In a battle of two of the best defenses in the NFL, the Detroit Lions prevailed over the New York Jets. The Lions jumped out to a 24-10 lead, and they really had a few chances to put the game away in the fourth quarter. The Jets managed to hang around despite turning the ball over a couple times, but the Lions did eventually put them away for a rather impressive 24-17 victory.
Things got off to a shaky start for the Lions defense as this game began. The Jets decided to pound the ball on the ground, and that plan worked quite well. The Jets went 71 yards in 14 plays, and although they only ended up with a field goal, it was an impressive drive, especially for Chris Ivory.
The Lions responded with a much less impressive drive, but they also came away with a field goal. A 35-yard pass to Golden Tate on third-and-4 put them in position to come away with points, and they did just that with Alex Henery making a 51-yard field goal on his first kick as a Lion.
Following these first two drives, the game started to settle down, and it turned into a bit of a defensive struggle. The Jets went three-and-out, and the Lions had to punt after an intentional grounding penalty killed their drive. The Jets then went three-and-out yet again, and the Lions followed that up with a three-and-out of their own.
After the Jets' third three-and-out in a row, the Lions finally broke the string of punts. On third-and-10, Matthew Stafford finally got some time, and he unleashed a beautiful throw downfield to Jeremy Ross. Ross ran under it and caught it in stride, and he ended up with a 59-yard touchdown. Just like that, the Lions now had a 10-3 lead.
The two teams traded three-and-outs after the Lions' touchdown, and the Jets ended up with the ball at their own 7-yard line. It looked like they were going to at least move the chains once following an offside by Ndamukong Suh on first down, but somehow they weren't able to pick up 5 yards on three tries. This meant that they went three-and-out for a fifth consecutive time, and the Lions took over at the Jets 47 after a bad punt.
With a chance to add to their lead before halftime, the Lions didn't disappoint. Stafford moved the ball by finding Brandon Pettigrew, Reggie Bush and Eric Ebron, putting the Lions at the 16-yard line with the first half ticking down. Following an incompletion, Stafford went to Ebron again, and the rookie out of North Carolina hauled in the pass in the end zone for his first career touchdown. The Jets were unable to do anything in the final 22 seconds of the second quarter, so the Lions took a 17-3 lead into halftime.
The Lions actually opened the second half with the ball, but they were unable to add to their lead. Instead, they had to punt after picking up one first down, and the Jets capitalized. Geno Smith finally started to get things going through the air, and he also got some help from the officials on a questionable illegal contact penalty on Rashean Mathis on third-and-9. That penalty kept the drive alive, and the Lions failed to get a stop on two subsequent third downs. On the second one, Smith found Eric Decker for an 11-yard touchdown to cut the Lions' lead down to one touchdown.
After a poor kick return, the Lions took over at their own 10-yard line, and they needed a big response with the score now 17-10. At first, it looked like the Lions were actually going to go three-and-out, but Tate made a great catch to move the chains on third-and-10. The Lions then marched down the field with precision and efficiency, and Stafford capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. In all, the Lions went 90 yards in 14 plays, and they ran 7:32 off the clock for what was definitely their most impressive drive all season:
Beautiful. pic.twitter.com/q3zKzU3o1H— Pride Of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) September 28, 2014
The Jets needed a response of their own, and they did get into Detroit territory. However, Smith was picked off by Darius Slay, who returned his first career interception 40 yards to the New York 34. With the outstanding field position, the Lions were in position to put the game away, but they went three-and-out and Henery shanked a 52-yard field goal.
With good field position of their own, the Jets again got into Detroit territory. However, Smith once again turned the ball over. He lost the ball as he was drilled by James Ihedigbo, and Darryl Tapp came away with it. Suddenly the Lions had another chance to basically put the game away, but they went three-and-out again. Joique Bell and Theo Riddick were both sidelined with injuries by this point, and the Lions' struggles to consistently move the ball on the ground with Bush really hurt them.
The Lions paid for letting the Jets hang around on New York's next offensive possession. Smith was able to move them into Detroit territory yet again, and there was no turnover this time. Instead, there was a 35-yard touchdown run by Chris Johnson, who somehow managed to avoid being tackled despite running into a lot of traffic. The touchdown made this a one-score game with 6:58 left in the fourth quarter.
Once again, the Lions failed to move the chains and run some clock. They went three-and-out despite having third-and-1, and they gave the Jets a chance to tie this game. Luckily, the Jets also went three-and-out, and they actually had second-and-1 at one point. This led to a punt with 3:41 to go, and the Jets never saw the ball again. Bush went 16 yards for a first down, and Stafford put the game away with a beautiful 7-yard run on a naked bootleg. That run moved the chains and allowed the Lions to simply take a knee three times, clinching their 24-17 victory.
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