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- 3 scores on 3 chances (2 touchdowns, 1 field goal)
The Lions' offense did a better job of getting the ball into the red zone, though that wasn't even necessary for them to score touchdowns in the first half. On Sunday, the Lions' first red zone opportunity was after Kevin Smith caught a pass and turned it into a gain of 63 yards on Detroit's opening offensive play of the game. The drive stalled after the big play and the Lions didn't get beyond the 12, but Jason Hanson made a field goal.
The next two red zone opportunities didn't come until the second half, which was mainly because the Lions were busy scoring touchdowns from outside of the 20. That obviously was fine by me, but I also like it when great jobs result in a trip to the red zone and a touchdown, which is what happened in the third quarter. Calvin Johnson caught a pass to move the Lions down to the 1, and Matthew Stafford found a wide-open Will Heller in the end zone on the very next play. This trip was similar to the third one of the game, which was when the Browns interfered in the end zone and set up a Stafford to Pettigrew touchdown.
Browns - 3 scores on 3 chances (2 touchdowns, 1 field goal)
Much like the Lions, Cleveland kept its number of trips to the red zone relatively limited because it was scoring, early on anyways, from well beyond the 20-yard line. Cleveland's first actual trip to the red zone was the direct result of an interception being returned down to the 6. Brady Quinn threw a TD pass to Joshua Cribbs a couple play later, and the defense really didn't know what him them, as this was when Detroit went down 24-3. The defense got it together for most of the second quarter until the Browns drove down the field and kicked a field goal at the end of the half, which was the only play of their second red zone trip. Their third and final one was in the fourth quarter when they drove down the field and took the lead on a great play by Quinn to find Michael Gaines for a touchdown.
This was a really tough game to get a read on anything red zone related. Part of that was because both teams were scoring well before reaching the 20 early on. Also, the Lions' two red zone trips that resulted in touchdowns both started at the 1 and lasted only one play, so it's not like much can be said. Detroit went almost all the way down the field and then wasted little time in scoring. The same sort of goes for the Browns' first red zone trip, as they started at the 6 and only took a couple plays to score.