By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Jared Goff threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns, leading the surging Detroit Lions to a 34-23 win over the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
The Vikings (10-3) needed a win or tie to clinch the division title. Kirk Cousins threw for 425 yards, inluding a franchise-record 223 to Justin Jefferson on 11 catches. But Dalvin Cook ran for just 23 yards on 15 carries, and Minnesota couldn’t stop Goff.
Detroit (6-7) has won five of six, its best stretch since its last postseason appearance in 2016.
The Lions invested a lot to give Goff deep-play threats this season, signing DJ Chark in free agency and trading up to draft Jameson Williams 12th overall. The moves finally paid off against Minnesota.
Goff started the scoring with a 41-yard touchdown pass to Williams, whose first NFL reception was his first catch since injurying his left knee 11 months ago playing for Alabama in the NCAA national championship game.
He threw a 48-yard, tiebreaking touchdown to Chark, who signed a $10 million, one-year deal after an injury-shortened season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Chark finished with a season-high six catches and 94 yards.
Goff, who completed 27 of 39 passes, gave Detroit a two-touchdown lead in the third quarter with a 5-yard pass to Josh Reynolds after coach Dan Campbell called a fake punt from his 26.
On another trick play, Goff converted third-and-7 from the Minnesota 41 with a 9-yard pass to offensive tackle Penei Sewell, who was an eligible receiver sent in motion, to set up Michael Badgley’s field goal with 17 seconds left.
On the opening possession, Cook was stopped on a fourth-and-1 near midfield in a preview of what was to come. He also fumbled at the Detroit 6 late in the first half.
Cousins was 30-of-40 passing with touchdowns to K.J. Osborn and Adam Thielen.
Vikings: Starting FS Harrison Smith (neck), C Garrett Bradbury (back), OT Christian Darrisaw (concussion) were inactive after being listed as questionable. … The banged-up offensive line took another hit in the fourth quarter when Blake Brandel left with a knee injury. … CB Cameron Dantzler (ankle) returned from a four-game absence on IR and seemed to get beat deep on Detroit’s touchdown passes in the first half.
Lions: Key backups OLB Derrick Barnes (knee) and OG Evan Brown (ankle) were inactive.
Vikings: Host Indianapolis on Saturday.
Lions: Play at the New York Jets on Sunday.
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