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PRO FOOTBALL WEEK 3 | MINNESOTA 29, DETROIT 6

A Batch of Losses for Lions

September 21, 1998|From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Barry Sanders for six yards. Sanders for 15. Sanders for four.

Sanders for . . . almost nothing else.

The Minnesota Vikings held the NFL's most feared running back to only 24 yards after the first two series and rattled rookie quarterback Charlie Batch into three turnovers on the way to a 29-6 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

The Vikings were especially punishing against Sanders in the second half, holding him to 12 yards in 13 carries as they pulled away after a 6-6 halftime tie.

"You've got to be disciplined, but aggressive," defensive coordinator Foge Fazio said. "As soon as you see him you go, boom. You miss him, somebody else will get him."

That's never easy to do, especially for the Vikings (3-0), who had allowed Sanders to go over 100 yards in five consecutive games. He seemed to be on the way again after gaining 45 yards in the first quarter as Detroit took a 6-0 lead.

That left the Lions (0-3) with nowhere to turn as Batch struggled through his NFL debut, throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble that led to a touchdown while going 20 for 40 for 160 yards.

Batch started after Scott Mitchell was demoted to third string.

Meanwhile, the Vikings sputtered near the end zone most of the day, settling for five Gary Anderson field goals.

But Randall Cunningham, starting in place of quarterback Brad Johnson (broken leg), threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss in the third quarter and Leroy Hoard scored on an 11-yard run to make it 26-6 early in the fourth quarter after a Batch fumble.

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