|Buffalo 17||Detroit 20|
|October 15, 2006||Ford Field-Attendance: 60,704 (65,000)||Time: 3:03|
|DET||FG||7:05||Jason Hanson 43 yard field goal attempt is good.||0||3|
|DET||TD||3:23||Kevin Jones rush to the right for 7 yards for a touchdown.||0||9|
|DET||PAT||3:23||Jason Hanson extra point attempt is good.||0||10|
|BUF||TD||14:11||J.P. Losman pass completion to the right to Roscoe Parrish for 44 yards for a touchdown.||6||10|
|BUF||PAT||14:11||Rian Lindell extra point attempt is good.||7||10|
|DET||TD||0:40||Jon Kitna pass completion to the middle to Roy Williams for 28 yards for a touchdown.||7||16|
|DET||PAT||0:40||Jason Hanson extra point attempt is good.||7||17|
|BUF||FG||0:00||Rian Lindell 53 yard field goal attempt is good.||10||17|
|DET||FG||14:10||Jason Hanson 29 yard field goal attempt is good.||10||20|
|BUF||TD||9:23||J.P. Losman pass completion to the middle to Ryan Neufeld for 4 yards for a touchdown.||16||20|
|BUF||PAT||9:23||Rian Lindell extra point attempt is good.||17||20|
|Team Stat Comparison|
|3rd down efficiency||3-11||3-12|
|4th down efficiency||0-0||0-1|
|Yards per pass||4.0||6.7|
|Yards per rush||4.0||4.9|
Williams had 10 receptions for 161 yards - both career highs - and scored a touchdown while Jones ran for a season-high 127 yards and a score to lead the Detroit Lions to a 20-17 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
''I'm glad we got this because the coaching staff has really been under the microscope and they don't deserve that,'' Jones said.
Instead of the late mistakes that have cost the Lions in four of five opening losses, they made clutch plays on both sides of the ball to give Marinelli victory No. 1 as an NFL head coach. Marinelli had to bide his time for more than three decades to be a head coach at any level, and the Lions made him wait just a little longer for his first victory.
When the former Tampa Bay defensive line coach saw the final seconds tick off the clock, he smiled and walked across the field to shake Dick Jauron's hand, the Buffalo coach, who ended last season as the interim coach in Detroit.
''It's been a long time coming for him, but it's the first of many,'' Williams said.
Marinelli wouldn't even acknowledge that he enjoyed the moment for a fleeting second.
''It's the process,'' he said - repeatedly.
The Vietnam veteran, whose passion has been well received by his team, said he would probably put his first game ball in his locker.
''Those things are nice, but it's not why I'm in it,'' Marinelli said.
The Lions led 17-10 at halftime, wishing they had a bigger lead after outgaining Buffalo by nearly 200 yards. Detroit (1-5) outscored the Bills (2-4) by four points in the fourth quarter after being outscored 47-14 in the final quarter of their previous five games.
''These things are big because every week it comes down to this,'' Marinelli said.
Jason Hanson's 29-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter put the Lions ahead by 10. Detroit had to cling to the slim lead after J.P. Losman's 4-yard TD pass to Ryan Neufeld made it 20-17 on the next drive.
Jones helped seal the victory with a shifty move on a third-down reception, which helped Detroit hold onto the ball long enough to punt it with 22 seconds left.
''Really with the way the stats were in the first half, it was hard to believe we were in the game right until the end,'' Jauron said. ''So I guess if there's one good thing it's for our guys finding a way to stay in it and have a chance.''
Detroit's Jon Kitna was 24-of-36 for 278 yards with a TD and an interception.
Losman was 21-of-34 for 207 yards with two TDs and an interception. He lost one of his top targets, Roscoe Parrish, to a hamstring injury after he scored a second-quarter TD.
Willis McGahee, who began the day with an AFC-high 439 yards rushing, was held to 66 yards on 17 carries.
By stunting Buffalo's running game, the Lions put pressure on Losman when he had to throw in third-and-long situations. They had five sacks, including James Hall's career-high 3 1/2.
''They did a good job of mixing it up,'' Losman said. ''They gave us multiple looks - taking away the run, taking away the pass.''
The Lions had four chances to score in the first - gaining 117 yards to the Bills' minus-4 - only to come away with 10 points. Detroit was impressive on the opening drive until Jones was stopped on two straight runs from the 1 on third and fourth down.
Hanson's field goal and Jones' TD run on the third drive put the Lions ahead 10-0.
After Losman's pass was intercepted by Terrence Holt and returned to Detroit's 30, Hanson was just short on a 56-yard field goal.
The Bills took advantage of having good field position for the first time. Losman scrambled and threw a perfect pass on the run, a 44-yard connection with Parrish that made it 10-7.
The Lions went ahead 17-7 on Kitna's 28-yard pass to Williams with 1:52 left in the half.
Terrence McGee's 72-yard return on the ensuing kickoff set up Rian Lindell's 53-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
Defense: --- B+. James Hall had a personal best 3 1/2 sacks and the Defense had 5 for the game! Creating three turnovers also helped a ton. What has been most impressive with the Defense is their ability to stop the run. Once again they held a great running back in check. This time it was Willis McGahee who had only 66 yards. Boss Bailey played a great game, which we haven't seen in a long time. Shaun Rogers had his best game since week one. He had a sack and recovered a fumble. Hopefully the Defense can continue to play like they have the past few games.
Special Teams: --- B. Eddie Drummond had one long run back, but was quiet for most of the game. Hanson barely missed a 56 yard field goal, but nailed two others. Coverage was better than what it has been this year. For once, no glaring mistakes for the special teams.
Coaching: --- C. I did not like some of the play calling at times. The 4th and goal run the ball up the middle was way too conservative. Trying a 56 yard field goal in the 1st half with the Defense playing so well, was too risky. That led to a Bills touchdown. In the 4th quarter with the Offense trying to put the game away, Martz elected for a deep pass that was intercepted - wrong call! Still, it was good to see Marinelli get his first win as a head coach.
Overall: --- B. This was a game the Lions had to win and they did. Starting 0-6 would have been a nightmare. At 1-5, they are still only playing for pride but at least they had a shot in every game except for the Bears debacle. Up next is a trip to New York to face a young and inexperienced Jets team. Although I don't think the Lions will win, they still have a great chance of getting their first road win of the year if they do not make mistakes. Next week the Lions will be an after thought with the start of the World Series at Comerica Park! As crazy the euphoria was downtown after the Tigers won the pennant, I can only imagine what it would be like if the Lions ever could make the playoffs and win a game, something they have not done since 1991.