The Lions lost starting running back Ameer Abdullah to injured reserve with a foot injury. Rookie Dwayne Washington is battling ankle troubles. Theo Riddick is a pass-catching back, not a between-the-tackles player. Zach Zenner has proven ineffective outside of preseason action.
The Lions rank 23rd in rushing, with a meager 89.8 yards per game on the ground for the season. In the past three games without Abdullah, Detroit averaged a pathetic 65.3 YPG rushing — quarterback Matthew Stafford was the team’s second-leading rusher in each of those contests
New general manager Bob Quinn, who came from New England, tried to give a shot to a veteran who produced during his years with the Pats. It didn’t work out. Quinn demonstrated already he’ll make quick, Belichickian-like decisions, willing to admit a mistake and move on from a player.
Cutting Ridley now allows Zenner (likely in the lead for the backup big-back role), Washington and Winn to battle for what could be two roster spots in the final weeks of the preseason.
Forsett was released by the Ravens after a disappointing start to the 2016 season last Wednesday. Through the first three games of the Ravens’ season, the former Pro Bowler averaged just 3.2 yards per carry and was eventually benched for Terrance West last weekend.
The Lions, though, are in need of a veteran running back’s services. With Ameer Abdullah on injured reserve with a foot injury and Dwayne Washington battling a foot and ankle injury of his own, Detroit could use Forsett to help a depleted backfield.
The Vikings are stuck with a smoke-and-mirrors offense that can’t run the ball and lacks a downfield element when wideout Stefon Diggs is out of the lineup as he was on Thursday. Quarterback Sam Bradford played well before his final interception, putting on a short-game passing clinic to finish 31 of 37 for 224 yards with the pick. Bradford delivered one completion after the next behind a battered line that lost center Joe Berger and cheap nfl jerseys and tackle Jeremiah Sirles. The offense didn’t convert a third down until nearly 42 minutes into the contest, but those troubles come as no great surprise. This is what the injury-riddled Vikings are in 2016.
One of the game’s most pivotal sequences came on Minnesota’s first possession. Bradford hit his opening five passes and marched the team deep into Lions territory before losing the ball on a crushing strip sack by Detroit’s Ziggy Ansah. Game officials reversed the call, but Bradford encountered disaster on the following play, watching his lob to Laquon Treadwell bounce off the rookie’s hands into the arms of Glover Quin. The Lions safety ran it back 71 yards, but the play was erased by a questionable pass interference call on Slay. The Vikings scored a touchdown two plays later to tie the game at 7-7.
Following their season-long script, Detroit put their loyal fan base through the ringer before notching a crafty 16-13 victory triggered by a Darius Slay interception that set up Matt Prater’s game-winning, 40-yard field goal as time expired.
Slay’s pick of Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford came with the game tied at 13-13 and Minnesota driving for a potential tilt-sealing score. Detroit’s ball-hawking cornerback jumped the route on a pass intended for wideout Adam Thielen and barreled 13 yards to the Vikings’ 20 with 30 seconds left on the clock.
Kenny Britt’s career renaissance continued Sunday. Britt burned Detroit for seven catches on eight targets for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Britt used his 6-foot-3 frame to shield defenders from the ball on crossing routes and stretched the field for Keenum with two 40-plus yard receptions. Britt’s yardage didn’t all come against second-rate corners either as he beat Lions top CB Darius Slay several times. As Around The NFL Seer Chris Wesseling pointed out this week, Britt is one of the most overlooked reborn misfits in the NFL this season.
Zach Zenner carried the load for a banged-up Detroit backfield toting 14 times for 58 yards. It was the most efficient the Lions’ ground game has looked since Ameer Abdullah went on injured reserve. Justin Forsett’s debut was forgettable, carrying five times for five yards and he had a dropped pass. If Theo Riddick remains injured, Zenner should carry the load. The newly signed Forsett might not remain on the roster for the duration of the season.