Vikings sack Lions 24-9

Dave Campbell Ap Pro Football Writer
Monday, November 5, 2018

AP PHOTO
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is sacked by Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson on Sunday in Minneapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings turned their defensive line loose on Matthew Stafford in a dominant performance that would have made the old Purple People Eaters proud.

This unstoppable pass rush was led, predictably, by Danielle Hunter.

Hunter had 3 1/2 of Minnesota's franchise-record 10 sacks plus a fourth-quarter fumble return for a touchdown , tormenting Stafford and the Detroit Lions all afternoon in a 24-9 victory by the Vikings on Sunday.

"We knew he liked to throw the ball down the field, so that's something that really helped us a lot because he held on to the ball," said Hunter, who moved into the NFL lead with 11 1/2 sacks for the season. "So as long as we executed the rush plan, we knew we'd be able to get back there."

Hunter also was credited with nine tackles and four quarterback hits. The Vikings (5-3-1) limited the Lions (3-5) to a season-low 214 total yards, and their pressure on Stafford was so intense he literally had pieces of rubber pellets from the artificial turf flushed out of his left eye in the second quarter. The Lions had a streak of 25 consecutive games with at least 14 points come to a crashing halt.

"The fault is on everybody," said Stafford, who was sacked a total of 13 times over the first seven games. "I have to get the ball out faster."

After Dalvin Cook dropped a pitch from Kirk Cousins and A'Shawn Robinson recovered at the Detroit 28 with Minnesota leading 17-6, the Lions converted a fake punt to keep that drive alive. Two plays later, Stafford ran right on the short side of the field and tried an option-style flip that Kerryon Johnson was unable to secure, and Hunter scooped it up on his way to the easy score.

"I don't know why he pitched it. He could've just run," Hunter said. "I thought it was a pass all the way, but I guess he didn't want to get hit or something."

That happened a lot, including a total of three times in the second quarter on two separate possessions inside the Minnesota 20 that forced the Lions to settle for field goals by Matt Prater.

After a throw by Cousins to Adam Thielen near midfield was intercepted by Darius Slay, the Lions made it as far as the 12-yard line. Hunter sacked Stafford on consecutive snaps, sharing the first one with Everson Griffen.

"He's a freak of nature. He looks like a superhero," Griffen said of the fourthyear defensive end. "I expected that from him."

Nine of the 10 sacks by the Vikings came from their front four, including 2 1/2 by backup defensive tackle Tom Johnson.

During the heyday of the Purple People Eaters, the Vikings had nine sacks in a game in 1968, 1969 and 1970. They also did it in 1993. But this was the record-setter, thanks to a well-timed mix of blitzes called by coach Mike Zimmer and the relentless rush by Hunter and his friends up front.

"We know if we give them time, they'll get there," safety Harrison Smith said. "It's fun to be a part of."

TEXANS 19, BRONCOS 17

DENVER (AP) — Brandon McManus missed a 51-yard field goal as time expired, leaving Demaryius Thomas a winner in his homecoming and Houston escaped Denver with a win.

The Texans (6-3) won their sixth straight and the Broncos (3-6) lost for the sixth time in seven games.

Thomas finished with three receptions for 61 yards, but two of them were back-to-back for 31 and 18 yards on the Texans' opening touchdown drive.

McManus' second miss of the game came after Case Keenum completed an 18-yard pass between two defenders to Emmanuel Sanders on fourth-and-8 from the Denver 45-yard line.

Keenum threw a 5-yard pass to tight end Jeff Heuerman, who had a career-best 10 catches for 83 yards and then running back Phillip Lindsay lost a yard.

After Denver called a timeout with 3 seconds left, the Texans did the same, then rushed the field in relief after McManus' kick drifted wide right.

LAC 25, SEAHAWKS 17

SEATTLE (AP) — Philip Rivers made his 200th consecutive start and kept Los Angeles surging at the midpoint of the season, surviving a late rally by Seattle's Russell Wilson.

Rivers threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns, Melvin Gordon added 113 yards rushing and the Chargers won their fifth straight with a 25-17 win over the Seahawks on Sunday.

Rivers threw touchdown passes of 12 yards to Tyrell Williams and 30 yards to Mike Williams, and let the Chargers defense stymie Russell Wilson until the final minutes. Seattle had won four of five following a 0-2 start.

Desmond King provided the deciding points for Los Angeles (6-2) by stepping in front of Wilson's pass for David Moore and returning it 42 yards for a touchdown with 6:44 remaining to give the Chargers a 25-10 lead.

Wilson managed to make the final minutes nervous for Los Angeles.

Wilson hit Nick Vannett on a 6-yard TD with 1:50 remaining to cut the Chargers' lead to one score. Seattle got the ball back with 1:24 left at its own 22 and after two completions and a roughing the passer penalty on Melvin Ingram, the Seahawks were at the Chargers 44 with 50 seconds left. Wilson scrambled for 16 yards to the Chargers 28 and, after a spike, Seattle had 30 seconds left.

Seattle (4-4) got a break when Michael Davis was called for pass interference in the end zone on the final play of regulation against Tyler Lockett, putting the ball at the 1 for an untimed down. Seattle's J.R. Sweezy was called for false start backing the play up to the 6, and Wilson's final attempt for David Moore in the back of the end zone was partially tipped by Jahleel Addae and fell incomplete.

Category: