TAMPA BAY – Good teams in the NFL win by playing complementary football and that's exactly what the Detroit Lions did Sunday afternoon in their 20-6 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that improved their record to 5-1 to start the year.
Detroit's defense played terrific all game, holding the Bucs out of the end zone and limiting them to just 251 total yards of offense. They forced an early takeaway on a Will Harris interception off a tipped ball from Isaiah Buggs at the Bucs' 12-yard line that set up Detroit's first points of the game – a Riley Patterson 30-yard field goal. The Bucs converted just two third downs all game and had just 46 rushing yards.
The Buccaneers' defense was the best the Lions have faced through their first six games, but quarterback Jared Goff was terrific all game, making tight window throws to keep drives alive and mixing in a few explosive plays along the way. Detroit scored at least 20 points for a 15th consecutive game.
Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown scored the game's first touchdown on a 27-yard catch and run late in the first half that was sprung open by a terrific block from running back Craig Reynolds. St. Brown caught the ball at the Bucs' 20-yard line and cut right toward the Lions sideline where he was able to turn the corner after Reynolds completely took out Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis III to let St. Brown walk into the end zone to give Detroit a 10-3 lead.
Detroit pushed their lead to 17-6 late in the third quarter on a 45-yard touchdown by wide receiver Jameson Williams on a terrific catch where he had to adjust to an under-thrown football.
QB comparison: Goff was dealing all afternoon and finished 30-of-44 passing with those two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 107.5 passer rating.
Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield finished completing 19 of his 37 passes for 206 yards with no touchdowns, one interception and a rating of 56.8.
Key stat: Detroit entered Sunday ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in third-down defense, limiting opposing offenses to just a 36.7 percent conversion percentage. On Sunday they held the Bucs to just 2-of-12.
On the flip side, Detroit was 9-of-16 on third down. They came in ranked 18th offensively on third down converting 38.8 percent of the time.
View photos from the Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 6 game at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 15 in Tampa, FL.
Big play: Detroit's second touchdown of the game late in the third quarter was arguably the biggest play of Williams' young career.
Up 10-6 and facing a 3rd and 10 at the Buccaneers' 45-yard line, Goff launched a ball high down the field to Williams who had gained a step on Bucs safety Ryan Neal. The ball was a bit under-thrown as Goff was under duress, but Williams made a terrific twisting adjustment and came down with the ball for his first touchdown this season in just his second game back from suspension. He finished with two catches for 53 yards.
Injury report: Running back David Montgomery left the game midway through the second quarter after suffering a rib injury while being tackled after a 19-yard gain on a screen pass. He did not return. Craig Reynolds totaled 65 scrimmage yards in his place.
Up next: at Baltimore (4-2), Oct. 22, 1 p.m.