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RECAP: Lions vs. Buccaneers

The Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers will battle it out next week in California in the NFC Championship Game to decide who punches their ticket as the NFC representative in Super Bowl LVIII.

Detroit handled their business Sunday afternoon defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31-23, to set up next week's matchup at Levi's Stadium. San Francisco, the No. 1 seed in the NFC, earned the right to host the Lions by beating the Green Bay Packers Saturday night.

The Lions had to get past the Bucs, who came in winners of five of their last six games.

A Jahmyr Gibbs 31-yard touchdown run and an Amon-Ra St. Brown 9-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter gave the Lions a 14-point lead and proved to be enough to put Detroit in the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 1991.

The Bucs cut the lead to 31-23 late and had the ball at their 10-yard line with one minute and 59 seconds to play. The drive only lasted two plays, however, as linebacker Derrick Barnes sealed the deal for Detroit with a diving interception.

It was a complete team win.

Detroit opened the scoring on their second possession of the game on a Michael Badgley 23-yard field goal that was set up by a C.J. Gardner-Johnson interception at midfield.

Detroit made it 10-3 early in the second quarter on a 9-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Josh Reynolds to cap off a 14-play, 75-yard scoring drive.

Tampa Bay tied the game right before the end of the first half on a 2-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield to tight end Cade Otton with just 19 seconds left in the half. Two Mike Evans receptions totaling 56 yards helped set up the score.

Detroit went up 17-10 late in the third quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run on a 4th & goal play.

Tampa Bay made it 17-17 in the final seconds of the third quarter on Mayfield's second touchdown pass of the game, this one a 12-yard screen to running back Rachaad White that caught the Lions' defense in a blitz.

In a back and forth contest all afternoon, Gibbs gave the Lions the lead once again with a 31-yard run with just over 13 minutes left in the game. St. Brown pushed the lead to 31-17 with just over six minutes left in the game.

Mayfield and the Bucs weren't done yet. They went 75 yards in just nine plays taking off less than two minutes off the clock to pull within one score on a 16-yard Evans touchdown. The Bucs converted a 4th & 14 to keep the drive alive.

But in the end, it was Barnes and the Lions' defense that preserved the win for Detroit.

View photos from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions Divisional Round game at Ford Field on Sunday, Jan. 21 in Detroit, MI.

QB Comparison: Quarterback Jared Goff was an efficient 30-of-43 passing for 287 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 103.5 passer rating. He also rushed six times for six yards, including a first down.

Mayfield completed 26 of his 41 passes for three touchdowns and two interceptions for a 94.5 rating.

Big moment: The game completely flipped in the fourth quarter in the span of just 14 plays. Gibbs gave the Lions a 24-17 lead with just over 13 minutes left in the game.

Detroit's defense then held Tampa Bay to a three and out, giving the offense the ball back at their 11-yard line. Goff orchestrated a 10-play, 89-yard drive that took off nearly six minutes of the clock and was capped off by the St. Brown touchdown to make it a 31-17 game.

Key stat: The Lions were held to just 40 yards on 22 carries in the first matchup between these two teams Week 6. The Lions turned their run game into a weapon this time around with 114 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns on 26 attempts.

Injury report: Starting left guard Jonah Jackson left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury and did not return.
Tight end Brock Wright injured his forearm and also didn't return.

Next week: at San Francisco, Jan. 28, 6:30 p.m. EST

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