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Recap: Lions blow 10-point halftime lead, lose 31-27 to Dolphins

The Detroit Lions offense jumped to a nice lead, but after getting shut out in the second half, the Dolphins took the lead and held it.

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions offense woke from its two week slumber against the Miami Dolphins, scoring touchdowns on all three of its opening drive. That helped them build a 27-17 lead at halftime, but it’s then that the offense went back into its slumber. Detroit failed to score a single point in the second half.

Meanwhile, the Lions defense has absolutely no answer for Tua Tagovailoa and Miami’s talented set of receivers. Tagovailoa finished the day completing 29-of-36 passes for 382 yards and three touchdowns. Miami only punted once all game, and that didn’t come until the fourth quarter.

In the end, the Lions need someone, anyone to make a play in the final quarter, and as has become customary for this team, no one was up for the challenge. Detroit lost the game 31-27 and fell to 1-6. Here’s how it happened.

First quarter

The Lions offense, who had struggled in previous weeks, got off to a near-perfect start. Aided by a taunting penalty that got him to midfield, Jared Goff attacked downfield, hitting Kalif Raymond for a 27-yard pickup on a pinpoint throw. After a 14-yard pass to rookie James Mitchell, Jamaal Williams punched it in for an easy 7-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Lions lead.

A couple of run plays got the Dolphins to midfield, but a sack from Malcolm Rodriguez pushed Miami back. The Dolphins worked their way back into a fourth-and-3 on Detroit’s side of the field, and converted with a 9-yard pass to Jaylen Waddle. But on the next play, safety Kerby Joseph laid on a huge hit for the second consecutive week and forced a fumble, with Rodriguez recovering.

The Lions offense went back to work with a huge 58-yard catch and run by T.J. Hockenson on third-and-2.

Three plays later, the Lions cashed in with a sick angle route from D’Andre Swift. 14-0 Lions.

A couple of big plays got the Dolphins deep into Lions territory, both involving Tyreek Hill. Tua Tagovailoa found him for 24 yards to start the drive, but the key play was a third-and-13 play in which Hill blew past AJ Parker and Tagovailoa found him for 36 yards.

Detroit appeared to have gotten a stop to hold the Dolphins to a field goal, but an illegal contact on Detroit gave Miami a fresh set of downs. Tagovailoa found Waddle for a 5-yard touchdown the next play. 14-7 Lions.

Detroit worked their way to midfield with a big gainer by Amon-Ra St. Brown to close out the first quarter.

Second quarter

Goff uncorked a deep shot on the first play of the second quarter, and although it was underthrown, Kalif Raymond adjusted and made the 43-yard catch all the way down to the Dolphins’ 5-yard line. Two plays later, Williams punched it in for his second touchdown of the game. 21-7 Lions.

Tagovailoa answered with a 42-yard bomb to Hill to start the next drive. A few plays later, Waddle cleanly beat AJ Parker for a 29-yard score. 21-14 Lions.

Detroit went to the ground game to try to slow down the shootout a little bit. Jamaal Williams easily moved the ball down to midfield, and a nice 12-yard pickup by St. Brown picked up an essential third-and-10. Facing another third-and-long, the Lions came up three yards short, and had to settle for a Michael Badgley 42-yard field goal, which was good. 24-14 Lions.

Detroit’s defense had another chance to get off the field, forcing Miami into a third-and-13, but Tagovailoa found Trent Sheffield for a 14-yard gain. A few plays later, Waddle picked up a third-and-6 with a 13-yard catch. Detroit would eventually get a stop on a third-and-16 after a JuJu Hughes sack, but the Dolphins kicked a 45-yard field goal to push it back to a one-possession game with 2:06 left in the half. 24-17 Lions.

Just when it looked like the Lions were going to go three-and-out and give the Dolphins a chance to tie it before the half, the Lions pulled off a fake punt with newly re-signed C.J. Moore picking up the first.

From there, the Lions offense was cooking. They had one shot at the end zone with six seconds left, but Josh Reynolds dropped a touchdown pass. Badgley kicked a 26-yard field goal to make it 27-17 Lions at the half.

Third quarter

Miami’s offense picked up right where it left off. Tagovailoa quickly went 4-for-4 for 52 yards, and the Dolphins capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run from Alec Ingold. 27-24 Lions. During the drive, the Lions announced that starting nickelback AJ Parker was questionable to return with a hip injury. He would return the following drive, but was declared out late in the fourth quarter.

Detroit’s offense couldn’t counter, as penalties quickly bumped them back into a first-and-30 situation, and the Lions never came close to digging themselves out. They were forced to punt—the first time either team punted on the day.

The Lions still didn’t have an answer for Tagovailoa and company. They converted yet another key third down, with the Dolphins quarterback scrambling for 18 yards down into field goal range. But Tagovailoa would find Mike Gesicki for an 11-yard touchdown pass and Miami’s first lead of the game. 31-27 Dolphins.

Fourth quarter

Detroit’s offense looked like they ran out of juice. Yet another false start penalty pushed the Lions behind the sticks and Goff took a sack on third-and-9, ending Detroit’s drive after just one first down gained. Around this time, Lions tight end Brock Wright was evaluated for a concussion and was declared out for the rest of the game.

The Lions finally got a defensive stop on the next drive. Miami got a little conservative, rushing on first and second down, and some miscommunication between the center and Tua forced an early snap, which ultimately forced Tua to throw it away on third down.

The Lions offense took over on their own 12-yard line with 8:19 left in the game. The Lions dinked and dunked their way down the field, bleeding a lot of time and setting themselves up for a fourth-and-2 at the Dolphins 36-yard line. Goff targeted Josh Reynolds for a deep shot, and couldn’t connect, giving the Dolphins the ball back with 2:52 left.

Miami converted a few more third downs on their way to running out the clock and winning the game.

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