The 5-7 Detroit Lions being favorites at home against the 10-2 Minnesota Vikings was the betting line that raised the most eyebrows this week, but the books knew what they were doing as Detroit rolled to a 34-23 win. They lit up the Vikings defense with 464 total yards of offense including 330 through the air, but it was their last completion that was the standout.
The Lions lined up their young star right tackle as a slot receiver on 3rd and 7 with two minutes to play and had him come in motion from left to right, but instead of acting as a pulling blocker, Sewell just kept running and caught the game-sealing first down completion from Jared Goff on an incredible play call.
It’s really a spectacular play design, because the edge player for the Vikings is bracing to get smoked by Sewell coming across on a block, so he just ducks and tries to absorb contact. When Sewell just keeps running, that means there is no one on the empty side available to cover him and it just comes down to whether Goff can get the ball out there and the big fella can show the soft hands to make the catch and reach the marker.
I particularly love the belly flop at the end to make sure he gets the first down, doesn’t try to do too much and fumble the ball, and also stay in bounds to force the Vikings to burn their second timeout. That play didn’t completely ice the game, as that honor went to the field goal the Lions kicked later in the drive, but it did ensure Minnesota would, at best, have under 30 seconds to try and pull off a miracle to force overtime. With the win the Lions improved to 6-7 and keep hope of a playoff berth alive in the bizarre NFC playoff race, while the Vikings finally succumb to a poor defensive performance after playing with fire for much of the year, falling to 10-3.