Lions Defeat Vikings, Finish Regular Season 12-5

The Detroit Lions capped off a terrific regular season with a 30-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings, their second over their division rival in the last three weeks. Detroit finishes the regular season with a 12-5 record and currently sits as the conference’s three-seed, facing the Los Angeles Rams on Wild Card Weekend. As we await that matchup, we’ll look at some of the major takeaways from its regular season finale.

Takeaways From Lions’ 30-20 Victory Over Vikings

Lions Set Multiple Records

The 2023 season has been one to remember for the Lions. On Sunday, the team set multiple franchise records:

  • 12 wins (tying the franchise record set in 1991)
  • 6,712 yards from scrimmage (franchise record)
  • 58 total touchdowns (franchise record)
  • 27 rushing touchdowns (franchise record)
  • Rushing touchdown in 16 different games (ties NFL record)
  • Rushing and passing touchdowns in 15 different games (NFL record)
  • Two players with 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10+ touchdowns (NFL record)
  • Four players with 10+ touchdowns (ties NFL record)

Multiple players set records, too:

  • Jared Goff — second player in franchise history to produce 4,500 passing yards and 30 touchdowns
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown — second player in franchise history to produce 100+ receptions, 1000+ yards, and 10+ touchdowns
  • Sam LaPorta — most receptions by a tight end in NFL history (86)
    • most receptions by a tight end in franchise history
  • Aidan Hutchinson — second Lion to produce 10.0+ sacks within two-career seasons
    • five games with 2.0+ sacks, most through the first two seasons in franchise history

The Lions were one of the premier teams in football and boasted one of the league’s best offenses, putting up some historic numbers throughout the regular season.

Aidan Hutchinson Heating Up

The biggest knock on Hutchinson this season has been his inability to finish plays. Yes, he gets to the quarterback at an elite rate and racks up more pressures than most players, but he doesn’t register sacks. Over the last two weeks, though, Hutchinson ended that narrative.

Following his three-sack day against the Cowboys in Week 17, Hutchinson added two more on Sunday to push his season total to 11.5, improving on the 9.5 he had in his rookie season. Hutchinson has been leading the way for a defense that’s shown steady improvements over the last month.

Unfortunate Injuries At Inopportune Time

In Week 18, coaches always have the difficult decision of deciding whether to play or rest their starters. With the two-seed still at stake, Lions head coach Dan Campbell decided to play everyone. Of course, that comes with the risk of players getting injured, which unfortunately happened for Detroit.

The Lions caught an awful break when their Pro Bowl tight end, the aforementioned LaPorta, went down with a knee injury in the second quarter. LaPorta suffered a hyperextended knee and bone bruise, and his status moving forward is uncertain. It’s a big blow to the Lions’ offense which will most likely be without their star rookie for the postseason. Another offensive weapon, receiver and punt returner Kalif Raymond, also left the game in the second half with a knee injury. It’s unclear what exactly happened to Raymond, but Campbell didn’t sound all that encouraged in his post-game press conference on his availability looking ahead.

Brian Branch and St. Brown both left the game at separate points in the second half but ended up returning. Their statuses will be monitored this week ahead of the postseason.

For the first time in 30 years, there will be playoff football in Detroit. The Lions have a chance to win their first playoff game since the 1991 season. While they finished the regular season strong, the real games start now. It’s been a magical season in Detroit — one they hope will continue for a few more weeks.

Main Image: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

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