Lions Narrowly Prevail; Beat Buccaneers 27-20

It was a lot closer than it needed to be, but the Lions hang on in Tampa to secure their first win of the 2011 season.  The Lions dominated the first three quarters in all phases, but then allowed the Bucs to creep back into the game during a sloppy fourth quarter.  The Lions started strong offensively with two long drives in their first three possessions, but missed huge opportunities in the red zone.  On the first possession, Pettigrew dropped a tough catch in the end zone and on the third Stafford missed a wide open Calvin Johnson in the end zone.  The Lions settled for field goals on both.

Sandwiched in between those drives were a field goal by the Bucs after a long kick return and a pick returned for a touchdown after a dropped pass by Will Heller.  The Lions trailed heading into the second quarter, but took the lead on a brilliant fourth down touchdown pass from Stafford to Calvin Johnson.  Stafford would throw another touchdown in the second quarter to Tony Scheffler from 11 yards out.  After a bizarre series of events, the Bucs would get a field goal just before the half to draw within seven, 20-13.

The Lions would add another touchdown on a great jump ball to CJ from the one yard line to take a 27-13 lead.  The Lions again dominated the Buccaneers in the third quarter and knocked Josh Freeman out of the game for a couple series.  The Lions dialed up the running game to kill the clock throughout the second half mixing in Jahvid Best, Jerome Harrison and Maurice Morris.

The Bucs finally got their offense going in the fourth quarter when Freeman returned and Tampa shifted to a hurry up offense, as they scored on a great pass and catch from Freeman to Mike Williams with less than two minutes remaining.  The Lions were unable to run out the clock and Tampa got a final shot at tying the game with a little over a minute.  The Lions ultimately held on after a ridiculous lateral-fest on the last play of the game.

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