Sunday, December 19, 2010
Wrap-up: Lions 23, Bucs 20 (OT)
By Kevin Seifert
A few thoughts on a historic day for the modern-day Detroit Lions:
What it means: The Lions (4-10) snapped their NFL-record streak of 26 consecutive road losses with an overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kicker Dave Rayner tied the game with two seconds remaining in regulation with a 28-yard field goal and won it after the first possession in overtime on a 34-yarder. The Lions' last road victory was on Oct. 28, 2007 at Chicago. They have now won consecutive games for the first time since defeating the Denver Broncos one week after that 2007 victory over the Bears.
Fourth-quarter turnaround: In nine of their 10 losses this season, the Lions were either ahead or trailing by no more than five points in the fourth quarter. In other words, they were in every game and felt they were a play or two away from turning the tide in these close games. So it's worth noting they have won consecutive games by a total of seven points. They are finding ways to close out games.
What I liked: Tell the truth. You thought this game was over after kicker Connor Barth drilled a 26-yard field goal to give the Bucs a 20-17 lead with 1 minute, 44 seconds remaining. But quarterback Drew Stanton displayed all kinds of moxie on the ensuing drive, hitting receiver Bryant Johnson for 19 yards, Calvin Johnson for 23 and tight end Tony Scheffler for 12 to get Rayner in comfortable field position. Credit goes to Stanton and Calvin Johnson for the 12-yard play that got Rayner in position for the overtime kick. Johnson finished 10 receptions for 152 yards.
What else I liked: Tailback Maurice Morris had his second 100-yard day since joining the Lions, and his 26-yard run on the first play of overtime set the tone for the drive.
I also liked: Receiver Nate Burleson pushed Bucs cornerback E.J. Biggers the final five yards at the end of his 10-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Burleson isn't the NFL's biggest receiver, but obviously you can't tackle him high when he sniffs the end zone.
What I didn't like: Conservatively, I counted six missed tackles on the pair of long runs (37 and 29 yards) from Bucs tailback LeGarrette Blount.
What's next: The Lions will try to make it three in a row on their second consecutive trip to the state of Florida. This time, their targets will be the Miami Dolphins. Next Sunday. Sun Life Stadium. Be there.