No contest: Coachless-Lions blown out by Brady’s Bucs

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /
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The 2020 season can’t end soon enough for the destitute Lions

Short on coaches, players, and facing the most decorated signal-caller in NFL history, there was little hope for the Detroit Lions on Saturday. Thankfully, they only have to endure one more week of a trying and dispiriting campaign.

Quarterback Tom Brady engineered five touchdown drives in just a half of work and The Tampa Bay Buccaneers completely overwhelmed the Lions’ depleted defense in a 47-7 romp on Saturday at Ford Field. Tampa Bay outgained the Lions by a startling ratio of 588 to 186 yards on offense.

The Lions were forced to play without a large contingent of their coaching staff, including interim head coach Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, who was unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols. In their place, Detroit was led by receivers coach Robert Prince as acting head coach, with quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan calling the offensive plays and assistant Evan Rothstein overseeing the defense.

The Buccaneers opened the scoring on a 33-yard touchdown toss to tight end Rob Gronkowski from Brady, the 96th time that the two future Hall of Famers has connected for a score. They followed that with another quick scoring drive, jumping out to an early 13-0 lead. Tampa Bay went to halftime up 34-0.

The Lions scored their only points on a 74-yard third-quarter punt return touchdown by Jamal Agnew. It was his fifth scoring return in four years as a Lion.

Lions starter Matthew Stafford‘s injury-plagued season continued when he was forced to the sideline in the first quarter after rolling his right ankle. He would not return to the game, and Chase Daniel relieved him for the fourth time this season. Daniel finished 13 of 18 for 86 yards. Third-stringer David Blough played the entire fourth quarter, making his first appearance since Week 17 of 2019.

Brady, who made his NFL debut 30 miles north at the since-demolished Pontiac Silverdome in 2000, finished 22 of 27 throwing for 348 yards and four touchdowns before backup Blaine Gabbert took over after halftime. Gabbert went 9 of 15 for 143 yards and two scores.

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With the win, the Buccaneers clinched their first playoff berth since 2007. The Lions conclude the 2020 season next Sunday, January 3 at 1:00 p.m. EST when they host the Minnesota Vikings.