The Detroit Lions (8-5) used a full team effort to take a big early lead against the Minnesota Vikings (2-11) and then held off a second-half rally to secure the win, 34-28.
In fact, the Lions couldn't have come much closer to losing as they were forced to stop the Vikings from the one-yard line on the last play of the game. Detroit defensive end Cliff Avril ended the game as it started when he sacked Joe Webb as the clock ran out.
But the crazy ending to the game also included some controversy as replays showed linebacker DeAndre Levy grabbing Webb's facemask prior to Avril finishing him off, or at least getting the credit, on the final play. However, referees missed the call among all of the pressure the Lions threw at Webb.
The Lions took a 31-14 lead to halftime thanks to two defensive touchdowns. On the first defensive play of the game, Cliff Avril sacked Christian Ponder, forcing a fumble with the hit which allowed Stephen Tulloch to swoop in and recover the ball in the end zone for a touchdown.
After two Matthew Stafford touchdown passes, including a beautiful long strike to Titus Young, cornerback Alphonso Smith intercepted Ponder and returned the pick 30 yards for the other defensive touchdown.
Things turned the Vikings way in the second half after Minnesota starting quarterback, playing through a hip injury, took a big hit from Tulloch which left him limping off the field and out for the game. Joe Webb took over for Minnesota and made several plays with his feet to keep the Detroit defense on their heels, including a 65-yard scamper for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Webb made several plays to keep the final drive alive for Minnesota, taking the Vikings 79 yards on 18 plays before Avril and the Detroit defense stopped the Vikings a yard short.
The win helps Detroit keep pace in the NFC wild card race as they turn their attention to their next game at the Oakland Raiders next Sunday.