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Sam Bradford: Vikings' offense needs 'explosive plays'

The Minnesota Vikings attempted to papercut the Detroit Lions to death on Thanksgiving. In the end, the tiny gashes ended up as mere flesh wounds.

Sam Bradford completed 31 of 37 passes, but compiled just 224 yards passing and earned a season-low average of 7.2 yards per throw.

"We've probably got to try and find a way to create some explosive plays,'' Bradford said following the 16-13 loss, via the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. "It's hard when you're only picking up five, six, seven (yards) at a time. There's things that we can do to try and figure out how we can create some more explosive plays.''

Of his 37 passes, Bradford threw just one that is considered "deep" -- 15 or more yards downfield -- a second-quarter sideline toss to a diving Rhett Ellison. Pro Football Focus charted just three passes from Bradford for more than 10 yards down field and noted that his 3.5 yards per pass average was tied for the shortest of any quarterback this season.

Several factors added to the Vikings' depressing dink-and-dunk strategy, most notably Stefon Diggs' absence and a poor offensive line that lost two starters throughout the game.

Credit Lions defenders for making tackles on the short throws and not allowing extra yards after the catch. Then the winning play came after Lions corner Darius Slay finally jumped a route on third-and-7 with just over 30 seconds remaining after watching the short throws all game.

"The corner made a good play,'' Bradford said. "That was the first time he had trapped it (Thursday).''

Slay trapped the play because he knew Bradford wasn't going deep by that point.

The Vikings dropped a game behind Detroit for the division lead but have a more favorable schedule down the stretch. The playoffs aren't out of reach. However, with no run game and no deep shots, the Vikings are employing one of the most limited offenses in the NFL. Unless Bradford finds those explosive plays he's pining for, the Vikings will be on the couch in January.

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