PRO FOOTBALL : McMahon Returns, Leads Vikings Past Lions : NFC: Del Rio’s three interceptions fuel the Minnesota defense as it stymies Detroit, 13-0.
Jim McMahon doesn’t win pretty. He simply wins.
McMahon engineered drives for two Fuad Reveiz field goals and Lamar McGriggs returned an interception 63 yards for a touchdown as the Minnesota Vikings beat Detroit, 13-0, Sunday, extending the Lions’ losing streak to three.
Detroit’s loss, coupled with Chicago’s victory over Green Bay, left the Lions, Bears and Packers tied atop the NFC Central at 7-5. Minnesota is 6-6.
It was the first time the Lions failed to score since Sept. 1, 1991, and their first shutout loss at home since Nov. 24, 1988, when the Vikings won, 23-0. The Lions have gone nine quarters without an offensive touchdown.
The Vikings had five interceptions, three by linebacker Jack Del Rio, and seven sacks.
“I haven’t had three interceptions in a game since I was playing street football in front of my house,” said Del Rio, a former USC player. “We had a great pass rush, and I just got myself into the right place at the right time. I wasn’t worried about catching them, because I have good hands.”
The Lions played without Barry Sanders, the NFL’s leading rusher. But that isn’t why they lost. Derrick Moore, his replacement, gained 86 yards in 22 carries and caught six passes for 43 yards.
Rodney Peete completed 18 of 30 passes for only 138 yards and was intercepted four times before Andre Ware replaced him for the Lions’ final series. Del Rio picked off one of Ware’s passes.
McMahon was making his first start since suffering a dislocated left shoulder in a 30-27 loss to the Lions at the Metrodome in late October. The Vikings went 1-3 after that, so Coach Dennis Green went with McMahon instead of Sean Salisbury.
McMahon completed 15 of 32 for only 145 yards, but he always seemed to come up with the big play when the Vikings needed it.
“McMahon has proven he’s a winner,” Detroit Coach Wayne Fontes said. “He finds a way to win. We have to start doing that. But McMahon made a couple of great throws today. He played well.”
McMahon had a 26-yard completion to Anthony Carter in a 52-yard, 10-play first-quarter drive that led to a 37-yard field goal by Reveiz.
In the second quarter, McMahon was under pressure and falling down, but he flung a high, wobbly pass that somehow found its way into the arms of Roger Craig for a 31-yard gain. That kept a 56-yard drive alive and led to a 29-yard field goal by Reveiz.
“We did just enough to win, but our defense did it,” McMahon said. “We need to help them more than we did today.”