TWENTYMAN: Lions gift wrap victory for the Buccaneers with five turnovers

Posted Nov 24, 2013

Detroit was unable to overcome five turnovers in 24-21 loss to Tampa Bay

It was a pretty simple formula for the Detroit Lions the rest of the way.

Keep winning football games and they controlled their own playoff destiny.

Instead, the Lions came back to the friendly confines of Ford Field, coming off a loss in Pittsburgh last week, and gifted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their third victory of the season, 24-21.

The Lions turned the ball over five times and had a punt blocked, and unlike the Dallas game a few weeks ago, when they managed to overcome four turnovers to win, the turnovers doomed them in this one.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw four interceptions, and receiver Kris Durham fumbled one away in the fourth quarter as the Lions were trying to mount a comeback.

Detroit trailed 17-14 at halftime and 24-21 late in the fourth quarter, but were marching in Tampa Bay territory in the final minute.

That’s when a Stafford pass to Calvin Johnson was knocked loose at the Bucs 5-yard line and intercepted by Johnthan Banks to ice the game.

No one can say the Lions didn’t have their chances in this one.

Tampa Bay kicker Ryan Lindell missed two fourth-quarter field goals to keep the Lions within earshot. They simply couldn’t make the plays to win the game for a second consecutive week.

Stafford finished 26-of-46 passing for 297 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions.

Nate BurlesonWR Nate Burleson (Photo: G.Smith/Detroit Lions)

Receiver Nate Burleson, making his first start since breaking his forearm after a Week 3 win in Washington, caught seven passes for 77 yards, including the team’s first score of the game.

Tight ends Joseph Fauria and Brandon Pettigrew caught the other Stafford touchdown passes.

The Lions defense held the Buccaneers to 229 total yards, but 85 of those came on a Mike Glennon to Tiquan Underwood touchdown pass that served as the game winner in the fourth quarter after the Lions had taken a 21-17 lead.

Johnson finished with 115 receiving yards and Reggie Bush had 83 on the ground.

The Lions let a terrific opportunity slip through their fingertips on Sunday. Now they have a short turnaround before Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day game against Green Bay.