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- 5 scores on 5 chances (2 touchdowns, 3 field goals)
The Lions had been having some trouble getting the ball into the red zone in recent weeks, but that was not the case this past Sunday against Tampa Bay. The Lions drove the ball inside the 20 on five different occasions, which resulted in two touchdowns and three field goals.
The two touchdowns came on plays from the 10-yard line. In the first quarter, Nate Burleson caught a pass and was hit by a defender at the four-yard line. He kept his feet moving and forced his way into the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Lions an early lead. In the third quarter, Maurice Morris blasted through the Bucs' defense and into the end zone to give the lead back to the Lions.
Detroit's three field goals all came from red zone appearances. The first didn't actually take place in the red zone, but the Lions got down to the 13 before a holding penalty backed them up, killing the drive and forcing a 41-yard field goal. The other kicks were at the end of the game and in overtime. Had the Lions had more time, a touchdown could have been scored at the end of regulation, and had they not needed to play it safe in OT, a touchdown could have been scored then as well. They settled for field goals in both cases, so it wasn't necessarily that Tampa Bay stopped them. (TB did technically hold them to fourth down in OT, though.)
- 2 scores on 2 chances (2 field goals)
Both of Tampa Bay's red zone appearances came in the fourth quarter. Also, both of them produced only field goals for the Buccaneers.
The first appearance saw the Bucs get all the way down to the one-yard line. The Lions' defense played tough, stuffing two runs right on the goal line. On third down, Kellen Winslow caught a pass for a touchdown, but an offensive pass interference penalty negated it and backed Tampa Bay up and forced them to settle for a field goal after an incompletion on third down.
The Bucs' other red zone appearance was on their next drive. They got down to the 15 after an offside penalty on Corey Williams on 3rd and 1 and went into ultra-conservative mode, forcing the Lions to use their timeouts but only gaining seven yards on the next three plays. As a result, Tampa Bay had to settle for a 26-yard field goal, which gave them the lead for a brief period of time.
The Lions' offense did a very good job of getting into the red zone, which we hadn't seen in the last couple weeks. Their touchdown to appearance ratio wasn't as good as usual, but part of that was because of the situations they were in when they got field goals instead of touchdowns.
Defensively, the Lions did an outstanding job of holding Tampa Bay to field goals instead of allowing touchdowns. The Bucs only got into the red zone twice, and those two appearances resulted in only six points. This turned out to be the difference in the game, as the Lions only needed a field goal at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime.