Detroit Lions drop seventh straight, 38-17 to Buccaneers, before sparse Ford Field crowd
For a coach on one of the hottest seats in the NFL, with few chances left to prove he deserves to keep his job, it wasn’t the start – or finish – he needed.
The Detroit Lions played their worst first quarter of the season, then mounted a comeback that went up in flames when David Blough threw a fourth-quarter interception that Sean Murphy-Bunting returned 70 yards for the game-clinching touchdown as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers embarrassed the Lions, 38-17, at Ford Field.
The Lions have lost seven straight games and 10 of their last 11, and at 3-10-1 need to win one of their final two games to avoid their worst record since 2010.
Wes Hills ran for two second-half touchdowns in his NFL debut, but it was too little, too late for a Lions team that was booed off the field in a brutal first half and played the final few minutes to a mostly-empty stadium.
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Jameis Winston completed 10 of 12 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter as the Buccaneers scored the game’s first 21 points.
Winston threw his NFL-worst 24th interception of the season on the game’s opening drive, but the Lions went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and were outgained at one point in the first half, 314-2.
Winston finished 28 of 42 for 458 yards and four touchdowns, and it would have been worse had Tampa not taken its foot off the gas in the second half.
Chris Godwin had five catches for 121 yards before leaving with a hamstring injury, and Breshad Perriman – the son of former Lions receiver Brett Perriman – had five catches for 113 yards and three touchdowns for the Buccaneers, who had six pass plays of 20-plus yards in the first quarter and 10 for the game.
The Lions trailed, 21-3, after a shameful first half, and were so bad defensively that head coach Matt Patricia gathered the unit and gave them an animated butt-chewing at one point in the first quarter.
Winston, after his interception, threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Perriman on Tampa’s second possession then led the Buccaneers on a five-play, 99-yard drive on the third.
Lions fans serenaded the home team with Bronx cheers the few times they moved the ball in the first half, and booed when Blough took a knee to end the game.
Trailing 24-3 early in the third quarter, Hills scored 1-yard touchdowns on back-to-back Lions possessions and Matt Gay missed a 54-yard field goal off the left upright to give the Lions a glimmer of hope with just under 8 minutes to play.
But Blough threw his second interception of the game on the following possession and Winston tacked on one more touchdown pass to Perriman to send fans spilling out of the stands.
The Lions entered the day clinging to the fifth pick in April’s NFL draft, and could climb even higher after the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
The Giants and Washington, both three-win teams, play next week.
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