Matthew Stafford starts but doesn’t finish, Detroit Lions crushed by Titans

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions had no shot against an explosive Titans offense on Sunday

Even with their ailing quarterback giving them a gutsy performance, the Detroit Lions’ depleted defense was no match for one of the AFC’s best squads. And after another lopsided defeat, the Lions moved closer to an offseason that will bring sweeping changes.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill accounted for a career-best five total touchdowns and tailback Derrick Henry ran for 147 yards for the Tennessee Titans in a 46-25 thrashing of the Lions at Nissan Stadium on Sunday. The loss was the Lions’ sixth this year by double-digits and their fourth loss by 20 or more points as they fall to 5-9.

Since the Titans moved to Nashville from Houston following the 1996 season, the Lions have gone 0-6 in their matchups.  Detroit finishes 2020 with a 4-4 road record with interim head coach Darrell Bevell’s record falling to 1-2.

Using a punishing opening 12-play drive, the Titans jumped out to a 7-0 lead thanks to a three-yard touchdown run by Henry. Tannehill went a perfect 5-5 throwing on the series.

The Lions responded with an impressive drive of their own, marching down the field and reaching the end zone on a short touchdown grab by wideout Marvin Jones, his seventh of the year. Yet, the Titans needed just one play to regain the lead, scoring on a 75-yard bomb to receiver Corey Davis.

After a third straight touchdown drive by the Titans, the Lions drove deep into Tennessee territory. However, running back D’Andre Swift fumbled trying to leap into the end zone. Titans linebacker Will Compton recovered the ball, and the Titans took over.

Two plays later, Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara dropped Tannehill in the Titans’ end zone for a safety, the Lions first since Week 2 of 2016, also against Tennessee. Okwara’s sack was his eighth of the season, a career-high.

Swift atoned for his earlier gaffe with a 3-yard touchdown rush on the subsequent series, cutting the Lions’ deficit to 21-15, after Matt Prater‘s second missed extra point attempt of the season. The Lions though, couldn’t slow Tennessee’s offense after halftime as a trio of fourth-quarter touchdowns by the Titans put the game away.

Matthew Stafford started at quarterback for Detroit despite a painful rib injury that had put his status in question all week. He finished 22/32 for 252 yards before being pulled in the fourth quarter. Chase Daniel relieved him for the second week in a row and went 5/6 passing with an interception.

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Marvin Jones led the Detroit Lions with 112 receiving yards, while Corey Davis paced the Titans with 110 yards through the air. Ryan Tannehill finished with 273 passing yards, along with three touchdown tosses and two scores on the ground. The Lions will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, Dec. 26 at 1:00 P.M. EST.