Vikings 21

(7-5, 3-4 away)

Lions 16

(4-8, 3-4 home)

1:00 PM ET, December 4, 2005


1 2 3 4 T
MIN 7 7 7 021
DET 3 3 3 716

Top Performers

Passing: B. Johnson (MIN) - 256 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: M. Bennett (MIN) - 22 CAR, 79 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: K. Robinson (MIN) - 4 REC, 148 YDS, 1 TD

Vikings extend win streak to 5, hold on to beat Lions

DETROIT (AP) -- Brad Johnson heaved a pass, pumped his fist and shouted with joy.

It was over when ...
With 52 seconds remaining and Detroit trailing by five points, Jeff Garcia's pass to Roy Williams was intercepted by Corey Chavous at the Minnesota 2, sealing victory for the Vikes.
Game ball goes to ...
Chavous, for saving the victory, and Brad Johnson, who finished with a season-high 256 yards and two TDs and improved to 5-0 since taking over for Daunte Culpepper.
ESPN's take ...
Sean Salisbury The biggest difference between the Vikings at the beginning of the season and now is the patience that Brad Johnson is starting to exhibit since he replaced the injured Daunte Culpepper. He's not forcing the big play because he knows his limitations, so he lets the offense operate and takes what he can get.
-- Sean Salisbury

The Minnesota Vikings are back -- and Johnson is, too.

Johnson threw two touchdowns, including an 80-yard pass to Koren Robinson that fired up the 37-year-old quarterback, and the Vikings held on to beat the Detroit Lions 21-16 on Sunday.

Minnesota's mess is becoming a distant memory. Detroit's is getting worse.

The Vikings (7-5) have won five straight, salvaging their season after a bad start and the now-infamous boat party.

"We've gotten ourselves out of a deep, deep hole," Johnson said. "We're back in the ballgame, with four games left."

Detroit (4-8) has lost five of six and didn't seem to be sparked by Dick Jauron in his debut as interim coach. In just six weeks, the Lions have gone from sharing the division lead to being mathematically eliminated from the race.

Fed-up fans booed quarterback Jeff Garcia throughout the game and directed their anger toward team president Matt Millen during much of the second half.

"Man, this is supposed to be our home stadium," said receiver Roy Williams, shaking his head. "This felt like a road game."

The Vikings appeared to be in control leading by 15 early in the third quarter after Michael Bennett's second TD, but the Lions rallied before losing their eighth straight in the series.

Artose Pinner scored on a 6-yard run to make it 21-16 with 7:38 left after cornerback Brian Williams had an interception return for a score negated by a penalty.

The Lions got the ball back at their 7 with 2:46 left after Paul Edinger -- punting in place of injured Chris Kluwe -- made a low, bouncing kick.

Detroit drove to midfield before Garcia's up-for-grabs lob was intercepted by leaping safety Corey Chavous at Minnesota's 2 with 52 seconds left.

"I was glad we got back on the field because in those situations, you want an opportunity to make a play," Chavous said.

The Lions led once -- briefly. After Jason Hanson kicked a field goal on the opening drive, Johnson needed only one play to put the Vikings ahead with his long pass to Robinson.

Johnson, who was 17-for-23 for a season-high 256 yards, is 5-0 since starting in place of the injured Daunte Culpepper.

"He's throwing it on time and he's throwing it precise," Robinson said. "He's like Greg Maddux."

Johnson has thrown eight TDs and just two interceptions after Culpepper had twice as many interceptions (12) as TDs (six) before having season-ending surgery on his right knee.

Bennett had 79 yards rushing and a 7-yard TD and caught a 5-yard TD to give the Vikings a 21-6 lead in the third quarter. Robinson caught four passes for 148 yards, surpassing his previous season total, and a TD.

The loudest cheers at Ford Field came when a fan held up a "Fire Millen" sign behind Minnesota's bench in the third quarter.

Security scurried to take the sign away and more messages like it, but "Fire Mil-len!" chants could not be stopped. One fan amused the crowd as he ran from section to section, dodging security, holding up an anti-Millen sign.

"That was crazy stuff," said Edinger, whose game-winning, season-ending kick while playing for Chicago led to Millen's hiring.

The Lions are an NFL-worst 20-56 since Millen took over the franchise in 2001.

Garcia, who was cheered as Joey Harrington's backup, was booed regularly as Jauron's-picked starter and the rest of his teammates didn't escape the wrath of the crowd.

"We worked on that," Minnesota coach Mike Tice joked. "We talked about getting the crowd to boo them early."

Garcia finished 17-of-35 for 126 yards and an interception.

"We don't have the confidence in each other that we need to make plays," Garcia said.

A play after Hanson's 45-yard field goal gave Detroit its only lead, Johnson lofted a perfect pass to Robinson, who simply ran past cornerback R.W. McQuarters for the score.

"We put that play in on Thursday. We knew it was coming," Robinson said. "They said that they wanted to go at R.W. McQuarters, and he happened to line up on me."

It was Minnesota's longest play of the year and was Johnson's longest pass since 1996.

"What a great throw from Brad. He's having hernia surgery tomorrow," Tice joked. "He threw that thing as far as he could throw it."

When Garcia threw a pass at Williams' feet on the ensuing possession, the crowd chanted "Jo-ey! Jo-ey!" in a humorous moment because those same fans have jeered Harrington throughout his career.

Game notes

Detroit wide receiver Charles Rogers, the second pick overall in 2003, was inactive despite being healthy and running back Kevin Jones (thigh) also did not play. ... Kluwe and running back Mewelde Moore injured ankles during the game. ... Detroit linebackers Boss Bailey (ankle) and Nate Wayne (ankle) and free safety Jon McGraw (shoulder) were injured. ... Culpepper attended the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2019
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5759
Total Yards345223
Yards per play6.13.8
Total Drives1211
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-20-3
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

detFG8:11Jason Hanson 36 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 35 yds, 6:43
minTD8:06Koren Robinson, 80 yd pass from Brad Johnson (Paul Edinger kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 80 yds, 0:00
minTD13:59Michael Bennett, 7 yd run (Paul Edinger kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 68 yds, 12:54
detFG0:10Jason Hanson 18 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 10 yds, 0:26
minTD10:52Michael Bennett, 5 yd pass from Brad Johnson (Paul Edinger kick is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 64 yds, 4:01
detFG1:51Jason Hanson 19 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 71 yds, 3:34
detTD7:42Artose Pinner, 6 yd run (Jason Hanson kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 73 yds, 5:46