Despite a big day passing from Bucs QB Jeff Garcia, he and the team could not overcome two costly fumbles as the Lions improve to 4-2 with a 23-16 win over Tampa Bay at Ford Field. Detroit scored two TD’s after Garcia put the ball on the turf, the biggie being a 32-yard run from Calvin Johnson that put the Lions up to stay, 23-7.
Garcia did well against his former team for the most part, going 37-for-45 for 316 yards and two TD’s and no picks. The fumbles though were big, and were enough to push the Lions over the top.
The numbers don’t tell the story in this game, as Detroit was outgained 422 yards to 278, and Tampa Bay had the ball 35:50 to just 24:10 for the Lions. It really came down to one thing – Garcia fumbling when the Bucs were on the Lions one with a chance to tie the game early in the fourth, and the other fumble in Lions territory in the first quarter.
The Lions with the win are now within a half game of the Packers, who are on bye this week. Tampa Bay fell to 4-3, and lost an opportunity to move past the idle Panthers in the NFC South. The Lions offense was led by QB Jon Kitna, who went 16-for-20 for 147 yards, and new starter at running back – Kevin Jones, who ran for 76 yards and a score.
Tampa Bay had a solid game running from Earnest Graham, who ran for 92 yards. Garcia at one point completed 18 straight passes, but six first half penalties hurt their chances at putting up points. Jason Hanson kicked three field goals for the Lions, who have yet to lose at Ford Field in 2007.