The Browns scored on their first four possessions, including three touchdowns and built a 24-3 lead in a battle of 1-8 teams.
However, the defense gave up 21 unanswered points to tie the game.
Phil Dawson kicked his second field goal of the half with two seconds to play to give the Browns a 27-24 lead.
The Browns did something they haven't done in a long time and that is score on their first possession. They didn't get a touchdown on the opening drive, but did get a 44-yard field goal from Phil Dawson. The score was set up by a 24-yard pass from Brady Quinn to Mohamed Massaquoi that moved the ball into Lions' territory. Another pass to Massaquoi that was short of the first down on third down took the ball to the 27 to set up the field goal with 11:28 left in the first quarter. The Browns went 49 yards in nine plays.
The Lions took the kickoff after the field goal and promptly tied the game with 9:13 left as Jason Hanson hit a 32-yard field goal. On the first play, Matthew Stafford threw a dump off pass to Kevin Smith, who went untouched for 64 yards to the Browns' 17. The Browns stiffened from there and forced the field goal.
The Browns took a 10-3 lead with 8:56 left in the first quarter. After getting the kickoff at their 41, Quinn dropped back and found Massaquoi for a 59-yard strike as Massaquoi ran right by Philip Buchanan and Quinn hit him inside the Lions' 10, and Massaquoi strolled into the end zone. It was the Browns' longest offensive play of the season and first touchdown by a Browns wide receiver.
On the first play after the kickoff, Stafford tried to throw downfield to Calvin Johnson and Eric Wright picked it off and returned it 40 yards to the Lions' six. After a short run by Jamal Lewis, Quinn found Josh Cribbs in the end zone with 2:52 left in the first quarter to make it 24-3. It was Quinn's third touchdown pass in the quarter.
The Lions ended the first quarter fireworks as Stafford hit Aaron Brown on a short pass and he went 26 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-10 with 30 seconds left as the two teams combined for 34 first quarter points.
The Lions cut the Browns' lead to 24-17 as Stafford hit Smith for a 25-yard touchdown with 11:44 to play in the first half. Smith came out of the backfield and beat rookie Kaluka Maiava.
The Lions made it 21 unanswered points as Stafford hit Johnson for 75 yards with 5:01 left in the half to make it 24-24. Johnson was wide open as he beat Brodney Pool. The Browns had pinned the Lions to the six, but they went 94 yards in just four plays for the score.
Near the end of the first half, the Browns moved into position to score and elected to go for a first down on fourth down from the Lions' 29 instead of kicking the field goal. Quinn hit Stuckey for the first down and moved to the 22.
Then, Quinn threw a perfect pass to Chris Jennings in the end zone, who dropped it. On fourth down, the Browns lined up for the field goal and Dawson took the snap and he passed to Mike FUrrey for the first down with six seconds to play.
However, rather than try for the end zone, Dawson kicked a 29-yard field goal to make it 27-24 with two seconds left.
Brady's Day: QB Brady Quinn threw for three touchdowns and 151 yards in the first quarter and was 8-of-9 to start, as well. For the half, Quinn was 12-of-17 for 199 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Big Mo: WR Mohamed Massaquoi had 3 receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter and had four receptions for 105 yards in the half.
Jennings Action: RB Chris Jennings took advantage of his increased role as he rushed 7 times for 26 yards and caught three passes for 24 yards.
Where's the D: After playing the Ravens tough on Monday Night defensively, the defense gave up 24 points and 297 yards in offense in the first half. QB Matthew Stafford was 10-of-16 for 270 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Stuckey Sighting: After coming over in the Braylon Edwards trade, it was expected that WR Chansi Stuckey would play a more prominent role in the offense. He had missed some time with injuries, but caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Quinn in the first quarter. He had three receptions for 53 yards.
Wright Stuff: CB Eric Wright's interception and 40-yard return set up the Browns' third touchdown as he returned the ball to inside the Lions' 10.
Big Shaun: DL Shaun Rogers jumped offside on third-and-one after the Browns stopped the Lions and then did so on the next play.