Football is a game of three phases – offense, defense and special teams.
Sunday the Lions learned the hard way that if you don’t play well on special teams, it could cost you a win. Percy Harvin and Marcus Sherels of the Vikings were happy to play the role of the teachers to the Lions special teams units.
Harvin returned the opening kickoff 105 yards, and Sherels ran back the first punt of the second half 77 yards for a score, boosting the Vikings to a 20-13 win Sunday – and sending the underachieving Lions into a dubious category all their own.
Detroit became the first team since at least 1940 to give up a kickoff and a punt return for touchdowns in consecutive games, according to STATS LLC. The Lions allowed scores on a kickoff and punt in last week’s 44-41 loss in overtime at Tennessee.
”We’re good, but we’re garbage right now and we’re killing our team,” kicker Jason Hanson said.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz, though, shot down any chance of him firing special teams coordinator Danny Crossman. ”No, that’s not a consideration,” Schwartz said. ”There’s physical plays we have to make.”
Adrian Peterson had 21 carries for 102 yards and added four catches for 20 yards while Christian Ponder went 16-for-26 with 111 yards for the Vikings, who have matched their win total from last season.
The Vikings defense lowered the boom on the Lions and QB Matthew Stafford, holding the Lions to a touchdown and a pair of field goals on the day.
Stafford threw for 319 yards on 30-of-51 attempts and scored the lone touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run for the Lions (1-3), who have dropped three straight after winning their opener against St. Louis.
“We’re 1-3 right now because we deserve to be 1-3,” Schwartz said. “When you give up five return touchdowns in two weeks, you’re going to lose those games. We dropped touchdown passes, we fumbled in their territory. You want to know why we’re 1-3, that’s why.”