Lions Win Defensive Battle 26-19 Over Jaguars

Nov 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) makes a pass as Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) applies pressure during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) makes a pass as Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) applies pressure during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit’s defense and special teams play well in 26-19 win over the Jaguars.

Nov 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick (25) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

They did it again. Those first-place Detroit Lions (6-4) were trailing in the fourth quarter for the tenth time in ten games. This time it was defense, special teams, and a little Matthew Stafford sprinkled in that got the job done. Andre Roberts returned a punt for a TD and Rafael Bush had a pick-six as both players had their best games as Lions. This was a total team effort. Stafford was clutch when needed, despite not throwing a TD pass. Theo Riddick had conversion after conversion down the stretch. The secondary had their best game of the season with huge performances from Nevin Lawson, Miles Killebrew and Darius Slay. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but the Lions took care of business, 26-19, and are 6-4 on the season. They play Thursday on Thanksgiving against the Vikings. Read my notes from each quarter and check out my three stars of the game!


The Lions received the opening kickoff and nearly gave it right back to the Jaguars on an Anquan Boldin fumble. The officials ruled him down though and Detroit kept possession. Golden Tate took a WR screen two yards for a third down conversion. That single first down would be all Detroit could muster on their first drive and they punted it to the Jags. Bortles hit Marcedes Lewis and then T.J. Yeldon on a couple of quick throws to get Jacksonville past midfield. The Jags committed two costly penalties that backed them up. On 3rd & long, the Jags tried a screen to Yeldon and rookie Miles Killebrew came in to make the tackle. Just like that, Jacksonville was punting.

A tipped pass and an incompletion on third had Sam Martin punting for the second time in two drives. Bortles came out and connected with Allen Robinson for a first down into Detroit territory. Lions rookie DT A’Shawn Robinson swallowed up Chris Ivory for a five-yard loss. Killebrew caught Bortles from behind and violently took him down to kill the Jaguars’ second drive. Andre Roberts muffed the punt, however, and gave the Jags their first turnover in several weeks. Jacksonville took over in the red zone but couldn’t cash in, settling for the short field goal. The Jaguars led 3-0, with two minutes left in the 1st quarter. Stafford took a sack and Detroit punted to end the 1st.

End of 1st: Detroit-0, Jacksonville-3.


Bortles started the second quarter with a dangerous deep throw that went incomplete. After a nice completion over the middle, Chris Ivory fumbled on the next play and Detroit took over. Golden Tate was ruled to have dropped a catch that forced another quick 3-and-out. The Lions could not seem to find any offensive rhythm against Jacksonville’s defense. A nice roll on the Sam Martin punt pinned the Jags deep in their own territory. Bortles missed a wide open receiver and then intense pressure by the Lions’ defensive line caused a poor pass. The Jags punted it and this time Andre Roberts atoned for his earlier muff, taking it back 55-yards for a TD. Lions took a 6-3 lead after Matt Prater’s kick was partially blocked.

In a game filled with almost fumbles, the Jags got lucky on what looked to be a turnover forced by Darius Slay. It was ruled an incompletion and Killebrew made another nice third down tackle. After a Jacksonville punt, the Lions continued to look abysmal on offense and had ANOTHER 3-and-out. Chris Ivory took a short pass into Detroit territory to start the next drive.  Bortles fought off a big hit from Ansah to connect with Ivory for another huge conversion. Slay was called for a defensive hold which gave the Jags a 1st and goal.  Under intense pressure, Bortles found Robinson over the middle for a TD. The Jags went up 9-6, after Myers missed the PAT.

Stafford took over with just over two minutes remaining in the half. Riddick broke a tackle on a screen and ran for a first down. Tate followed with a 12-yard reception. Riddick took another screen, showing great elusiveness, and fought for another first. Marvin Jones caught a 15-yard strike, bobbling it, but still bringing it in. In field goal range, Stafford dumped it off to Riddick for 5 yards, to get to the 10 yard line. An incompletion to Riddick was followed by a Stafford scramble just shy of the 1st down. Detroit kicked the field goal to tie it at 9, with 19 seconds left. Michigan’s Chad Henne took the field before halftime, as Bortles got an early jump to get looked.

Halftime: Detroit-9, Jacksonville-9.


The Jags received the second half kickoff. Blake Bortles’ pass was tipped up by Nevin Lawson (who played the best game of his career in my opinion) and intercepted by Rafael Bush, who took it back for a touchdown. Detroit went up 16-9 only a minute into the third quarter. Jacksonville got the ball back for their second drive of the second half. Blake Bortles looked to be visibly hurt and started to make some questionable throws. Up front, Detroit was in his face all game. Despite multiple penalties, Bortles started spreading the ball around and Jacksonville began to get into a rhythm. Rafael Bush made an outstanding shoe-string tackle to stop Julius Thomas shy on third down. Myers hit a 52-yard field goal, though, and the Jaguars made it a 16-12 Detroit lead.

The Lions took over with nine minutes left in the third. RB Dwayne Washington had a nice little catch for a first down but was then stuffed on the following play. Boldin’s grab over the middle made it 3rd & 6. On the next play, Stafford just missed him and Detroit punted. Ivory did a little bit of everything — through the ground and the air — to spark the Jaguars’ offense. Marqise Lee caught a 28-yarder down the left sideline to get inside Detroit’s 10 yard line. He followed up with a TD grab and Jacksonville took a 19-16 lead. The Lions took over with two minutes in the half remaining. Stafford hit Andre Roberts for a 45-yard completion. Golden Tate fumbled on a toss and Jacksonville took over near the end of the 3rd quarter.

End of 3rd: Detroit-16, Jacksonville-19.


Miles Killebrew had his fourth big play on third down, making an open-field tackle on Julius Thomas to force a Jaguars punt. Stafford fired it over the middle to Tate for a 1st down. The announcer felt compelled to say regarding Stafford’s arm strength “he’s got a big one!” Stafford then scrambled out of the pocket to find Eric Ebron for a 61-yard completion. Riddick pounded it to the one yard line. Detroit ran a tight end sweep (the same play the Vikings ran against Detroit last week) and Ebron scored a TD on his first career carry. Lions go up 23-19, with under ten minutes remaining. Stefan Charles took down Chris Ivory for a 5-yard loss to start the Jacksonville drive. On third & long, Bortles threw it short and Jacksonville punted.

Detroit got the ball back and on 2nd & 14, Riddick caught it over the middle, made two people miss and gained 20-yards. Ebron, on the next play, caught it for a short gain and took a monster hit. Stafford found Boldin for the 3rd-down conversion with under five minutes left. Then, on a critical fourth down, Stafford drew an offsides penalty on the Jaguars to keep the drive going with under 3 minutes. The Lions milked more clock, and Stafford found Theo Riddick — as he did all afternoon — for a huge third down conversion. A couple more runs had the clock under a minute. The Lions brought out Matt Prater with 26 seconds left, up 4 points. Prater drilled the field goal, despite Jalen Ramsey jumping early. Detroit declined the penalty and went up by seven — 26-19 — with 22 seconds left. Tavon Wilson intercepted a Bortles throw in desperation to seal the win for Detroit.

End of Game: Detroit-26, Jacksonville-19.

3 Stars of the Game

Nov 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Andre Roberts (12) runs for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Theo Riddick

Riddick made about 100 Jaguars miss and converted several key drives. Down the stretch, he was probably Detroit’s most valuable player. He finished with 70 receiving yards on 8 catches and 13 rushing yards 4 carries.

2. Rafael Bush

Bush had the play of the game with an interception returned for a touchdown. Bush also had 4 tackles and a key pass deflection. He hasn’t been great this season, but he made a difference out there today. Nevin Lawson, Miles Killebrew and Darius Slay also made huge plays all game.

3. Andre Roberts

Roberts had an early muffed punt that no doubt made most Lions fans yell at their televisions. He must have heard you because he responded with a sensational 55-yard punt return TD to give Detroit their first score of the game. Roberts also had a 45-yard catch. He made big plays that helped Detroit win a surprisingly tough game.

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