The Detroit Lions did not play their cleanest game against the Las Vegas Raiders. They turned the ball over three times, including a pick-six that drew the game to within two points in the second half. They settled for field goals on their first three scoring drives.
But thanks to a very strong defensive effort—including a six-sack performance against Jimmy Garoppolo—the game never truly seemed very close.
With a big breakout game from rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs and another 100-yard performance via Amon-Ra St. Brown, the Lions cruised to a 26-14 victory and a 6-2 record as they head into the bye week.
Here’s how it happened.
The Raiders won the toss and deferred, giving the Lions the first opportunity to get on the board. Detroit got an early third-down conversion with an easy 5-yard pass to tight end Sam LaPorta. Jahmyr Gibbs picked up a pair of first downs with a couple of catches, as well, as the Lions moved into Raiders territory. But after a couple of ineffective runs, the Lions were forced into a third-and-8, and Jared Goff couldn’t find LaPorta. That left a 44-yard field goal attempt for Riley Patterson, and the kick was good. 3-0 Lions.
The Raiders were able to pick up a single first down, but on a third-and-10, Jimmy Garoppolo’s scramble came up a yard short after Alex Anzalone chased him to the boundary, and Las Vegas was forced to punt.
Detroit’s next offensive drive wouldn’t last long. Josh Reynolds made one hell of a catch, wrestling it away from a defender, but he would go on to fumble it and the Raiders recovered at Detroit’s 26-yard line.
But Kerby Joseph got the ball right back for Detroit, picking off a pass intended for Davante Adams.
The Lions quickly went three-and-out following two straight incompletions from Goff, and the Raiders took over at their own 41-yard line.
Las Vegas quickly squandered the opportunity, going four-and-out—failing to convert on a fourth-and-2 with an incomplete pass to Hunter Renfrow.
The Lions were quickly in business after an 8-yard run by Gibbs and a huge third-and-11 conversion from Kalif Raymond. That set the Lions up first-and-goal from the 8-yard line as we moved into the second quarter.
The Lions red zone offense looked like a disaster. A holding penalty pushed them back 10 yards and a cutesy run play moved them even further back. A screen to Kalif Raymond moved them back to the Raiders’ 8-yard line—after trying to draw the Raiders offsides, they settled for a 31-yard field goal. 6-0 Lions.
After another three-and-out for the Raiders, the Lions picked up the first explosive play of the game: a 44-yard pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Two plays later, Goff found St. Brown for another 24 yards. But the Lions stalled in the red zone again, after a lateral to St. Brown lost 8 yards on a second-and-1. Detroit opted for another short field goal, and Patterson was good from 33 yards. 9-0 Lions.
The Raiders finally got on the board with a long drive. Josh Jacobs had some running room, and they were aided by a 15-yard penalty on Jerry Jacobs (no relation). In the end, Jacobs punched it in from 3 yards out for the first touchdown of the game. In total, Jacobs had seven rushes for 38 yards and a score on that drive. 9-7 Lions.
With 2:56 left, the Lions had an opportunity to add to their lead before the end of the half. Jameson Williams kick started the drive with a 23-yard catch down the middle of the field.
A couple of first downs moved the Lions into field goal range. Facing a third-and-6 with 39 seconds remaining at the Raiders 26-yard line, the Lions converted with a pass to LaPorta, and then went right back to him for an 18-yard touchdown pass. 16-7 Lions.
With only 27 seconds left and no timeouts, the Raiders packed it in for the half.
The Raiders started with the ball but didn’t hold it long. After finding Davante Adams for 11 yards—his first catch of the game—Vegas only went backwards. On a third-and-9, the Lions sent a blitz and Julian Okwara got home for the sack.
Gibbs started the ensuing drive with a big 24-yard run into Raiders territory, showing nice contact balance, but Goff made a critical mistake. Looking like he was trying to throw the ball away, Goff, instead, threw it right to Marcus Peters, who took it 75 yards for a touchdown. 16-14 Lions.
The Lions offense went right back to work, though. A third-and-5 strike to St. Brown moved Detroit right back into Raiders territory. A gutsy draw play on third-and-8 to Craig Reynolds picked up exactly 8 yards. A 12-yard pass to him pushed the Lions right on the edge of the red zone. Gibbs kicked a run outside on the next play for 17 yards and the Lions were first-and-goal inside the 5. Unfortunately, the Lions squandered this opportunity too, as Craig Reynolds fumbled, and despite a lengthy review, the call on the field stood.
The Lions defense was able to mitigate the damage with a three-and-out, and the Lions offense took over at their own 49-yard line to try and capitalize. It only took three plays for the Lions to cash in. After a pass interference call on the Raiders, the Lions handed it to Gibbs, and he squirted out the other side of the offensive line for a 27-yard touchdown run. 23-14 Lions.
The Raiders were able to drive to midfield, but Alim McNeill stopped them in their tracks. Facing a third-and-5, McNeill broke through the middle of the line for a sack, forcing another Vegas punt.
Detroit took over on their own 11-yard line with 1:07 left in the third quarter. A couple of successful Gibbs runs (11, 7 yards) moved us into the fourth quarter.
Detroit continued to pound the rock into Raiders territory. However, facing a third-and-3, the Lions came up just short, forcing a critical fourth-and-inches from the Raiders’ 44-yard line. The Lions converted with a quarterback sneak, but the Raiders were offsides anyways, and the drive continued. It wouldn’t last much longer, though: Goff missed Kalif Raymond on what would’ve been a big third-down conversion. That said, Patterson nailed a 52-yard field goal to push it to 26-14 Lions.
A huge error on the kickoff forced the Raiders to start at their own 2-yard line. However, roughing the passer on Jack Campbell (going low on the QB) got the Raiders quickly out of their own end zone. But the Lions picked up sacks on three of four plays, including two by Alex Anzalone—and one on fourth down—to make it look like the game was over.
However, the Lions stalled in the red zone and then Riley Patterson missed a 26-yard field goal. The Raiders had just over five minutes left to get two scores. That glimpse of hope didn’t last long, as the Lions tallied another sack, and Vegas couldn’t convert a fourth-and-18.
The Lions were able to run out the rest of the clock.