The Detroit Lions have not been to the playoffs since the 1999 Charlie Batch led Lions went 8-8, a year after the hall-of-famer Barry Sanders retired. If this is the year that the Lions plan on ending that playoff drought they got off to a good start on Sunday with a 27 to 20 win over the upstart Buccaneers.
After both teams traded field goals midway through the first quarter the oft-injured Stafford threw a pass that was tipped and intercepted by Buccaneer corner Aqib Talib, who hotdogged the pick into the end zone for six giving the Bucs a 10 to 3 lead.
The Lions were able to add another Jason Hanson field goal towards the end of the first quarter. Midway through the second quarter Matt Stafford and the offense faced a 4th and 3 on Tampa’s 37 yard line. Stafford went over the top of the corner and safety on the right sideline and hit Calvin “Megatron” Johnson for the touchdown putting Detroit up 13 to 10.
On the ensuing drive, Tampa hit another field goal to tie the game at 13, but that did not stand for long. Stafford drove the Lions back down the field and hit his tight end Tony Scheffler for a touchdown, putting Detroit on top 20 to 13 before the half.
Stafford was not done yet, because in the third quarter he hit Megatron again who leaped over the corner Talib and came down with an excellent touchdown catch extending the lead for good, 27 to 13.
Detroit did try to blow this lead late in the fourth quarter aided by an incredibly stupid personal foul penalty on lineman Gosder Cherilus. Thankfully, for the Lions they did not allow Tampa Bay to tie the game and held on 27 to 20.
If Matthew Stafford remains healthy, which is a big if, this team has an outside shot at a playoff spot. Their biggest obstacle in ending the playoff drought is the strength of the rest their division in the NFC North, which includes the Superbowl Champion Packers, and last year’s division winning Bears.
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