The drought is over for the Detroit Lions.
The Lions clinched an NFC North title on Sunday with a 30-24 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. It’s the team’s first division title since the 1993 season. Lions cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu intercepted a pass from Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens to seal the game.
Minnesota gave Detroit all it could handle. Detroit took a 17-7 lead late in the first half when Jahmyr Gibbs ran for a 14-yard score. But before the half was over, Mullens found Justin Jefferson for a 26-yard touchdown pass before the whistle blew.
The Vikings then took a 21-17 lead in the third quarter when Mullens hit K.J. Osborn for a 6-yard touchdown pass. But the Lions answered with a Jared Goff touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown. Gibbs ran for a touchdown in the fourth to go up 30-21.
Mullens had a chance to guide Minnesota down the field. Jefferson made an unbelievable catch on third down during the series but the pick to Melifonwu proved to be costly. Melifonwu’s interception was one of four for Mullens. Kerby Joseph had two and Brian Branch had another.
Goff finished 30-of-40 for 257 yards and a touchdown pass. Gibbs led the team with 80 rushing yards. St. Brown finished with 12 catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Mullens was 22-fo-36 for 411 yards and two touchdown passes. Jefferson had six catches for 141 yrads. Osborn had five catches for 95 yards.
The Lions were division champs in 1993 when they finished 10-6 and won the NFC Central Division under head coach Wayne Fontes. Barry Sanders was a Pro Bowler that year after running for 1,115 yards in 11 games.
Rodney Peete and Erik Kramer split time at quarterback and Herman Moore led the team in receiving with 61 catches for 935 yards and six touchdowns.
A lot has changed since then but this year’s iteration of the Lions appears to be one of the best teams they’ve had in recent memory.