55 degrees/ Clear/ 9 mph wind
This was a turnover marred game (five Buccaneers turnovers and three Lions turnovers). The Buccaneers have lost eight of their last ten contests while the Lions kept their playoff hopes alive.
- Buccaneers: Despite scoring on their opening drive they would not see the end zone again until the fourth quarter. The Lions sacked QB Jameis Winston five times. Turnovers and inconsistent offense would prevent the Bucs from seeing the end zone. They would make adjustments late in the game, but it was too late.
- Lions: They largely ignored the run in favor of the pass and decided it would be best to attack a vulnerable Bucs secondary. They would throw 44 times and run only 18 times. Maybe this isn’t a strategy that they want to replicate, however, it worked fine against Tampa Bay.
- The Lions made good use of the tight end in this game, specifically, Eric Ebron.
- It appears that the Lions have settled on a starting running back, Theo Riddick who started his second straight game and scored two touchdowns and was a factor in the passing game along with having ten carries. To help their running game, they need to utilize a fullback. This would be helpful on third down as they struggle in third and short yardage.
- Eric Ebron was a big part of the Lions gameplan early on and he finished with career highs in catches (10) and yards (94). Seven of the catches came in the first half. This is a team that is in need of contributions from players other than their wide receivers and Ebron helped them out big on Sunday.
- The Lions secondary played well again. This is the most consistent and disruptive unit on defense. They are allowed to roam around, take chances and make plays. They do plenty of the latter.
- Tampa Bay came back on the Lions from a 14-point deficit to tie the game. They recognized that the Lions were susceptible to play action passes and two of their touchdowns came on play action passes. They should have gone to these earlier in the game. Had they done so, perhaps the outcome would have been different.
- The Lions managed the clock well at the end of the game as Stafford drove the team 49 yards in eight plays to set up the winning field goal with just 20 seconds left in the game.
- At the end of the half, the Lions used the clock well to get the ball back from the Buccaneers and actually moved to the Tampa Bay 30 yard line. They were in position to attempt a field or even aim for the end zone but Matthew Stafford there an interception to the Bucs at their 30 yard line. The Bucs ran out the clock but Detroit cost themselves a three point opportunity.
What We Liked
- Jim Caldwell successfully challenged a Buccaneers play in the first quarter that was ruled a complete pass to OJ Howard and a personal foul on Quandre Diggs for a hit on a defenseless receiver. It took approximately TEN minutes and TWO replay reviews to get the call right. The play was ruled an incompletion and a 15 yard penalty should be assessed. The Lions then challenged the ruling of the incomplete pass. The pass was later deemed to have been completed and that the Lions recovered the fumble. The foul was eliminated because the receiver caught the ball making him no longer a defenseless receiver. Confused? So were we about the procedure, but not the call. It was definitely a catch and definitely not a personal foul. A hard hit for sure. But not a personal foul.
What We Didn’t Like
- Eight turnovers in the game, including five of them belonging to the Bucs. This was a sloppy game.