The Detroit Lions overcame another poor third quarter to grab control in the fourth to beat the Oakland Raiders and improve their record to 3-7 on the season.
Settling for field goals instead of scoring touchdowns can be a deadly mistake in the NFL but missed opportunities early didn’t come back to haunt the Detroit Lions today.
The Lions twice drove deep into Oakland Raiders’ territory in the first quarter but were held to just two field goals as they couldn’t get into the end zone. What could have been a 14-0 lead was just 6-0 as the opening quarter came to an end.
A week after holding the Green Bay Packers offense at arm’s length, the Lions once against turned in a good defensive effort in holding the Raiders scoreless in the first half. Unfortunately, the Lions offense was only able to add another field goal in the second quarter to enter the half time locker room with a 9-0 lead.
But what went well in the first half wasn’t going so well in the second half as the Lions’ problems with third quarter performance reared its ugly head again today.
Rather than pack it up, the Lions fought back.
Stafford ripped off the Lions’ longest run of the day by taking it 18 yards after failing to find an open receiver to give the Lions a first and goal. On the next play, offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter dialed up a perfect play with Stafford taking advantage of a hole in the middle of the Raiders defense on a quarterback draw for a five yard touchdown run.
The defense followed up by forcing a Raiders three and out. The Lions punted on their ensuing possession but the defense came up big again when Ziggy Ansah drew a holding call in the end zone for a safety making it 18-13.
A five point lead with just under seven minutes remaining isn’t enough to sit on but the Lions did even better than adding to it. With a mix of runs and passes the Lions put together a drive that could have ended in points if they needed to, but instead they were able to run out the clock. It didn’t end in points but the 13-play drive to run out the clock may be the Lions’ most impressive drive of the season.
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The win moves the Lions to 3-7 on the season and 2-0 since ownership swept out front office leaders Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew. Martha Ford has made it clear the expectation is to win and no one should be giving up on the season; a message clearly received by her players.
Next up will be the Philadelphia Eagles for the annual Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit.