In the NFL, your best players need to play well. If they don’t, there will be guys on the other side who will take advantage. That’s exactly what happened today with the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Lions looked to have overcome another slow start when Matthew Stafford found Joseph Fauria for a ten yard touchdown pass for a 14-10 lead in the second quarter. The game was looking even better with the Lions looking for another score late in the first half. That was until Stafford fired an ill-advised pass to an unsuspecting Brandon Pettigrew who ducked while Leonard Johnson picked off the pass and walked 48 yard into the end zone. Instead of tacking on some points to a 14-10 lead, the Lions ended the first half down 17-14.
Stafford and Pettigrew redeemed themselves by hooking up for a beautiful 18 yard touchdown in the third. Once again, a big play by the Bucs gave them the lead back. This time it was Tiquan Underwood burning Chris Houston for 75 yards on a play where Louis Delmas bit on an underneath route.
A pair of missed field goals by the Bucs in the fourth quarter gave the Lions some life. However, in a game filled with weird bounces that went against the Lions more than they went for them, the oddest of all sealed the win for the Bucs. Calvin Johnson appeared to make a catch near the Bucs five yard line but it was knocked out of his hands an into the arms of Johnthan Banks. Game over.
It was the fifth Lions turnover on the day while the Bucs were able to stay turnover free.
Fortunately, perhaps, the Lions won’t have to wait long to get back on the field with the Packers coming to town on Thanksgiving Day.