Lions hang on to beat Vikings 30-24 for 1st division title since 1993

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Detroit Lions clinched their first division title in 30 years, using two rushing touchdowns from Jahmyr Gibbs and 106 receiving yards and a third-quarter go-ahead score by Amon-Ra St. Brown to overtake the injury-ravaged Minnesota Vikings 30-24 on Sunday.

Ifeatu Melifonwu picked off Nick Mullens at the 5-yard line with 49 seconds left for Detroit’s fourth interception of the game, an off-target pass to an open Justin Jefferson three plays after his leaping grab in double coverage on third-and-27 kept the last-minute drive alive.

Jared Goff passed for 257 yards without a turnover and David Montgomery had a rushing touchdown for the Lions (11-4) in another prolific performance by one of the NFL’s most potent offenses. Detroit secured a home playoff game for the first time in 22 seasons at Ford Field, where an NFC North champions banner will soon hang. The last one was for winning the NFC Central in 1993.

Mullens threw for two scores, a diving 26-yard catch by Jefferson with 29 seconds left in the first half and a 6-yard toss to K.J. Osborn that gave the Vikings a 21-17 lead early in the third quarter one play after a 47-yard heave to Osborn.

But like the week before in an overtime loss at Cincinnati, the turnovers weighed heavily on the outcome. Kerby Joseph’s first of two picks gave the Lions the ball at the Minnesota 33 in the second quarter, and they reached the end zone in three plays.

Goff was sharp in a redemptive game for him against Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores, whose schemes had given him plenty of trouble in previous matchups with New England and Miami when Goff was with the Los Angeles Rams, including Super Bowl 53.

Jefferson played at home for the first time since Oct. 8, when he hurt his hamstring and missed seven games, but the Vikings have had their depth tested more than ever. Wide receiver Jordan Addison (ankle, second quarter), tight end T.J. Hockenson (knee, third quarter), cornerback Mekhi Blackmon (shoulder, third quarter) and edge rusher D.J. Wonnum (knee, fourth quarter) left with injuries.

The Vikings wore all-white uniforms as part of their annual winter-themed promotion, which fell on a 54-degrees-and-rainy afternoon outside U.S. Bank Stadium. That made the yellow flags on the field stand out even more, particularly during a pivotal sequence in the second quarter.

One play after he sacked Goff for an 11-yard loss, Patrick Jones was called for a dubious roughing-the-passer penalty that made the Vikings livid. The crowd howled when Blackmon took a hand to the facemask that wasn’t called.

Then later on that same drive, when Jordan Hicks hit Goff as he tried to let a pass go, the ball tumbled out and Cam Bynum scooped it up for what would have been an 82-yard touchdown return. The call was overturned to an incompletion, and the Lions continued on for a field goal.


Jefferson (5,648 in 58 games) passed Michael Thomas (5,512 in 63 games) for the most receiving yards in a player’s first four seasons in history.

St. Brown (2022, 2023) joined Herman Moore (1995, 1996, 1997) as the only players in Lions history with multiple seasons of 100-plus receptions.

The Lions reached 11 wins for the first time in nine years. Their 20 victories since the start of the 2022 seasons are the most in franchise history in a two-year span.


Lions: Joseph walked off woozily in the fourth quarter after an unnecessary roughness penalty on Jefferson during a 28-yard reception. Joseph tried to go back in two plays later, but the officials sent him back to the sideline. … Backup Josh Paschal (hand) was hurt in the third quarter. … LB Derrick Barnes (shoulder), CB Jerry Jacobs (hamstring) and backup TE Brock Wright (groin) were held out with injuries.

Vikings: Blackmon started in place of CB Byron Murphy (knee), who was hurt in the previous game. … Backup WR Jalen Nailor (concussion) missed his second straight game. … RB Alexander Mattison (ankle) and Hicks (shin) returned to the lineup from injuries.


Lions: Visit Dallas next Saturday night.

Vikings: Host Green Bay next Sunday night.



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