The Detroit Lions' futility on special teams continued as they again gave up return touchdowns during their 20-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. It started with the very first play of the game, as Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest kickoff return in Vikings history. In the third quarter, Marcus Sherels returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown.
It was the first time in NFL history that a team gave up a punt return and kickoff return in consecutive weeks. In Week 3, the Lions lost a tight game to the Tennessee Titans in part because of their inability to stop Darius Reynaud on special teams.
After the game, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was about as happy as you'd expect. "We've given up five non-defensive scores in the last two weeks," he said. "We're 1-3 right now because we deserve to be 1-3 and that's part of the reason. Opening kickoff; one of our major points this week was what we needed to do on kickoff because we knew Harvin's a threat. We had a great kick out of Jason Hanson. Last week, we didn't get very good about the location of our kicks, let's make no mistake about it: This time we had great location. Great kick by Jason. We knew he could bring it out. We didn't get guys off blocks and we gave up a touchdown.
"The other one — honestly, I thought we were going to force a fumble on the play. We had a free guy and I couldn't believe he didn't fair catch the ball. He ran through one tackle and we did an absolutely poor job. But that wasn't just all. Two defensive pass interference penalties set up their only scores. Five or six sacks; we couldn't run the ball against good looks to run the football. We dropped touchdown passes and we fumbled the ball in the plus territory.
"And that's why when I say we deserve to be 1-3, those are the reasons."
This win keeps the Vikings atop the NFC North for another week, with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears needing a win to keep pace with Minnesota. The Lions fall to 1-3, as Schwartz mentioned, and last place in the division.
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