Scouting report LIONS AT VIKINGS
Noon Sunday • U.S. Bank Stadium • TV: Ch. 9 • Radio: 100.3-FM, 1130-AM
About the Lions (2-1)
• Lions narrowly lost to the NFC champion Falcons on Sunday on a controversial game-ending call. Quarterback Matthew Stafford’s pass to receiver Golden Tate was ruled just short of the goal line, overturning the call on the field with eight seconds left. By NFL rule, a 10-second runoff was applied because of the running clock before the official’s review. Without any timeouts, the Lions took a 30-26 loss.
• Nearly one-third of Stafford’s completions so far have gone to Tate, who caught 16 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown in two victories vs. the Vikings last season.
• The Lions lead the NFL with a plus-6 turnover differential, thanks to a ball-control offense (31:11 time of possession, eighth in the NFL) and seven interceptions from the defense.
PLAYER TO WATCH | QB MATTHEW STAFFORD
• Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, has thrown for 678 yards, seven touchdowns and only one interception through three games this season.
• Despite losing future Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson last year, Stafford maintained a 90-plus QB rating for a second consecutive season and holds a career-high 100.1 QB rating in this young season.
• Stafford is the fifth active leader in fourth quarter comebacks (26), trailing only Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees.
• Stafford is the NFL’s highest-paid player at $27 million annually. He’s under contract through 2022.
• Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on Stafford: “Maybe the biggest difference — he’s always been able to throw the ball and he’s probably more accurate now — but the biggest thing that I see is he takes off and extends plays with his legs.”
From the coach: JIM CALDWELL
• Caldwell enters his fourth NFL season as Lions head coach with a 29-22 record (0-2 in the playoffs) in Detroit.
• Caldwell was Peyton Manning’s quarterbacks coach from 2002-2008, winning one Super Bowl, before taking over as Colts head coach from 2009-2011. Caldwell won his second Super Bowl as Ravens offensive coordinator during the 2012 season.
• On Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff, whom Caldwell coached for three seasons in Detroit: “Maybe one of the best men I’ve ever been around,” Caldwell said. “I’m not sure you’ll find a tougher guy mentally or physically.”
• On the Lions’ sweep of the Vikings in 2016: “We have 24 different guys, I think, on our 53[-man roster] from last year, so they weren’t even part of it,” Caldwell said. “Let’s see what we can do in this point in time.”