DETROIT -- It was the type of kick that always seems to go through the uprights against the Detroit Lions.
Nobody has ever made a field goal from 68 yards in an NFL game, but when Minnesota's Blair Walsh lined up at that distance on the final play Sunday, there were some nervous folks at Ford Field.
"Stranger things have happened to us," Detroit offensive lineman Rob Sims said. "But maybe this is our time. Maybe things are changing."
Walsh's kick came up short and wide to the left, and Detroit held on for a 16-14 victory over Minnesota.
Detroit (10-4) pulled into a first-place tie in the NFC North with Green Bay, which lost to Buffalo earlier Sunday. The Lions are now agonizingly close to a playoff spot.
And agonizing is a pretty good way to describe this latest victory.
Detroit spotted Minnesota a 14-0 lead before slowly rallying with the help of two second-quarter interceptions. The Lions have won three in a row, and if the Dallas-Philadelphia game Sunday night does not end in a tie, Detroit can clinch a playoff spot with a win at Chicago next weekend.
"Either one is kind of a shot in the dark, but Blair has hit 70-yarders in practice before," Zimmer said. "So I figured that was the best chance to win."
But Walsh couldn't convert. He also missed from 53 yards earlier in the game.
In its last home game of the regular season, Detroit looked flat in the first half, falling behind by two touchdowns and drawing boos from the crowd at Ford Field. The Lions couldn't manage a first down until the second quarter, on their fifth offensive possession.
"We did everything we could to hurt ourselves in the first half, in every phase, but GQ made a huge play to get us back into the game," Stafford said.
Prater's field goal made it 14-10 at halftime.
Prater, who helped stabilize Detroit's terrible kicking game when he joined the Lions in October, connected from 30 yards in the third quarter to cut the deficit to one. Jones' block in the fourth meant Detroit only needed a field goal to take the lead.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press