A new clock and the ball to start overtime sure aren't going to cause Detroit to panic.
Stafford got the Lions into position for a 58-yard field goal by Matt Prater to force overtime and then went 5 of 6 for 73 yards passing in overtime as Detroit beat the Minnesota Vikings 22-16 on a 28-yard, tackle-breaking touchdown by Golden Tate.
"It's very difficult to do and more often than not, you're not going to get yourself in that position," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said of the team having five game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime this season. "But our guys have been able to do it. Not just do it once or twice, they've been able to do it a number of times. I do think they have the level of comfort with it. It's a tough situation to be in, but they don't flinch and we haven't had any crucial mistakes in that period of time."
On third-and-8 in overtime, Tate caught a pass along the sideline and spun away from Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who dove at Tate and missed. Tate pulled away from a tackle attempt from safety Harrison Smith along the sideline and then leaped into the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown with 8:34 left in OT as he was hit by safety Andrew Sendejo.
"I was just trying to stop on a dime to get some more yards," Tate said. "I looked right there as soon as I was breaking back in and Harrison Smith, my old teammate, great dude, was right there trying to tackle and I don't even use a stiff arm, but I just tried to push his helmet off and find a way to get off."
Minnesota (5-3) entered the game with the league's second-ranked defense but lost its third straight after beginning the season as the NFL's last unbeaten team. The offense sputtered at times but started to find a rhythm under new interim coordinator Pat Shurmur with 337 yards.
"You saw the last two drives and everything, so a (pass interference) and a missed tackle," Rhodes said of his performance in overtime. "That gave them the game. I mean, that gave them the game."
Detroit's offense came alive when needed in a sluggish affair as the Lions (5-4) won for the third time in four games. Every game they've played this season has been within a touchdown and Sunday was the 24th time in Stafford's career he's led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime.
Stafford threw for 219 yards and also connected with Anquan Boldin for a touchdown.
Minnesota took its first lead of the game with 23 seconds left when tight end Rhett Ellison scored on a 1-yard run to cap a 13-play, 79-yard drive that made it 16-13. Ellison lost the ball on a big hit after crossing the goal line but held on long enough for the touchdown.
Stafford's 27-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts set up Prater's 58-yard field goal for the tie in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter.
"Our guys did a heck of a job of sticking together," Stafford said. "Can't say enough about our special teams unit. We got to the end of the game and if our kicker doesn't make an unbelievable kick, we're feeling a whole lot different than we are right now. We got a lot of trust in him and he made a big one for us."
Minnesota was surprised during the week with offensive coordinator Norv Turner's resignation. The Vikings' offense had struggled behind a suspect offensive line that was missing three starters most of the season and had left guard Alex Boone out Sunday with a concussion.
The Vikings emphasized a quick, short passing attack with Shurmur. Sam Bradford was 31-of-40 passing for 273 yards and a touchdown to Kyle Rudolph. Stefon Diggs caught a career-high 13 passes for 80 yards as 10 different players had catches for Minnesota.
Bradford came out with several quick completions in the second half to set up Rudolph's 1-yard touchdown catch. But Blair Walsh missed the extra-point attempt off the upright.
On the Vikings' next drive, Walsh had a 46-yard field-goal attempt blocked by Detroit lineman Tyrunn Walker. After Glover Quin returned the block 32 yards, the Lions went three-and-out and Prater hit a 53-yard field goal.
"Probably didn't hit it well enough," Walsh said of the blocked kick. "You never know until you watch film. But probably didn't hit it well enough to get over the line. That's my fault. I didn't come through for my team there."
NOTES: Minnesota CBs Captain Munnerlyn and Marcus Sherels left the game in the first half and didn't return. The team announced Munnerlyn was having X-rays while classifying the injury as knee/ankle. Sherels, the team's punt returner, was out with an ankle injury. S Andrew Sendejo also left in the first half but returned after halftime with an unannounced injury. ... Detroit was without starting CB Darius Slay, LB DeAndre Levy and RT Riley Reiff. ... Vikings QB Sam Bradford caught a pass in the first quarter when he reacted quickly and snared a tip at the line of scrimmage. Bradford ran for five yards on his first career reception. ... Vikings first-round pick Laquon Treadwell caught his first career pass, a 15-yarder for a first down. ... Golden Tate had 11 catches for 79 yards and surpassed 400 receptions for his career.