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Recap: Gutsy performance from Matthew Stafford not nearly enough, Titans win 46-25

The Lions just aren’t anywhere near talented enough to hang with the Titans.

Detroit Lions v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Matthew Stafford did just about everything he possibly could to keep the Detroit Lions competitive against the Tennessee Titans. But this team is far too lost right now. Even a solid performance from Stafford, who was dealing with a painful rib cartilage injury, couldn’t prevent the Lions from being blown out.

A porous defense that could never get the stop they needed, plus a few costly turnovers by Lions playmakers caused this game to get out of a hand in the fourth quarter. Eventually, the Lions found themselves down 21 in the fourth quarter, and they pulled Stafford to keep him healthy.

Though Chase Daniel would come in and bring the game a little closer, this game was well over, as Detroit clinched their third consecutive losing season, dropping Week 15 to the Titans SCORE.

First quarter

The Titans got the ball first, and the quickly showcased why they’re one of the best offenses in the league and why the Lions have one of the worst defenses in the league. Ryan Tannehill went five-for-five for 51 yards, and Derrick Henry capped it off with a 3-yard touchdown run. 7-0 Titans.

Matthew Stafford would not go away easy, however. He responded by going seven-of-eight for 48 yards and a touchdown. Aided by 27 rushing yards, Stafford finished the drive by finding Marvin Jones Jr. in the back of the endzone for a 2-yard score. 7-7 tie.

But that tie would last for the entirety of 12 seconds. Tannehill found Corey Davis in one-on-one coverage with safety Duron Harmon, and the young receiver absolutely burned him for a 75-yard touchdown. 14-7 Titans.

Second quarter

Detroit was not able to retaliate, although Stafford got the Lions close. Facing a third-and-6 from the Titans, Stafford stood patiently in the pocket, but could not find an open receiver and eventually threw it away. The Lions opted not to go for it or kick a long field goal, instead pinning the Titans at their own 7-yard line with a well-placed Jack Fox punt.

The Titans went right back to work on offense, and this time, they picked on Lions cornerback Alex Myres, who was playing in place of Mike Ford, was heavily picked on. First, he got tagged for a 23-yard pass interference penalty. Then Derrick Henry did this to him.

On the very next play, Tannehill pulled a bootleg, and no Lions were on that side of the field. Diving into the end zone, the Titans quarterback pushed it to a 21-7 Titans.

Detroit appeared ready to get back into a shootout. Stafford found rookie tight end Hunter Bryant for a huge 44-yard gain. Eventually they worked their way to a third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but D’Andre Swift made a rookie mistake and fumbled at the goal line, giving the Titans the ball back.

Despite the mistake, the Lions defense made a huge play to make up for it. Romeo Okwara avoided a chip block, and took down Tannehill in the end zone for a safety and his eighth sack of the season. 21-9 Titans.

On the ensuing three-minute drive, Stafford got the Lions right back into the red zone. He found Marvin Jones for a 39-yard strike. On the very next play, D’Andre Swift made amends by punching it in from two yards outs. Matt Prater missed the extra point, pushing the score to 21-15 Titans with 1:02 left.

With the remaining 62 seconds, the Titans didn’t have any trouble getting into field goal range. As time expired, Tennessee pushed it back to a two-score game at the end of the half. 24-15 Titans.

Second half

Matthew Stafford and the Lions were rolling to start the second half, but yet another mistake erased a golden opportunity for points. Facing a third-and-1 on the Titans’ 20-yard line, Detroit got a little fancy, handing the ball off to T.J. Hockenson. The Lions tight end reached out for the first down, but in doing so, he fumbled the ball. And upon review, the Titans had a clear recovery.

Detroit was able to force their first punt of the game, and, again, the Lions quickly drove into Titans territory. Stafford fired a strike to Quintez Cephus for 36 yards.

The Lions drive stalled from there, though, and Mat Prater booted a 53-yard field goal to make it a one-score game 24-18 Titans.

Fourth quarter

Tennessee’s offense went right back to work, though. The Titans converted a key third-and-11 on a 15-yard pass to Corey Davis. A few plays later they converted on a third-and-1 with a 33-yard run from Derrick Henry. On the next play, the Titans ran a nice fake to Henry and Tannehill scored with his feet for the second time today. A two-point conversion turned it to a 14-point game. 32-18 Titans.

The Lions tried to get fancy in desperation mode. On a fourth-and-4, the Lions looked like they were going to punt, but C.J. Moore took the direct snap. Unfortunately for Detroit, he was stopped a half-yard short of the first down, giving the Titans the ball on Detroit’s 34-yard line.

A screen pass got the Titans into a goal-to-go situation, and A.J. Brown caught a 1-yard pass to make this a blowout. 39-18 Titans.

Chase Daniel came in late and led the Lions on a successful drive capped by this nice Swift touchdown run. 39-25 Titans.

The score would jump to 46-25 after a failed onside kick, and that would do it.