After many long weeks of waiting and waiting, the Lions finally have won their first game of the season. Let me just put it this way: it's about time. For the first five weeks of the season, Lions fans everywhere had to watch as their team was either blown out or choking away fourth quarter leads. Everyone was wondering how it felt to have at least a "1" in the win column. Wonder no more.
Some of that magic must have rubbed off from the Tigers. Since they have an entire week to rest up for the World Series, maybe Jim Leyland, Brandon Inge, and Craig Monroe being in attendance yesterday was just the good luck the Lions needed to end up victorious. It certainly looked good from the start. Everything was clicking, and it actually appeared that Detroit had a shot to blow out Buffalo. But, to make it entertaining the Bills got a couple of big plays to get back in the game. No fear though, this time the Lions held on to their fourth quarter lead, and even though there were some mistakes near the end of everything, the final score read 20-17 in favor of Detroit.
From the very beginning of this game, things looked promising for the Lions. They took the opening drive all the way down to the Buffalo goal line before being stopped short on 4th and goal. Although they couldn't get into the endzone, Kevin Jones and the rest of the offense looked good. But, if you can't score on your first try, then maybe the second will have a better result. That's exactly what happened for Detroit. Following a defensive stop, the Lions got the ball back with good field position, and that led to a 43 yard field goal by Jason Hanson.
The first quarter scoring for Detroit wasn't done just yet. The Lions defense got another strong stop, and after a short punt, the Lions once again had the ball deep in Buffalo territory. Three plays later, Kevin Jones was in the endzone via a 7 yard touchdown run. Lions lead 10-0 after one quarter, and things couldn't be looking any better. Buffalo was actually very lucky to just be down by 10 points. If the Lions could've converted that 4th and goal, and also if Jason Hanson would've kicked a 56 yard field goal attempt just a little bit farther, then it easily could've been a 20 point deficit.
Moving on to the second quarter, Buffalo started to get things going. Their defense was playing better, and thanks to a long play, they were on the scoreboard as well. On just the second play of the second quarter, J.P. Lossman threaded the needle and found Roscoe Parrish from 44 yards out for the touchdown. Now, things were a bit closer.
Detroit would make up for allowing that touchdown late in the half when Jon Kitna hooked up with Roy Williams in the endzone. Kitna and Williams combined for a ton of yardage throughout the day, but only got a touchdown out of it once, and that was on a 28 yard pass. Williams made the catch and once again put Detroit ahead by 10 points. I actually thought that would be the lead going into the locker rooms, but Buffalo had something different on their minds. The Bills got a great kick return down into Detroit territory, and settled for a field goal, which made the score 17-10 Lions lead at the half.
The second half would be a much different story than the first. Scoring was a lot less, and Detroit actually benefited from that. The first points in the final 30 minutes wasn't actually scored until the very start of the fourth quarter. That was when Jason Hanson converted a 29 yard field goal, and gave Detroit a two possession lead to work with.
Then, things started to look like they would be going downhill. The offense for Detroit couldn't move the ball, and I could just feel another choke job coming on. This was especially felt when Buffalo scored on a J.P. Losman touchdown pass to make it just a field goal game with over 9 minutes to go. To make matters worse, Jon Kitna was picked off on the next drive, that really had me feeling uneasy.
But, finally, the Lions were able to hold on in one of these close games that went down to the wire. Detroit came out the winners in this one by a score of 20-17, and although things got a little too close near the end, a win is a win. No longer can anybody classify the Lions in a spot with a team like the Raiders, who actually are even worse.
Celebration however for this win will have to be short-lived as Detroit now has to prepare for the New York Jets. The Lions have to go to the Meadowlands for a tough away game. It'll be interesting to see if the Lions can continue their success after showing great promise in getting a victory. I'm sure the entire team will want to get this week over with quickly as they will have a bye after the Jets game. That means a week off to just relax and take a break from it all. Maybe some of those injured players can get back after using the bye week to recover. Either way, check back here next week for a recap of the Jets game, and hopefully a second win.