Detroit Came Back To Beat Cleveland 38-24. Here’s How It Happened.
This game started out rough for the Lions as Cleveland scored a field goal on their opening drive and then a touchdown on their second possession to take a 10-0 lead.
The Lions were able to answer the Browns first two possessions with a field goal to make this a one score game at the end of the first quarter.
Score: Browns lead 10-3
The Lions owned the second quarter, going on a nine play, 80 yard drive that ended with an eight yard touchdown from running back Ameer Abdullah to even the score.
Lions cornerback Nevin Lawson gave Detroit the lead a few possessions later, as he stripped Browns tight end Seth DeValve of the football and returned the fumble for a 44 yard touchdown.
Score: Detroit lead 17-10
The Browns started the third quarter hot as they scored rushing touchdowns on both of their first two possessions of the second half. Cleveland retook the lead, 24-17.
The Lions offense had a good answer for this though. Matthew Stafford led Detroit on a four play, 75 yard touchdown drive, in which he completed three pass attempts for 72 yards and a touchdown to running back Theo Riddick.
Score: Tied at 24
The Lions offense continued to roll into the fourth quarter as Matthew Stafford found tight end Eric Ebron for a 29 yard touchdown, then Golden Tate for a 40 yard touchdown to seal the game.
A late Browns comeback attempt was ended when their rookie quarterback, Deshone Kizer, threw an interception to Lions cornerback Darius Slay.
Final Score: Lions win 38-24
The Browns outgained the Lions 413 to 345 yards
The Browns offense was consistently able to move the ball in this game. The Lions offense did a good job when they had the ball but still were out gained by 68 yards.
Cleveland rushed for 201 yards at 6.1 yards per carry
The Lions run defense, which had been solid for much of this season, was abysmal on Sunday. Cleveland’s running backs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson, both had over 50 yards rushing, as did quarterback Deshone Kizer.
The Browns ran 77 offensive plays, the Lions just 49
Cleveland controlled the flow of this game for most of it, because their offense had the ball a lot more than the Lions. Detroit’s defense didn’t get off the field enough and their offense didn’t do enough to stay on the field for long periods of time.
Cleveland converted four 4th downs on four attempts
At the end of the game the Browns faced four 4th down conversion situations and converted on all of them. Going forward, this cannot become a theme for the Lions defense or they will lose a lot more games this year.
Detroit ran for 104 yards at 5.5 yards per carry
The Lions offense had arguably their best game of the season running the ball on Sunday. Ameer Abdullah had 52 yards and one touchdown at 4.7 yards per carry, and Theo Riddick had 35 yards at 8.8 yards per rush.
The Lions averaged 7 yards per offensive play
Although Detroit’s offense didn’t control the ball for anywhere near as long as Cleveland, they had much more explosive plays. Because of this they were ultimately able to put up more points.
Detroit scored touchdowns on both of their trips to the red zone
Red zone offense has been an issue for the Lions lately but they were able to come away with two red zone touchdowns on two tries last Sunday.
The Lions won the turnover battle 2 to 1
The Lions won the turnover battle again, which is always one of the most important statistics. The Lions also scored seven points off of turnovers when Nevin Lawson ran a fumble back for a touchdown.
Matthew Stafford was sharp in the second half
In the first half of this game, Matthew Stafford completed 6 of 11 passes for 57 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. In the second half, he completed 11 of 15 passes for 192 yards with three touchdown passes. This game was a tale of two halves for Matthew Stafford and in the third and fourth quarters, when he needed to, he looked really good.
Stafford threw a beautiful deep pass to rookie receiver Kenny Golladay on this play. Stafford rainbowed the pass over the top of a defender’s head, and the ball landed perfectly where only Golladay could catch it. As a bonus, Golladay was able to take off for a lot of yards after this reception too.
Here is another beautiful Stafford rainbow, this time to tight end Eric Ebron for a touchdown. Stafford saw that Cleveland was going to blitz and did a fantastic job hanging in the pocket in the face of pressure and delivering the pass to Ebron, who he saw had single coverage on the outside. Ebron did a great job of beating press coverage and got open deep.
The running game worked
Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick combined to rush for 87 yards on 15 carries. Matthew Stafford also rushed for 17 yards, bringing the team total up to 103. This was one of the most efficient days running the football in a long time for the Lions and it comes against the number one run defense in the NFL. Here are a few examples of how the running game worked.
On this play, something very rare happened: the Lions offensive line did a good job of run blocking. They were able to open up a massive running lane for Ameer Abdullah and he took the run up field for a big gain.
This time, it is Theo Riddick who makes the big run. Detroit faked the reverse play and handed the ball from Riddick, who was aided by good run blocking. Riddick was able to cut the run up field and turn it into another big gain for the Lions.
On this touchdown run, Abdullah had another big running lane opened for him by the offensive line. He used his elite quickness to follow his blockers into the end zone and scored his third rushing touchdown of the season.
The defense made big plays when they had to
Although the Lions defense was far from perfect in this game, they did force two turnovers, scored a touchdown, and sacked Cleveland quarterbacks four times. It wasn’t pretty but the defense made plays when they had to.
Here is the defensive touchdown the Lions scored. On the play, Cleveland’s quarterback Deshone Kizer actually does a really good job of delivering the ball to tight end Seth DeValve. However, Lawson does an incredible job of not only punching the ball out as DeValve ran by him, but picking up the football without being touched and returning it for six.
The defense looked really bad for most of the game
The defense gave up more than 200 rushing yards and 200 passing yards. Cleveland was able to stay balanced throughout most of the game and almost anything they tried worked. Let’s look at some examples of Detroit’s defensive struggles in this game.
On this play, Browns receiver Kenny Britt ran a hitch route. After making the reception about five yards down the field, Lions corner Nevin Lawson came up to attempt a tackle but completely whiffed, resulting in Britt walking in for an easy touchdown.
Here, Cleveland running back Isaiah Crowell runs all over the Lions defense. The Browns run out of a formation with three backs and get superb blocking from the offensive line. Because of Detroit’s inability to get penetration, a huge running lane opened and Crowell got a big gain.
On this play, safety Miles Killebrew (number 35) had a clear path to the backfield and could have stopped Crowell for a loss of a few yards. Instead, Killebrew inexplicably takes on the left tackle of Cleveland, resulting in an easy rushing touchdown for Crowell.
The Lions offensive line did not look good in pass protection
Pass protection continued to be an issue for the Lions offensive line against the Browns. Matthew Stafford was sacked four times and was hit numerous other times. There is also an argument to be made that the interception he threw was a result of defensive pressure.
However, when Stafford did have time, he dissected the Cleveland defense. The moral of this game is that it is of the utmost importance that the Lions offensive line gets better at protecting Matthew Stafford. When he has a sufficient amount of time, he plays like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Player Of The Game
Golden Tate is this weeks player of the game. Tate caught six of the seven passes thrown to him for 97 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. He led the Lions in receiving and scored the game clinching touchdown when they needed it.
Tate leads the Lions in receiving on the year, with 56 catches for 659 yards. He’s also caught three touchdowns. He is on pace to have the second most productive season of his career and will likely continue to be the Lions leading receiver going forward.