Lions avoid disaster, win 24-23 over the Eagles
By Matt Urben
Darius Slay’s late interception seals Detroit’s 24-23 win over the Eagles.
The Lions nearly blew a 21-7 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles, but Matthew Stafford came to the rescue in the fourth quarter to give Detroit their second win of the year. Eagles rookie Carson Wentz proved to be the real deal. He confidently led the Eagles back to take a late lead, but his first career interception cost Philly the game. The Lions may not have saved the season, but at 2-3, they’ve bought Coach Caldwell some time to try and right the ship. Read my notes from the game below.
A nice catch from Marvin Jones got Detroit going on the first drive of the game. Golden Tate and Theo Riddick lined up in the backfield and Detroit effectively ran the ball with both. On 3rd-and-11, Anquan Boldin ran an inside post and nearly scored. Stafford, on the next play, found Riddick who burned an Eagles linebacker for a beautiful touchdown grab. The Lions were up 7-0 after the game’s first drive. The score ended a 66-minute Detroit offensive touchdown drought. The Eagles took over with rookie QB Carson Wentz. After getting a first down, Wentz nearly threw an interception and the Eagles punted.
Detroit took over and continued to move the ball at will against Philly’s defense. Boldin just seems to have a knack for making tough catches over the middle that convert third downs. As the Lions moved into Eagles territory, Stafford took off running upfield — showing some real burst — and slid for a first down. A personal foul on the Stafford slide gave Detroit the ball on Philly’s 21-yard line. On a well-executed flair screen, Matthew Stafford hit Theo Riddick for a 17-yard touchdown pass, their second TD connection of the first-quarter.
End of 1st Quarter: Lions lead 14-0.
Philly had the ball at the start of the 2nd quarter. Wentz showed great poise and Darren Sproles popped off a couple runs to get the Eagles in scoring position. Wentz found Ryan Matthews on a play action to set up the Eagles’ first touchdown. The Lions led 14-7, with 10:21 left in the 2nd. On Detroit’s next possession, Theo Riddick did a little bit of everything but the drive nearly stalled out around midfield. Coach Caldwell elected to go for it on 4th down and the Lions effectively converted on a QB sneak.
Stafford scrambled out of the pocket to find Boldin for a first down, then hit Zach Zenner on a screen pass for big yardage into Eagles territory. Golden Tate nearly scored on a quick toss up the right side. On the next play, Stafford rolled out to his left throwing across his body to find Marvin Jones in the back of the endzone. It was Stafford’s third touchdown pass of the half. The Eagles drove down for a field goal as the first half expired.
Halftime: Detroit Leads 21-10.
The Eagles received to start the second half. Carson Wentz continued to show patience and mobility in the pocket. He hit Josh Huff on a quick pass for a touchdown, making it 21-17 Detroit. The Lions took over but Matthew Stafford fumbled on the 15-yard line and the Eagles recovered. Nevin Lawson outbattled the much bigger Dorial Green-Beckham and the Eagles settled for a field goal, cutting the lead to one point.
Detroit got the ball back about halfway through the quarter. A poor return and negative run by Golden Tate resulted in a quick punt. Sam Martin booted it 57-yards and Philly took over with a few minutes left in the third quarter. They failed to do anything, however, giving it right back to Detroit.
End of 3rd Quarter: Detroit Leads 21-20.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Detroit faced another 4th-and-1 and went for it yet again. This time, Riddick fought for maybe the toughest yard of his career, converting just barely. Eagles DT Fletcher Cox absolutely schooled Larry Warford on third down for a sack, killing the Lions’ drive and pushing them just out of field goal range. The Lions nearly pinned the Eagles at the goal line on their punt, but it was instead ruled a touchback. Philly got the ball back about 12 minutes left in the game. Detroit wasn’t getting much pressure and Wentz made them pay He completed a few sharp passes to get Philly into field goal range.
A holding penalty brought back a huge Ryan Matthews gain. Darius Slay made a nice break on the ball to force an incompletion on 3rd down. The Eagles converted a field goal to go up 23-21. Detroit came out sluggishly, yet again, going 3-and-out. With five minutes left in the 4th, the Eagles took over leading by two. In a situation that felt all too familiar, the Lions trailed late, needing to get the ball back to have a chance.
Darius Slay forced a fumble on 3rd down and the Lions took over with two minutes left, just on the edge of field goal range. Golden Tate caught a ball over the middle and took it 27-yards to put the Lions inside the Eagles’ 10-yard line. Detroit got stuffed twice before Stafford took a sack, making it 4th down. Prater kicked a 29-yarder to give the Lions a 24-23 lead. The Eagles got the ball with just under two minutes and no timeouts left. Wentz forced it downfield and Darius Slay made a spectacular interception. Detroit ran out the clock to finalize their second victory of the year.
Final Score: 24-23, Lions Win.
3 Stars of the Game
3. Carson Wentz
The rookie passer continues to play with the poise of a ten-year veteran. Despite throwing an interception that essentially cost the Eagles the game, Wentz was phenomenal for most of the day. He gave his team the lead in the fourth quarter after being down 21-7 in the first half. Wentz finished 25-33, for 238 yards 2 TDs and 1 interception. That was good for a QB rating of 102.8.
2. Matthew Stafford
Stafford had another stellar game, with three first-half touchdowns. He wasn’t nearly as explosive in the second half. But when Detroit blew yet another late-game lead, he stepped up and got the team in position for an eventual game-winning field goal. He’d be first on this list but we all know how easily the Eagles could’ve come back. He finished 19-25, for 180 yards, and 3 touchdowns. His QB rating was 135.
1. Darius Slay
Slay made plays in the secondary all day, but his two forced turnovers in the final minutes were the difference in the game. He forced a fumble on Ryan Matthews as the Eagles led with under three minutes left and Detroit recovered. The Lions took the lead but still needed a stop. Slay’s interception of Carson Wentz finished off the victory. Check out the incredible pick below.