler.”
The Vikings (6-5) have lost five of six, plummeting out of first place after surging to the top of the division by winning their first five games.
LOSING THE LEAD(S)
Forbath put the Vikings ahead for the first time, giving them a 13-10 lead early in the fourth on a 28-yard field goal after Cordarrelle Patterson gained 22 yards on a reverse .
The Lions moved a step closer toward winning a division title for the first time since 1993 by breaking a tie atop the NFC North with Minnesota.
If both teams finish the regular season tied atop the division, Detroit would win the tiebreaker.
“If they were handing out trophies the day after this win, I’d feel a little bit different,” Caldwell said. “It means nothing right now, right? We haven’t done anything.”
Minnesota didn’t convert a third down until Bradford connected with Patterson late in the third quarter and finished 2 of 10 on third down.
“We weren’t good enough on third downs offensively,” Zimmer said. “We can’t continue to shoot ourselves in the foot with some of those penalties and negative plays.”