Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions stunned the Miami Dolphins on a last-minute drive to finish with a 20-16 victory at Ford Field.
The Lions started out strong in the first quarter with a 10-0 lead, dominating on all sides of the football. But the lead shortly faded as the Dolphins controlled the next three quarters, holding the Lions scoreless until the fourth. The Lions found a way to win in the last seconds despite all of Miami’s good fortune.
Fake punts, blocked field goals, busted plays and fourth down conversions kept the game interesting from start to finish. Bill Levy and the referee crew were kept busy all game, tallying 15 total penalties, 10 of them on the Lions. A close and physical game of two promising playoff pushing teams, but the better team came out on top.
Fresh off a bye week the Lions did not have much to worry about. The return of Calvin Johnson, a healthier Reggie Bush, CJ Mosley and LaAdrian Waddle, all helped ease the mind of Lions fans pre-matchup of the red-hot Dolphins. Coming off an electrifying trouncing of the San Diego Chargers, this Dolphins team was not to be taken lightly. A shutout against Philip Rivers and riding a three-game winning streak is a tough fire to put out, but the Lions surprised everyone for the third week in a row.
Megatron did not need to be eased back into the game as he campaigned for seven receptions a touchdown and 113 yards in his first game since Week 5. Golden Tate, Stafford’s favorite target in Calvin’s absence, did not lose looks, garnering 11 receptions for 109 yards. The running game struggled like it has all season and Reggie Bush continues to be less than satisfactory in the backfield. The emergence of Theo Riddick, who caught the game-winner, and continued solid play by Joique Bell might have fans skeptical on Bush’s role in the future.
The player of the game, however, is undoubtedly ‘The Gunslinger’ himself, Stafford. The quarterback threw 25/40 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and one freakish interception made by Brent Grimes. No. 9 was under pressure all game from Miami’s productive front four, being sacked three times and hurried more often than not. But the true story is something that is not on the stat sheet, willpower. Stafford has not given up and is relentless in the face of all his competitors. For three games in a row he has rallied his team in comeback victory drives. He has kept critics silenced and his coaches proud.
The Lions are going to continue to be without Nick Fairley on the defensive side of the ball, and offensive lineman Larry Warford will need to be evaluated moving forward. The Lions will face their toughest matchup this season going into Arizona to face to the first place Cardinals next week. If the Lions want to continue their win streak they will have to play their best football all season against the dirty birds of the west.