Thanksgiving came early as both the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tried desperately to give each other a win.
Shame on the Buccaneers as they ended up taking a 24-21 victory. The Lions’ players are just nicer people I guess.
So, how do we explain today’s game? Only Lions fans can as they have seen it so many times before.
Unlike against the Cowboys, when the Lions won despite a minus four turnover ratio, Matthew Stafford and company could not sneak in another victory after turning the ball over five times.
Yet they still had every chance to. Early in the 4th quarter, Lions punter Sam Martin had his boot blocked, putting the Buccaneers on the Lions’ 11-yard line, but the boys in red could not convert. Kicker Rian Lindell missed a chip shot 35-yard field goal to cap a futile drive, and he was not done.
Later that quarter Lindell missed again. This time from 50 yards, keeping the Lions within three points.
But after both of those drives the Lions just coughed the ball right back, and in very freaky ways. The first missed field goal led to a Kris Durham fumble that occurred just inches from the sidelines. After the second miss, Calvin Johnson lost a sure-fire catch only to see it fall gently into the hands of Buccaneers cornerback Johnathan Banks to seal the game.
The Lions outgained the Buccaneers by 161 yards, picked up 15 more first downs and committed four fewer penalties but still came away with a loss. Nothing can surprise Detroit anymore.
Although the Lions committed folly after folly, there were a few bright spots to this game.
Calvin Johnson won the battle against Darrelle Revis. Well, sort of, as yet another cornerback had to exit the game after injuring himself in efforts of covering Megatron. Cornerbacks Leon Hall and Charles Tillman sustained season-ending injuries while facing the 6-foot-5 machine earlier this year. Johnson finished the day with seven catches and 115 receiving yards.
Nate Burleson picked up where he left off in his return. He grabbed seven passes for 77 receiving yards and a touchdown. After his score he served the crowd a pizza (football) in celebration. Burleson of course broke his arm in a car accident a couple months ago while trying to save his pizza from falling.
Finally, the Lions’ defensive line returned to excellency. The unit sacked quarterback Mike Glennon four times, and smothered running back Bobby Rainey: he gained just 35 rushing yards on 18 carries.
After the Bears and Packers failed to win the Lions still hold the NFC North lead. Not exactly expected after two straight dumbfounding losses, but if the season ended today the Lions would be hosting a playoff game.
This Thursday is Turkey Day, and the Lions still have everything to play for. So pick your forks up, be thankful and tune in at 12:30 PM for an NFC North battle.
Read more Lions rumors, news and opinion on our Detroit Lions page