Two things happened in the last 4 minutes of the Lions/Vikings game. One “mistake” by each team. First, the game was tied 23-23 and the Lions had the ball 1st and 10 at the Vikings 24 with 4:05 left. Well within FG range so the Vikings knew they would need time on the clock to either tie the game or win the game. On both 1st and 2nd down the clock continued to run as the Vikings did not use one of their 3 timeouts. The clock did stop on 3rd down after an incomplete pass and the Lions kicked a FG with 2:35 left. But the Vikings could have had over 60 more seconds to move the ball. Now the Vikings did end up driving into FG range to tie the game with 1:16 left so you can say they didn’t need the clock but I still view it as a mistake.
Now the Lions get the ball back with 1:11 left in the game and have 1st and 10 at their own 20 yard line. Certainly the way they had been moving the ball in the second half, I have no problem with them taking a crack at trying to win the game. However, before they had snapped the ball for one play, they committed two 5 yard penalties and now had 1st and 20 at their own 10 yard line. The Vikings had 2 timeouts left. Basically, the Lions couldn’t run out the clock and thus the Vikings could have a shot at a game winning FG depending on the punt and the return. If I was the Lions coach, I would’ve run the ball three straight plays, trying to take 5-7 seconds off per play plus the 40 seconds after the one play where the Vikings wouldn’t have a timeout plus the punt would leave less than 10 seconds left. And not jeopardize losing yardage on any play. Well on first down, the Lions tried to pass but were sacked at their 3 yard line. The Vikings called timeout. The Lions ran the ball on 2nd and 3rd downs with the Vikings using their final timeout on 2nd down. But now the Lions had to punt the ball from their 3 yard line with 21 seconds. The Vikings would’ve had the ball at the Lions 45 yard line with 11 seconds left but a stupid personal foul penalty on the Vikings pushed them back 15 yards and cost them a chance to win the game. But the Lions not playing their last sequence right almost cost them a game they won in overtime.