The Lions hadn’t lost a Thanksgiving Day matchup since 2012. That changed on Thursday when they fell 30-23 to the Vikings.
The Lions closed the gap on a 17-point lead the Vikings had early in the third quarter and made it a game late. It looked like they might pull off one of those classic fourth-quarter comebacks that Matthew Stafford’s so well known for. But Stafford’s only interception of the day came when the Vikings were pushing to score on their last drive, and it killed their chances.
The Lions fall to 6-5 with the loss, which hurts their postseason chances. The Vikings improved to 9-2 and shored up their stronghold on the NFC North.
Winner: This Thanksgiving dinner touchdown celebration
You never know what the Vikings are going to do when they score a touchdown. They’ve played duck, duck, goose and leapfrog in the end zone. But there’s no more perfect celebration for Thanksgiving Day than sitting down after a score for a nice, big Thanksgiving dinner.
Winner: Everson Griffen, who had a baby boy and a big game
Griffen’s wife gave birth to the couple’s brand new baby son shortly before the game kicked off. And Griffen was instrumental in the Vikings’ defensive effort. He had two of the Vikings’ three sacks.
Griffen even asked America what he should name their new baby.
Winner: Matthew Stafford
No, he didn’t win the game. But Stafford almost pulled off one of his trademark fourth-quarter comeback attempts. He also broke Tony Romo’s record for the most passing yards all-time in Thanksgiving games with this 6-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones.
Matthew Stafford Marvin Jones Jr. for the @Lions TD! #OnePride pic.twitter.com/ymgGthbGxQ— Sporting News (@sportingnews) November 23, 2017
Stafford finished the game 20-of-35 for 236 yards, two touchdowns, and one pick. The pick didn’t come until the fourth quarter
Loser: This snap from Vikings center Pat Elflein
I don’t think Elflein snapped it, uh, exactly where he was hoping to: pic.twitter.com/7iTq1A4hYI— Brandon Warne (@Brandon_Warne) November 23, 2017
Winner: Adam Thielen
Thielen passed an important milestone for himself and the Vikings.
Adam Thielen is the @Vikings first 1,000-yard receiver this decade.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 23, 2017
Every other NFL team already had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2010.
Thielen’s rapport with Case Keenum has been a tremendous factor for the Vikings offense this season. He caught eight of 11 targets for 89 yards against the Lions.
Loser: The refs
The NFL rules define taunting, in part, as participating in a celebration on the ground. But Case Keenum wasn’t celebrating when he tossed the ball in Ezekiel Ansah’s general direction after being sacked.
The refs became the story of the day.
"No team has ever come back from 17 points down to win on Thanksgiving."— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 23, 2017
No team has ever gotten this much help from the officials, either.
There were plenty of blown calls, bad spots, and just plain questionable flags in this one. A lot of the bad calls in the second half went in the Lions’ favor, but it didn’t help them enough to pull off the win.