When the Detroit Lions headed to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers, this game always felt uncomfortable. Both teams have strengths that oppose each other and weaknesses that could've been exploited. Yet, in the end, it was the Lions who did the most exploiting walking away with a victory 20-6.
First half of Dominance by two defenses
Something about the matchup just felt uneasy and through the first two drives of the game that comfort didn't subside. Though the Lions did move the sticks a couple of times and the Bucs one time, both teams traded punts and no harm was done. After the Lions' first punt, the defense got the ball right back after a Will Harris interception on a tipped ball. The Bucs defense stood on its head too and forced a field goal from Riley Patterson. The Bucs tied the score on a nice sustained drive in the second quarter.
Amon-Ra St. Brown broke the scoring on a phenomenal catch-and-run on third down late in the second quarter. He tight-roped the sideline and was sprung loose by a great blocky by Craig Reynolds. The Bucs' defense continued to stand tall when the Lions took the ball less than a minute before the half and struggled to get down the field. The Lions eventually let the clock run out after a sack and went into the half, receiving the ball in the third, up seven points.
Detroit Lions defense dominates second half
The Lions have been a slow team coming out of the break this season, but a huge conversion on 3&2 from a Goff to Craig Reynolds connection kept the chains moving for them. However, they failed to capitalize on the big gain and once against had to settle for a field goal attempt of 52 yards that Patterson missed wide right. The third-quarter struggles for the Lions have been real, having scored only one touchdown this season in the third quarter. On the ensuing drive, a huge penalty against Mike Evans stalled the Bucs' drive and they settled for a field goal.
The Lions snapped their third-quarter touchdown curse with a massive bomb from Jared Goff to Jameson Williams to extend their lead to 17-6. It was the first really explosive play the Lions had all game, but they finally got Jamo loose and it paid off. Williams made a clutch adjustment and huge play going to the ground to show off his big play ability.
The Lions' defense absolutely showed out today. They held the Bucs to three second-half points, and barely 100 yards. It was a stellar performance from the defensive unit all game. What was considered a question mark coming into the season has really turned this team into a complete team.
The bottom line
The Lions won a dogfight that was always going to be uncomfortable. They stood up though and did exactly what they needed to do in order to escape from Tampa Bay with a win. They've now won four games in a row and improved to 5-1 on the season with the Baltimore Ravens on tap for next week. Enjoy Victory Monday, Lions' fans.