Full Notes from Detroit’s 16-15 Loss to Tennessee Titans

Sep 18, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron (85) reacts as referee Brad Allen (122) makes a call during the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron (85) reacts as referee Brad Allen (122) makes a call during the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

Lions blow early lead, lose ugly game to the Titans, 16-15.

The Detroit Lions lost to the Tennessee Titans, 16-15, in a penalty-filled mess of a game. After getting out to an early lead, Detroit let the Titans crawl back and take the lead, late in the 4th-quarter. For a second, it looked like the team would have a chance to hit a game-winning field goal as they did against the Colts. But after driving down in the final seconds, Matthew Stafford was intercepted by Perrish Cox to lose the game. It was a real heartbreaker for Lions fans who were just hoping to get out of this ugly game with a win, after leading for nearly the entire game. The Titans were putrid on offense for the most part but made plays late. Mariota’s 4th-down touchdown pass to Andre Johnson put the Titans up and they were able to hold on for the win.

Detroit played a good first half, but it could’ve been great if not for some untimely penalties. They got up 12-3 on Tennessee going into halftime. Every time the Lions seemed to make a big play, they would commit a penalty to negate it. At one point, the Lions had 4 penalties in a row in the red zone, including two touchdowns that were called back. It was not exactly a thrilling game due to the unusual amount of penalties from start to finish. There were 31 accepted penalties in total. Marvin Jones had his best game since joining Detroit, finishing with 8 catches for 118 yards. Eric Ebron nearly made the play of the game grabbing a one-handed catch on 3rd and 19, but Stafford wasn’t able to finish the deal this week. Here are my notes from each quarter followed by the 3 stars of the game.

Marcus Mariota pulled out a late, game-winning drive to beat the Lions, 16-15. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

1st Quarter

The Lions kicked off to start the game. Rookie linebacker Antwione Williams got the start for the injured DeAndre Levy. He made his presence felt early when he blitzed off the edge to stuff DeMarco Murray for a loss. After a few nice runs, Mariota hit Delanie Walker for a 32-yard gain on a blown coverage. The Titans were very methodical on the opening drive, milking over 7 minutes off of the clock. They missed a 50-yard field goal, negating the nice drive. The Lions had a quick 3-and-out but got great field position after a Titans holding penalty on the punt. Devin Taylor stuffed Murray for a safety on the first play of the drive. Stafford drove the Lions right down the field, connecting with Marvin Jones on a deep, back-shoulder throw on the left sideline. Stafford finished the drive, hitting Anquan Boldin for a 24-yard touchdown on a scramble and heave. It was a questionable decision, but a product of great chemistry between Boldin and Stafford. The Lions finished the 1st quarter up 9-0.

2nd Quarter

The 2nd quarter started in the middle of a Titans drive. They ran the ball effectively to get back into field goal range. Titans’ kicker, Ryan Succup, hit a 46-yard field goal to make the game 9-3. Coach Caldwell elected to punt after the next Lions drive stalled at the 45. Punter Sam Martin got a nice bounce, pinning the Titans inside their own 10-yard line. On the Titans’ first play of the drive, however, Murray broke a long run all the way to the Lions’ 26-yard line. That would be the lone bright spot of the drive, after Devin Taylor had a drive-ending sack on Mariota. The Titans chose to punt and downed Detroit on the 1-yard line. The Lions completed a couple of short passes to get some breathing room. Ameer Abdullah had an impressive 24-yard run to get near midfield with 2:00 minutes left in the half. Facing a 3rd and 9, Stafford hit Marvin Jones on a short comeback which he took 47-yards into the Titans’ red zone.  Ebron and Boldin each had touchdown catches called back on penalties. Four straight flags caused Detroit to settle for a field goal. Each team failed in their final attempt to get points before the half. So the Lions went to halftime, leading 12-3.

3rd Quarter

The Lions got the ball to start the 3rd quarter. After a pretty good drive, they were forced to punt. Stafford looked frustrated when he got hit low and didn’t get a penalty (possibly the first play of the game without a penalty flag). The Lions punted it back to the Titans, who started on their own five after yet another penalty. They had a nice drive going until Glover Quin darted across the field – seemingly coming out of nowhere – to pick off Mariota’s pass on the sideline. Quin, who got off to a slow start in week one, made the Lions’ 1st interception of the season. The Lions took over, only to have yet another nice run taken back by a holding call. With Ameer Abdullah sidelined, Dwayne Washington got some runs, showing some explosiveness and vision. After a few more penalties, Ebron caught a nice 7-yard slant to convert a 3rd and 6. Stafford ran for 24-yards (career-high) on a scramble into Titans’ territory. The Lions failed to get it in for a touchdown, they settled for a field goal, making it a 15-3 Lion lead. Injuries really piled up with Ansah, Williams, Van Noy and Abdullah all out for large stretches of the game. The Lions led 15-3 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

4th Quarter

Mariota hit Delanie Walker on a 31-yard touchdown pass to open the 4th quarter.  The score made it 15-10, Detroit. Jones caught another pretty sideline grab for a first down conversion to give him 118 yards – close to his career-high. Riddick had to do a little bit of everything and was up to the challenge. He pulled a Madden-like spin move on a 2nd and 7 for a first down. Golden Tate nearly corralled an unbelievable sideline tip to himself, but couldn’t get full possession. The Lions were forced to punt just outside of field goal range. Martin booted it inside the ten and the Titans took over near their own goal line. Darius Slay got called for a pass interference call, but responded on third down, breaking up what would have been a first down grab. The Titans punted and Detroit took over after a nice return by Andre Roberts. Golden Tate nearly hauled in a long pass that would’ve likely been a TD had it been slightly more accurate. Instead, the Lions punted back to the Titans, with just over seven minutes left. Mariota drove all the way into Lions’ territory, milking the clock down to under two minutes. Mariota hit Andre Johnson for a highly-contested touchdown over the middle, giving the Titans a 16-15 lead. Stafford got the ball back with three timeouts and over a minute. After an amazing, one-handed catch by Ebron that converted a third and long, Detroit was just outside of field goal range. Stafford threw the game-ending interception to Perrish Cox, who rebounded from a terrible performance to ice the game.

Final Score: Titans 16, Lions 15

3 Stars of the Game

Sep 18, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Tennessee Titans defensive end DaQuan Jones (90) puts his arm around cornerback Perrish Cox (20) after the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Titans win 16-15. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Marvin Jones

Jones had his best game as a Lion, finishing with 8 grabs for 118 yards. He was just a few yards short of his career high. Jones wasn’t perfect, he dropped a couple crucial balls. Jones is looking the part of the team’s number-one receiver. With Golden Tate

2. Titans D.C. Dick LeBeau

The Titans defensive coordinator was masterful in this game. He was bailed out by some bad Lions penalties but overall his gameplan succeeded in slowing down the Lions offense. His defense was the deciding factor and came away with the game-winning interception.

1. Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota wasn’t phenomenal in this game, but he made the plays when he needed to. When the game was on the line, on 4th down, he connected with Andre Johnson for the go-ahead touchdown. He finished 25-of-33, for 238 yards and 2 touchdowns with a pick. His final QB rating was 102.8.