After almost a year without a victory, the Detroit Lions have finally returned to the win column with their 29-27 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Dan Campbell’s men built a big lead early, blew that lead, but then came up big in the clutch to get that first victory of the season.

The Lions still committed several errors that they can learn from, but they did just enough to officially avoid a winless season with this victory. With a 1-10-1 record, the team will aim to extend their newfound momentum when they visit the Denver Broncos in Week 14.

But for now, let’s look at some Lions Week 13 takeaways from this thrilling win over the Vikings.

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Detroit Lions Week 13 Takeaways

3. Charles Harris was a nightmare for Vikings QB Kirk Cousins

Lions defensive end Charles Harris haunted opposing quarterback Kirk Cousins, which played a part in limiting the Vikings’ offense throughout the game. Sure, Minnesota had a depleted offensive line, but Harris still deserves to be credited for stepping up in Week 13.

With his effective pass rush, the former first-round pick notched two sacks against Cousins and further increased his sack tally to six for the season. Additionally, his efforts exposed the veteran quarterback’s lack of mobility, as Cousins failed to escape whenever he encountered pressure in the pocket.

Harris’ level of production against the Vikings was much needed, with one of his sacks leading to a touchdown drive for the Lions on the other end of the field. Currently playing on a one-year bargain deal, the Missouri product is certainly making a strong case for him to be re-signed in the offseason.

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2. Detroit may have found a gem in rookie kicker Riley Patterson

The Lions previously turned heads when they decided to move on from longtime kicker Matt Prater prior to the 2021 season. Detroit tried its luck on other talents, including veteran Randy Bullock, Matthew Wright, and Zane Gonzalez, but to no avail.

In Week 13, the Lions continued to put their trust in an undrafted rookie kicker in Riley Patterson, who just made his pro debut last week against the Chicago Bears. The 22-year-old delivered by going 3-of-3 on field goal attempts to score 11 total points for the Lions.

Surely, the team wouldn’t have won if it wasn’t for Patterson’s contributions. If he manages to sustain his accuracy, he might find himself staying longer on Detroit’s active roster moving forward.

1. Pushing the ball downfield proved to make a difference

The Lions opted to change their strategy on offense after top rusher D’Andre Swift was ruled out against the Vikings due to a shoulder injury. Due to his absence, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn chose to maximize the passing game in order to put up points across the board.

Their decision to do so certainly paid off, as Jared Goff was able to put up a strong outing in the first half of the game. With a 20-point scoring outburst, the Lions were able to build a significant lead over their opponent.

Goff’s level of performance dwindled down in the second half, which allowed the Vikings to come back in the game. However, the QB eventually redeemed himself with a game-winning touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown to successfully mount a comeback victory. Tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Brock Wright were also beneficiaries with touchdowns of their own.

Without Swift, the Lions were able to put an emphasis on their aerial attack, which turned out to be a key factor in their bid for their first win in 364 days.