Lions 14

(3-8, 0-6 away)

Vikings 24

(7-4, 4-2 home)

1:00 PM ET, November 23, 2003


1 2 3 4 T
DET 0 0 7 714
MIN 7 0 0 1724

Lions lose 22nd straight on road

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Desperate for a victory, the Minnesota Vikings were prepared to take one any way they could get it.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Lions: Is it time for Steve Mariucci to sit Joey Harrington for at least a week?
Coach Mariucci shouldn't sit Harrington at this point in the season, but Harrington may need to spend more time in the film room. It may be time for him to sit down, evaluate himself and see what his limitations are. After seeing what those limitations are (all players have them), he needs to set about correcting them and then building his strengths.

Question on the Vikings: Will a struggle like this (7-7 with 3 minutes left) inspire them or will there be seeds of doubt?
Until this team takes a game over and crushes its opponent, the Vikings won't be sold on what they've done this season. This game shouldn't have been as close as it was, but the Vikings don't seem to be able to put teams away as they did early in the season. The reason for that is the sudden lack of production from their running game. If the Vikings can start consistently running the ball more, they'll be able to dominate teams down the stretch.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Yes, even an underwhelming win over the Detroit Lions.

Corey Chavous and Brian Williams each returned interceptions for touchdowns late in the game, and the Vikings sent the Lions to their 22nd straight road loss, 24-14 on Sunday.

"Everyone's going to say, 'It's Detroit,' but a win in this league is a win," Minnesota coach Mike Tice said after his team ended its four-game losing streak.

The Vikings (7-4) remained one game ahead of Green Bay in the NFC North, despite an offense that looked just as weak as Detroit's during most of the afternoon.

Daunte Culpepper completed 20 of 30 passes for 196 yards, no scores and an interception. Randy Moss sprained his right ankle in the second quarter and played on, finishing with five receptions for 56 yards.

Minnesota punted six times, and none of Culpepper's half-dozen deep throws to Moss were completed. But the Vikings followed up four awful games with one of their best defensive efforts of the season.

"We just returned the favor," Williams said.

Aaron Elling's 24-yard field goal capped a 73-yard drive and put Minnesota up 10-7 with 2:45 left.

Chavous picked off Harrington's pass and returned it for a score 19 seconds later, and Williams grabbed his third interception and ran it back for a touchdown 20 seconds after that.

"It was there for us to take," Detroit coach Steve Mariucci said.

The Lions (3-8), whose last away win came on Dec. 17, 2000, against the New York Jets, tied the Buffalo Bills (1983-86) for the second-longest road skid in NFL history. The Houston Oilers (1981-84) own this dubious league record with 23 consecutive losses away from home.

With visits to Kansas City and Carolina left on the schedule, Detroit has a good chance to break it.

"This one was tough. We had chances all day," said Harrington, who threw seven interceptions in two losses to the Vikings this year.

The Vikings were the NFC's last unbeaten team at 6-0 until porous defense and a recent rash of turnovers led to four straight losses. The arrests of starting defensive ends Kevin Williams and Kenny Mixon for drunken driving exacerbated their troubles this week.

"I have to commend our team for sticking together," Culpepper said.

The Lions were the perfect cure, even though untimely penalties and stalled drives kept Minnesota to just 10 offensive points.

Harrington completed 21 of 41 passes for 167 yards, four interceptions and one late touchdown pass to Az-Zahir Hakim.

The crowd of 63,946, officially a sellout but the smallest at the Metrodome this year, was late to arrive with a snowstorm swirling over most of the state.

The Vikings' fans never really got fired up, either, and they began booing after halftime whenever Eddie Johnson jogged out to punt.

Minnesota got a 52-yard punt return by Keenan Howry to set up its first second-half possession, but Moe Williams was stopped for a 1-yard loss at the Lions 21 and stripped of the ball by Dre' Bly.

Bly picked the ball out of the air and carried it to the Vikings 35 before lateraling to Corey Harris. He eluded a hard-charging Culpepper to complete the touchdown return and tie the game at 7.

"We're going to learn as a team it's not what you do, it's when you do it," Harris said.

That statement seemed to ring true for Minnesota.

"We knew we had this in us," free safety Brian Russell said. "We just haven't been playing up to par lately."

Game notes

Michael Bennett, who rushed 15 times for a season-high 73 yards, scored on a 25-yard run around right end to put the Vikings up 7-0 in the first quarter. ... Bly, who had Moss well-covered most of the game, reaggravated a hamstring strain in the third quarter that cost him two games earlier this month. Bly played sporadically, but didn't finish the game. ... The three interceptions by Williams tied a Vikings record, done most recently by current Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio in 1993. ... Detroit RB Shawn Bryson and WR Bill Schroeder each kept playing after sustaining a concussion.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

Drive info: 0 plays, 32 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 1 plays, 25 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 1 plays, 37 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 0 plays, 32 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 1 plays, 25 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 1 plays, 37 yds, 0:00
minTD8:18Michael Bennett, 25 yd run
Drive info: 7 plays, 62 yds, 2:22
Drive info: 7 plays, 62 yds, 2:22
Drive info: 8 plays, 58 yds, 0:32
Drive info: 8 plays, 58 yds, 0:32
minFG3:51Aaron Elling 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 15 plays, 72 yds, 7:11