Tampa Bay 16 Detroit 23
|Tampa Bay 16||Detroit 23|
|October 21, 2007||Ford Field-Attendance: 60,442 (65,000)||Time: 3:01|
|DET||FG||9:53||Jason Hanson 34 yard field goal attempt is good.||0||3|
|DET||TD||2:51||Kevin Jones rush to the right for 1 yard for a touchdown.||0||9|
|DET||PAT||2:51||Jason Hanson extra point attempt is good.||0||10|
|TB||TD||12:48||Jeff Garcia pass completion to the right to Ike Hilliard for 5 yards for a touchdown.||6||10|
|TB||PAT||12:48||Matt Bryant extra point attempt is good.||7||10|
|DET||FG||0:05||Jason Hanson 42 yard field goal attempt is good.||7||13|
|DET||FG||4:17||Jason Hanson 32 yard field goal attempt is good.||7||16|
|DET||TD||6:28||Calvin Johnson rush to the right for 32 yards for a touchdown.||7||22|
|DET||PAT||6:28||Jason Hanson extra point attempt is good.||7||23|
|TB||TD||2:03||Jeff Garcia pass completion to the middle to Maurice Stovall for 4 yards for a touchdown.||13||23|
|TB||2PT||2:03||Jeff Garcia 2-pt conversion pass attempt failed.||13||23|
|TB||FG||1:09||Matt Bryant 48 yard field goal attempt is good.||16||23|
|Team Stat Comparison|
|3rd down efficiency||8-14||3-8|
|4th down efficiency||1-1||0-0|
|Yards per pass||6.2||5.7|
|Yards per rush||4.3||6.1|
The Detroit Lions took advantage of both uncharacteristic miscues with touchdowns to beat their former quarterback and another NFC team with a winning record.
Calvin Johnson scored on a 32-yard run midway through the fourth quarter after Garcia's second fumble, and the spectacular play proved to be the difference in a 23-16 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
''We were our own worst enemy at crucial times,'' said Garcia, who hadn't turned the ball over in his first six games with the Bucs. ''That's disappointing because in a game like this, it definitely came back to haunt us.''
The Lions used to hurt their chances with untimely mistakes, but seem to be turning things around in Rod Marinelli's second year as coach and Matt Millen's seventh season as an executive.
Detroit (4-2) pulled within a game of idle Green Bay in the NFC North, improving to 3-0 at home.
''We have the pieces to win,'' said quarterback Jon Kitna, who said he would be disappointed if the Lions didn't win at least 10 games. ''We just had to put it altogether.''
Against the Bucs, the Lions did.
Detroit ran the ball effectively and threw it efficiently. Defensively, a bend-but-don't-break defense worked well. Jason Hanson rounded out the all-around performance by making all three of his field goals.
The players passed the credit to Marinelli, giving him the game ball after he led them to a win against the team he spent a decade with as an assistant.
''He was quiet,'' said defensive end Dewayne White, a former Buc, who handed the game ball to Marinelli. ''He accepted it, and said 'Thank you.'''
Marinelli downplayed his emotions about playing the Bucs, who gave him his first NFL job in 1996.
''Honestly, my only focus is getting the franchise turned around,'' he said. ''That's what I'm locked in on.''
Tampa Bay (4-3) lost a chance to move past idle Carolina in the NFC South, drawing the ire of Ike Hilliard.
''There's not a team that's established itself as the team to beat in the NFC,'' Hilliard said. ''We dropped the ball on this one.''
In fact, Garcia dropped two.
Garcia, who played in Detroit for one forgettable season two years ago, botched a handoff in Detroit territory in the first quarter. He also mishandled a snap on a first-and-goal when the Bucs were a yard away from pulling within two points early in the fourth.
''Those were two critical errors on my behalf that hurt,'' Garcia said.
Capping a 93-yard drive, Johnson broke a few tackles on an end-around to give the Lions a 23-7 lead with 6:28 left.
''That's why he was drafted No. 2 overall,'' Kitna said. ''He stiff-armed one of the best linebackers in the league (Cato June); made another guy (Tanard Jackson) miss; and then dragged one of the NFL's leading tacklers (Barrett Ruud) into the end zone.''
But the Bucs hung around.
Garcia connected with Maurice Stovall on a 4-yard pass, then after the 2-point conversion failed, Tampa Bay got the ball back on a unique onside kick. The Bucs bunched up near the hash marks and Matt Bryant's low kick ricocheted off Jared DeVries, and Torrie Cox recovered it.
Bryant's 48-yard kick with 1:04 to go pulled Tampa Bay within seven, but its rally ended when Casey FitzSimmons recovered an onside kick.
''I'm proud of the team with the way they competed until the end of the game,'' Bucs coach Jon Gruden said.
Garcia finished 37-of-45 for a season-high 316 yards with two TDs and kept his streak alive without an interception, dating to last season when he was playing for Philadelphia.
Kevin Jones, getting his first start of the season, ran for 76 yards and a TD after Garcia's first fumble.
Kitna was 16-of-20 for 147 yards without a score or a turnover. His chances to make plays were limited by Tampa Bay's methodical offense.
Garcia completed 18 straight passes in the first half, setting a franchise record for consecutive completions in a game, and running back Earnest Graham had career highs with 99 yards receiving and 92 yards rushing.
He has thrown 270 passes without an interception, including attempts in the postseason last season for the Eagles, for the longest active streak.
Notes: Overturned calls helped both QBs in the first quarter, negating fumbles, including Kitna's that was returned for a score. ... The last time the Lions started 4-2 was 2004, when they finished with six wins - the most since Millen took control of the franchise. ... Garcia broke Steve DeBerg's franchise record for consecutive completions in a game, and tied the mark Brad Johnson set spanning two games
Scott's Game Commentary:
Defense: --- B-. The Defense gave up over 400 yards but held their own thanks to Garcia and all the miscues. If it was not for the Bucs blunders, the Defense would have cost the Lions the game. But, Dwayne White - playing against his old team, had three sacks and was a force to be wrecken with. The Defense played a bend but don't break game and waited for the Bucs to make the miscues. It worked this week, but they better figure out how to stop the dump pass or else.
Special Teams: --- B. Hanson made all his field goals.Coverage was good for the most part although the return game is nothing like it was in years past.
Coaching: --- B. The Calvin Johnson run was a great call and it was great to see the Offense run the ball more.
Overall: --- B. It might not have been the prettiest game but the Lions won. At 4-2, they have a great chance at turning the page but first things first - a visit to Soldier Field against the Bears. Although I have attended the last three, I decided to pass on the game this year. The last two were two of the worst experiences i've ever had at a football game and I have a bad feeling it may get ugly again. Until the Lions can gain some consistency on the road, they will never get over the hump. A win against Chicago would go a long way of doing that, but don't count on it.
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