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Lions Storm Back and Win Third Straight

The circumstances were dire, the Lions trailed by 10 points on the road with just under 10 minutes left in the game.  Lions fans had seen this scenario play out over the last few years, the Lions hung tight but in the end they couldn’t prevent their opponent from pulling away.  I proclaimed after the Buffalo loss that these were the same ol’ Lions, but in Miami the Lions shed that label.

The Lions scored 17 unanswered points after the defense stepped up, halted the Dolphins’ momentum and tipped it in favor of the Lions with two crucial turnovers.  The Lions couldn’t mount a consistent pass rush until late in the game, but when all the cards were on the table they made plays.  The pass rush rattled Chad Henne and he was completely uncomfortable in the pocket which led to the two defining defensive plays.  Nathan Vasher stepped in front of a Chad Henne pass and pulled in the first pick of his season, which the Lions converted into three points to tie the game.  On the next series DeAndre Levy broke on a pass and did his best Jahvid Best impersonation in the open field returning the pick 30 yards for the game winning touchdown.

The defense did a great job in the first half limiting the Dolphins’ offense until the Lions got backed up inside their own five yard line.  The Lions couldn’t pick up a first down and had to punt.  Miami returned the punt 25 yards into Lions’ territory and four plays later scored a go ahead touchdown and took control of the momentum.

The Lions would bounce back early in the third quarter with an 86 yard drive capped by a Morris Maurice touchdown to tie the game at 17.  The Dolphins immediately answered with a Ronnie Brown touchdown on their next drive and started to pull away on the following drive with a Dan Carpenter field goal.

The Lions couldn’t get anything going until Shaun Hill hit Jahvid Best on a short pass over the middle which Best turned into a 53 yard touchdown with less than five minutes remaining.  After that score, the Lions’ defense needed to step up which they emphatically did.

The Lions faced all sorts of adversity in this game including injuries to Calvin Johnson and Chris Houston, they had strong winds that affected Shaun Hill more than Chad Henne and they couldn’t get the run game going.  Good teams find ways to win and after the Lions had spent so much time finding ways to lose, they dug deep and found a way to win for the third time in the last three weeks.

Key Plays:

Chris Houston injured his shoulder just before halftime and he was replaced in the lineup by Tye Hill.  Hill let a perfectly thrown ball go through his hands which Davone Bess pulled in for a go ahead touchdown.  The catch was held up after a reply from the booth, even though it looked like Bess stepped out of bounds before he caught the ball.  I don’t think it was a bad call, but I’m pretty sure the only reason the call stood was because the evidence wasn’t 100% conclusive.

Early in the 4th quarter the Dolphins ran their only play out of the Wildcat and Ricky Williams gashed the Lions for a gain of 28 with an additional eight yards tacked on for a horse collar tackle.  Miami had the ball at the Lions’ seven, but Jake Long got called for a critical holding call against Lawrence Jackson.  I don’t believe it was a hold, but the umpire did and instead of 2nd and goal from the two, the Phins ended up with a 1st and goal from the 17.  The Lions held the Dolphins to a field goal instead of an almost certain touchdown and the Lions defense wouldn’t surrender a point from that moment on.

Obviously the Jahvid Best touchdown catch and the two interceptions were the other key plays in this game.

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