Stafford orchestrates a comeback win, 28-24, over Seattle

Posted Oct 28, 2012

The Lions couldn't afford another misstep, after far too many of them through the early portion of their schedule. Quarterback Matthew Stafford made sure they didn’t have another one Sunday vs. the Seahawks.

It's a spot Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been in too many times.

Late in the game, trailing on the scoreboard and all eyes looking at him to orchestrate another come-from-behind win.

Stafford was there again Sunday, calmly stepping into the huddle with 5:27 left in the fourth.

He looked the other 10 guys in the face and told them it was their game to win.

He wasn't lying.

Stafford orchestrated a 16-play, 80-yard drive culminating in a 1-yard touchdown pass to receiver Titus Young with 20 seconds left that gave the Lions a 28-24 victory over the Seahawks.

It's the ninth time Stafford has led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime and the fourth time he's thrown a game-winning touchdown with less than one minute on the clock.

"I was just out there having fun, man,” Stafford said of the final drive. "That's what it's all about. In NFL football, the fourth quarter is the fun. All the guys on our team - they know it, they love it.

"I'm just proud of guys hanging in there. We had a great tempo going, a great belief in that huddle that fourth quarter drive.

"That's just kind of what we do. I think everybody in that huddle wasn't blinking at all, just ready to go.”

Stafford was 11-for-16 on the final drive and accounted for all 80 of the team's yards. He was also responsible for all four Lions' touchdowns – three passing and one rushing.

"It's easy to be confident in him when you see him every day in meetings and you see him every day on the practice field and the talent that he has,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said.

"We know that over the course of time, Matt's going to make the plays and he's got players around him to make the plays. It's easy to have confidence in Matt. That's certainly not a leap of faith by me and I'm not going out on a limb having confidence in him.”

Sunday was the start of a crucial three-game stretch for the Lions to try and dig out of the hole they've created with inconsistent play.

They took the first step up the ladder Sunday.

Young finished with a game-high nine receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns in a breakout performance for the second-year receiver. The Lions needed that type of performance after losing Nate Burleson to a broken leg last week at Chicago.

"I saw a lot of guys just looking at me throughout the week and just seeing how I was going to respond to our adversity and losing a great leader in Nate," Young said.

"I just took it upon myself to do the best I could to be there for my team this week."

The win improves the Lions' record to 3-4 with games at Jacksonville and at Minnesota the next two weeks.

Stafford had his finest game of the year, completing 34-of-49 passing for 352 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a score early in the fourth quarter.

Stafford and the Lions' offense got the monkey off their backs when Stafford found rookie receiver Ryan Broyles for a 6-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the first quarter.

It was the first touchdown scored by the Lions in the first quarter this season and gave them a lead heading into the second quarter for only the second time this season.

The excitement was short lived, though, as Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch went 77 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the following possession.

Unfazed, Stafford led the Lions right back down the field and hit Young for a 46-yard touchdown on an absolute laser of a throw.

Young got behind Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman (a.k.a. Optimus Prime) for the touchdown.

"All week and all season, Stafford just reminded me to always continue to run,” Young said of his first touchdown. "A lot of the coverage is dictated from where Calvin is. We did a great job this week going on two hard count to see what the defense is actually in.

"Matthew, he was a man of his word. He told me to continue to run and continue to work hard and my opportunity will come. So I just continued to do what I was supposed to do and just be obedient this week in every single play and try to give my all for my team."

The Lions trailed 17-14 at the half and there was no scoring as the teams traded turnovers in the third quarter – interceptions by Seattle's Earl Thomas and Detroit's Ricardo Silva – setting up a wild fourth.

Detroit threw the first punch with a 1-yard touchdown run by Stafford to give the Lions their first lead since the second with 11:35 left.

Stafford faked the handoff to Joique Bell, who sold the play by leaping over the pile, and Stafford beat the defense to the pylon for his third rushing touchdown of the season.

"That's a run-pass option,” Stafford said of the play. "Pettigrew did a great job of blocking down and got that guy thinking run. He leaks out late, but I just saw the open corner and went for it.

"I think it was 29, chasing me. I knew I had to kick it into overdrive, that's all I got in the speed department. I'm just happy it was enough to get in. I'm glad I didn't have to dive."

The Seahawks weren't done, though.

Wilson put together a 12-play, 87-yard drive, capped off by a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Miller with 5:27 left to take back the lead at 24-21.

The play was made over linebacker Ashlee Palmer, who started in place of the injured DeAndre Levy

That meant Stafford and the offense had to orchestrate another comeback victory at the end of a game.

Stafford completed passes to five different receivers on that final scoring drive ... a drive that potentially saved their season.