Lions Barely Beat Vikings 34-28 On Final Play

Gallery: Vikes Fall To Lions

DETROIT (AP) — DeAndre Levy had a fist full of Joe Webb’s facemask, got away with it, and wasn’t apologizing for Detroit’s good fortune in a 34-28 win over Minnesota on Sunday.

“We get a lot of calls called against us,” the Lions linebacker said. “So, they owed us one if I did.”

Detroit (8-5) is still in prime position in the NFC wild-card race. Barely.

Webb had the Vikings a yard away from a potential winning touchdown on the game’s final snap, but the backup quarterback fumbled just before Levy’s right hand tugged his facemask, and a penalty wasn’t called.

“I didn’t see a replay, but people have told me that they grabbed Joe’s facemask,” Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said.

Oh, the Vikings (2-11) will get plenty of chances to see an apparent missed call that would’ve given them one more shot to win with no time on the clock.

“No one is going to remember how this game ended,” insisted Detroit defensive end Cliff Avril, who fell on the loose ball at the Minnesota 43 to conclude the wild final play. “It only matters that we got the win.”

The Lions, seeking to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season, were in a precarious spot coming in after losing five of seven.

They looked as though they were going to win easily, leading by 21 twice in the first half, but Webb made it interesting when he replaced Christian Ponder in the third quarter after the rookie’s fourth turnover.

Webb ran for a 65-yard score to pull the Vikings within 10 points late in the third and tossed a 2-yard TD pass to Toby Gerhart that made it 34-28 midway through the fourth quarter

Detroit didn’t pick up enough first downs to seal the victory, giving Webb another opportunity.

He drove the Vikings down the field, and they had first-and-goal at the 1 with 9 seconds left after Avril jumped offside to stop the clock and move Minnesota a yard closer to the end zone.

Replays clearly showed Levy yanking Webb’s facemask, but a flag wasn’t thrown. Levy’s hand grazed the ball, knocking it loose, just before he grabbed on, and he was credited with the sack and forced fumble.

The ball popped free at the 11 and was batted back toward midfield by Detroit’s Stephen Tulloch. Webb ran it down and tried to pick it up, but the football came loose again and Avril pounced on it.

Webb couldn’t complain afterward because he said couldn’t remember what happened.

“I had so many things running through my head,” Webb said. “I was just trying to make a play.”

Matthew Stafford threw for two scores in the first quarter to give Detroit one of its three-touchdown leads. But the Vikings, playing for pride, nearly rallied from a 31-14 halftime deficit and a 34-21 hole early in the fourth quarter.

The Lions almost blew a big lead as the Vikings did in Week 3 against them.

Detroit won at Minnesota 26-23 in overtime after trailing 20-0 at halftime. This time, Detroit led by 17 after two quarters despite making just five first downs and going 0-for-5 on third down.

The Vikings committed four turnovers in the first half, including a play when running back Lorenzo Booker fumbled without being touched, and finished with six.

Ponder was benched after his fourth turnover. He fumbled on his first play of the game, getting stripped by Avril, and Tulloch recovered for a score. Ponder threw an interception on his fourth snap to set up Stafford’s first TD pass. Alphonso Smith made his second interception early in the second quarter and returned it for a TD to give Detroit a 28-7 lead.

“I gave them 17 points in the first half,” Ponder said.

Ponder’s day was done after he threw his third interception on the opening drive of the third quarter, faking a handoff to no one, rolling right and throwing over the middle to cornerback Eric Wright.

Webb replaced Ponder and promptly scored on his long run to pull Minnesota within 31-21.

The Lions stalled at the Vikings 2 on the ensuing drive, and instead of going for it on fourth-and-1, they settled for Jason Hanson’s field goal and a 34-21 lead.

That almost wasn’t big enough.

“We just got to close out teams,” Tulloch said. “We can’t get comfortable.”

NOTES: Stafford was 20 of 29 for 227 yards without a turnover. … Ponder, playing with a hip pointer, was 11 of 21 for 115 yards with two TDs. Frazier said he’d start next week if healthy. … Webb ran for 109 yards and was 12 of 23 for another 84. … Vikings RB Adrian Peterson missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. … Minnesota’s Percy Harvin had a career-high 10 receptions for 109 yards and a score. … Detroit was missing RB Kevin Smith (right ankle), two starters in the secondary — Louis Delmas (right knee) and cornerback Chris Houston (left knee) — and DT Ndamukong Suh, who served the second of his two-game suspension for stomping on a Green Bay Packer on Thanksgiving. … Vikings DE Jared Allen had three sacks for the second time against Detroit this year, putting him at 100½ sacks over his eight-year career.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • g8bbgg

    The Vikings loose…again, and how is this news? Time to let them move and stop.

    • B.Favre

      I sure am glad this is the Vikes last season in Minnesota.

    • Forrester

      I’ll bet LA is just chomping at the bit to land a sorry 2-14 team of wifebeating drunks

    • Real Talk

      Love all the group home residents who come to Vikings articles to complain about the vikings. ROFLMAO!!

      Logic would dictate that if you didnt like the team…you would have anything to do with them. Maybe your case workers can help you sharpen those logic skills before you re-enter society?

      Also love the mental midgets that equate perfoming = stadium chances. I thought you people were against the stadium no matter what? Now you say its because they lose your against it? I havent seen this kind of inconsistency & flip flopping since John Kerry in ’04.

      Cant reason with Stupid. You win. Congrats Goobers!!!!

  • Grow a brain, already

    Well of course they did, because the Viqueens suck – have since the Purple People Eaters, and likely will for the rest of time they’re here in Minnesota – duh.

    • OMG

      Oh my God. How old are you? Why are you still alive? What was it like before sliced bread? How does the whole, “uphill both ways” thing work?

      You are so old, decrepit and senile, the internet is the only place you can get people to listen to you. I bet your kids probably beat you when you open your yap to them. If i was your kids, i would make you shut your hole before you got slapped into a Home.

      Shut up and die already you ancient relic that no one appreciates. You have no purpose in this life. Time to recognize that and give us all a break…i’m tired of paying for your SSI. Much rather give it to the Vikes.

  • John

    How can you put appeared to get away with a face mask. You politically correct idiot. Did you even watch the play?

    • something stinks

      John, nice comment. I think I just messed myself. Not alot, maybe a teaspoon full.

  • Paul Kare

    What a good sunday afternoon. 3 losers. Dayton, Zig and the Vikes. Sure makes my sunday

  • Jake

    Yes, the referees were BLIND as BATS, not just on the last play, either. Same thing happens year after year, when the Vikes play, the refs almost always seem to have something else on their minds other than calling a FAIR GAME. The NFL isn’t going to let this team win, they are making a ton of cash on the Packers, why kill the cash cow?

    • Steve K

      Hey Jake did you watch the GB game, Now there is a team to be proud of. Yup just like a blind Queens fan. Blame it on the refs. rotflmao

      • Jake

        I guess that you didn’t watch the Vikes game then. The late hit on Ponder, that didn’t get a penalty, but should get a FINE, the ‘fumble’, that, IMO, was an imcomplete pass that stopped a drive in the second half, and that last play was an OBVIOUS face mask that should have resulted in another play for the Vikes. Even the announcers saw them pretty easily. Yes, the Vikes hurt themselves with turnovers, but their offense and special teams were kicking Detroit’s butts big time, even without Peterson or a top-notch QB. Our defense played better than they have lately as well.

  • A Fan

    So the Vikes have lost 8-11 games by 7 points or fewer. Most of the ig’s who post here are in negative numbers!

  • Sam

    The Packers aren’t trying to rip off the taxpayers in Wisconsin like the Vikings are here.

    The Packers are winners
    The Vikings are losers.

    …because of the behavior of the owners.

    • On the head with that one

      Your last phrase hits the nail on the head … “because of the behavior of the owners.”

      You got that right.

  • Something smells like rotten fish

    It’s been awfully quiet on the stadium front. 100 to 1 says Zygi, Bennett, Dayton, Bagley, and others are plotting some nefarious scheme to stick the taxpayers with a huge stadium bill.

    Wonder if Dayton burned his cookies today. I’ll bet that was the highlight of the MN social season.

    • Real Talk

      Is this really Jess Ventura? How are those conspiracy theories working out for you?

      Time to take off your tin foil hat & back to earth. Better yet, get a job and STFU.


    There was also an illegal bat on he play which also would have put the ball at the 1/2 yardline for another play.

  • It's just football

    Does anyone want to buy my Viking playoff tickets? In August Zigi told me they were a sure thing. Will sell at at discount.

    • Jake

      How much will you pay ME to take them off of YOUR hands? Make sure it’s enough to cover the overpriced costs of parking, beer, and feed.

  • weswon

    Just another disappointing game in the Vikings 51 year history. Does Bud Grant really think this is entertainment? Oh well I guess its better to loose here rather in 5 super bowl appearances or in the play offs. Enjoy L.A. Ziggy or where ever you are going with the Vikestinkings.

  • MrBB

    Build it and these fair weather fairy fans will come, they will! Build it, build it, build it….

  • Jake

    The NFL will do ANYTHING to try and manipulate a game or two to ‘help’ a dying city, just like they did with New Orleans two years ago. Detroit is on life-support, and if the NFL can ‘help’ that city, well, that is what they will do. Trouble is, this time, Detroit isn’t as good as NO was two years ago, and while they may make the playoffs, I doubt that they will go far. Too many other teams will kick their butts soon enough, GB, 49ers, ATL, DAL, Pitt, NE, etc.

    • Full of it there Jake

      Jake – shake the alcohol and hangover huh
      The Purple were blessed to even have a chance to possibly pull off this thing. They so sadly hand it handed to them in the first half I suspect the Lions, like many teams including the Vikes in past, somewhat lost the edge and ceased playing.
      No help handed to them dummy – but if it makes you feel better, then think so I guess. And using that logic maybe you need to pray they do the same then for the Purple lads who are on life support and near homeless. ;-)
      I don’t care who wins when the Vikes play anyone, unless it is against the Chargers I suppose (?) Not even sure I care there but from Diego so I have some ties.
      I am a coach, love the game for the game, and may the best coached and most professional team that day win the game.
      nuf said

  • Bill

    They lost on the final play?

    How about the FIRST play where they fumbled and gave the Lions seven points?

  • Murph

    They played well at the end and were lucky not to get the win! A better offensive lineman or wide reciever in the draft will really help.Webb and Ponder are both on the edge of becoming very good QB”S. A couple of veteran defensive backs will cost them some dollars,but would be well worth the investment.The right half dozen new players and they could match up with anyone!

  • StraycatStrut

    Vikes dug themselve another hole which was hard to get over. Where is the “Pass Defense” seems they play 5-10 yards off the receiver. And in the end…1 play… no ref calls….. seemed Bud Grant had the same problems with refs some 40 years ago. The team will get better eventually and if Dayton ever wakes up (Democrats sleep late due to lack of ideas or creative thinking)….. we’ll nail down the stadium.

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