Lions 23, Bucs 16, Final

Detroit defeated Tampa Bay, 23-16, on Sunday. If you missed the game, catch up with this in-game blog.

This is a tough one to take, 4:03 p.m.

The Bucs will have to bounce back fast from this one, as Jacksonville comes to town in a week. But this is a game the Bucs should have won. They just made too many mistakes.

Come by later for postgame coverage, plus our Bucsblitz.com chat at 10 p.m. EST.

That's all, 4:02 p.m.

Matt Bryant gave it another shot, but this one is recovered by Casey Fitzsimmons. The Bucs have no timeouts left, so the Lions have this one wrapped up — unless somebody seriously screws up.

Smart move, 4 p.m.

The Bucs are going for the field goal after failing to make the first down, a smart move by Jon Gruden because he'll need the three anyway. Matt Bryant made it and it's 23-16 Lions with 1:04 left. There's some life.

Bucs get onside kick, 3:53 p.m.

Torrie Cox recovered the onside kick and the Bucs have a little life left with two minutes to play.

Bucs score, 3:49 p.m.

Jeff Garcia just hit Maurice Stovall on a slant for a touchdown with 2:03 left, giving the Bucs some life. The Bucs failed on the two-point conversion, which would have made it a one possession game. Now, the Bucs still have to score twice. It's 23-13 with 2:03 left.

Bucs aren't getting downfield, 3:46 p.m.

The Lions are not allowing the Bucs to get downfield with their passing. It's just dink-and-dunk stuff. And Joey Galloway is being smothered in coverage. But the Lions just took a roughing the passer penalty and the drive stays alive.

More Lions falling, 3:38 p.m.

Both cornerback Travis Fisher and defensive tackle Shaun Rogers are down on the field, apparently shaken up.

Ball game, 3:33 p.m.

Lions WR Calvin Johnson just ran in for a touchdown with 6:28 left in the game to give the Lions a 23-7 lead with 6:23 left. I don't see how the Bucs can get back into this game. They'll need to score three times in the final 6:28 to win.

This one is going to haunt the Bucs for a while. This is a game they should have won, but critical mistakes destroyed their chances.

Lions playing conservative, 3:30 p.m.

The clock is winding down and the Lions are playing close to the vest, moving the ball well with the ground game and some select pass plays. They're taking the underneath routes the Bucs defense is giving them and using them to chew the clock.

Fatal error, 3:25 p.m.

The Bucs fumble the snap exchange at the Lions 1 and the Lions recover. Garcia never seemed to have the snap from center John Wade. The ball squirted out and the Lions' Jared DeVries recovered. The Lions have the ball now, deep in their own territory, but they've stopped the Bucs from scoring. Or, rather, the Bucs have stopped themselves.

Bennett brings it, 3:22 p.m.

The Bucs spread the field, split Earnest Graham as a wide receiver and handed off to Michael Bennett, who blasted nearly 20 yards to the Lions 1. That great speed was on display. Safety Gerald Alexander is shaken up for the Lions, the third straight play the Lions trainers have gotten on the field.

Lenon slow to get up, 3:21 p.m.

LB Paris Lenon was shaken up right after Sims. This Lions defense is wearing down.

Sims shaken up, 3:19 p.m.

Lions weakside linebacker and leading tackler Ernie Sims has taken a knee on the field. He is walking off under his own power. If the Lions lose him for any length of time, that's a huge blow for a defense that's wearing down.

Big play, 3:14 p.m.

The Bucs went for it on fourth and inches at the Lions 42. Earnest Graham got the first down to keep the drive moving as the third quarter ends.

Lion shook up, 3:11 p.m.

Lions pass rusher Kalimba Edwards was shaken up on the play after Galloway's catch. He left the field under his own power.

Big blow, but Bucs bounce back, 3:09 p.m.

The Bucs just took a delay of game after QB Jeff Garcia took a time out, which is a big no-no in the NFL. But Garcia hits Joey Galloway at midfield for a first down. The pass puts Galloway over 10,000 career receiving yards.

Bucs need a score, 3:02 p.m.

Tampa Bay is down two scores now, and the Bucs really need to come down the field and get some points here. The Lions just beat them at their own game on that last drive, methodically driving for a score. The Lions know they're lucky to be leading right now, so whatever they can do to protect the lead is gravy to them. The Bucs need to get something.

Lions kick, 3 p.m.

Jason Hanson just kicked a 32-yard field goal with 4:20 left to give the Lions a 16-7 lead. The kick was inconsequential, as it would have been a two-possession game either way. But it's a moral victory for the Bucs defense. Monte Kiffin should be worried. The Lions are beginning to run the ball well on the Bucs.

Lions are really balanced, 2:59 p.m.

Before Jon Kitna took the sack after Jim Backus' false start, the Lions were 16 run plays and 16 pass plays for the game. That's terrific balance from an offense that most accuse of being too pass-happy. I think that's the power of having Kevin Jones in the backfield for the Lions.

Duckett changing pace, 2:54 p.m.

That's a savvy move by Lions OC Mike Martz bringing in T.J. Duckett to change the pace of the game on this drive. The Bucs are having real difficulty stopping the big back, and the Lions are now in Bucs territory.

White loving this, 2:48 p.m.

Former Buc Dewayne White got his second sack of the day. But Shaun Rogers overwhelmed Arron Sears on the play, causing Garcia to move around in the pocket. And Garcia just threw his first incompletion in 19 tries and the Bucs will punt. Lions take over at their own 20 with 12:30 left in the third.

Bucs take over on offense, 2:47 p.m.

Jeff Garcia is 19-of-20 for 197 yards. Earnest Graham has 17 touches and 107 yards in total offense. Ike Hilliard has his first TD catch of the season. This is a golden opportunity for the Bucs to take total control of this game, taking over at the Lions 44. Let's see what happens.

Pass rush is coming, 2:45 p.m.

Greg White just got his second sack of the season, coming on a stunt to the inside. It's White's second sack this season, and the Bucs' second of the game. It's also Kitna's 27th sack taken this season. Phillip Buchanon returns this punt into Lions territory. The Lions really needed a first down there to give their defense a longer break. No dice. Bucs have the football and a chance to get the lead.

TOP, 2:41 p.m.

The Bucs have held the ball nearly 22 minutes in this game so far, and they're behind. It's going to be one of those games. Bucs DE Greg Spires was a bit shook up on the first play of the third quarter.

Third quarter about to begin, 2:35 p.m.

If the Bucs lose this game, they're going to kick themselves. In just about every way they've dominated the game — except in that intangible category, miscues. The blocked punt, the fumble and the Davin Joseph penalty are the difference in this being, potentially a 13-0 Bucs lead at halftime. The Bucs have to cut down on the mistakes, and if they continue to control the game on offense they'll win this game. But no more mistakes.

Kitna sacked, 2:22 p.m.

The Bucs finally got some pressure on Jon Kitna, who was pushed up the pocket by outside pressure from Greg Spires, and Kitna ran into under tackle Jovan Haye for the sack. That's Haye's fourth this year, and it leads to a field goal attempt. Jason Hanson's 42-yard field goal nailed it, but there's a penalty. It's running into the kicker on Derrick Brooks. The ref called it a personal foul. Brooks tried to slow up, but he tipped Hanson over. The Lions will take the points.

Heading to halftime, 2:17 p.m.

The Lions should be very worried, even though they're up three. They're getting whipped by the Bucs up front. Plus, if not for the blocked punt, the fumble and the missed field goal, the Lions would have nothing to show for their effort today. They'll get the ball to start the third quarter, but the Buccaneers defense is beginning to come around — and Lions OC Mike Martz is getting away from the run, which worked so well for him early in the game. The Lions are trying to get some points before halftime. They're in Bucs territory after two Jon Kitna passes.

Bucs to kick, 2:14 p.m.

The Joseph penalty derailed the drive, as the Bucs are now forced to kick a field goal. Matt Bryant's 40-yard attempt goes left of the uprights and is no good. You can be sure Joseph will hear about it on the sideline. That penalty cost the Bucs a potential touchdown.

Garcia's rolling, 2:12 p.m.

Jeff Garcia just completed his 18th straight pass, tying the franchise record. He's closing in on the NFL record, if memory serves.

Bashir is injured Lion, 2:11 p.m.

Idrees Bashir is the injured Lion. He's a backup safety. Joseph landed right on Bashir while the Lion was on the ground. The play was dead.

Poorly-timed penalty, 2:09 p.m.

Bucs guard Davin Joseph was just called for a personal foul, knocking the Bucs back 15 yards after a B.J. Askew catch gave them a first down. That's an awfully bad penalty at that point in the game, as the Bucs are simply dominating Detroit right now. FOX just caught Rod Marinelli shaking his head because he knows what's happening. And there's a Lions defender down on the field.

Crockett sighting, 2:07 p.m.

Zack Crockett just carries his first football for the Bucs, going for no gain.

Offensive firing away, 2:05 p.m.

The Bucs are really moving along on this drive. Jeff Garcia evaded two big sacks and converted them into plays. Earnest Graham is running the ball crisply. And the passing game is just unstoppable right now. The time of possession with 6:17 left is 16 minutes to Tampa Bay and six minutes to Detroit. That's perfect for controlling this game. Oh, and Garcia has one incompletion so far. They've settled down after the early mistakes.

Jones has sprained knee, 2:01 p.m.

Bucs return man Mark Jones has a sprained knee and likely won't be back. We'll certainly find out more tomorrow when the team returns to Tampa.

Lions to punt, 1:57 p.m.

The Bucs forced the Lions three-and-out and into a punt. Great defense all around, including a run blitz by Ronde Barber that slowed Kevin Jones down enough for safety Jermaine Phillips to make a play. And Ike Hilliard handled that last punt.

Trotter's alive, 1:55 p.m.

Jeremiah Trotter is active today and just made a special teams tackle on that kickoff after the Bucs made it 10-7. Trotter can do those sorts of things for you, even if he's not starting.

That's what Gruden wants, 1:53 p.m.

Jon Gruden wants to control the football today, and drives like that last one will allow him to do it. The Bucs went nine plays and 81 yards, possessing the ball for five minutes. Two or three more drives like that and the Bucs will take control of this game in the second half. Also, Earnest Graham had 42 yards on that drive. The Bucs are going to use him a lot today.

Ike's reward, 1:50 p.m.

Ike Hilliard just scored his first touchdown of the season, a just reward for his hard work this season. Garcia rolled out to his right to elude pressure, and Hilliard found a nice open spot by the pylon. It's Lions 10, Bucs 7 with 12:48 to go in the second quarter.

Trueblood's emotions, 1:49 p.m.

Jeremy Trueblood wasn't happy about the holding call he just absorbed. He was pointing and yelling at somebody. He seems to be losing the battle with former Buc Dewayne White on that side. Graham got most of it back on a screen pass. He already has 11 touches.

Hilliard's opening, 1:48 p.m.

I just got a great look at Hilliard's reception, and two Lions linebackers bit on Jeff Garcia's play fake and sucked toward the line, leaving the middle open. If Earnest Graham and Michael Bennett continue to be effective on the ground, the plays downfield in play-action are going to get bigger.

Quarter ends, 1:44 p.m.

The Bucs followed Ike Hilliard's 37-yard reception into the red zone with watching the clock run out on the quarter. They'll have a chance to cut Detroit's lead here shortly.

Double-teaming Rogers now, 1:42 p.m.

Arron Sears is giving center John Wade help now on the massive Shaun Rogers for the Lions. Sears blew the block that sprung Rogers for that fumble.

Jones is hurt, 1:40 p.m.

Return man Mark Jones is on the field after the kickoff. He came up clutching his left knee. That's never a good sign. Jones has done great work this season. He's in the Top 10 in punt and kickoff returns so far. He's being carted off. We'll likely see Torrie Cox returning kickoffs now. Ike Hilliard may see some time on punts.

Bucs run defense getting slammed, 1:39 p.m.

Kevin Jones has seven carries for 42 yards and a score in less than a quarter. As I wrote earlier this week, this Bucs defense is susceptible to the run if you can sustain it. And it looks like Lions OC Mike Martz is committed to running Kevin Jones a lot today.

Lions up 10-0, 1:35 p.m.

Kevin Jones just cashed in from a yard out to give the Lions a 10-0 lead. The Bucs are facing an uphill battle, especially if the Lions defense and special teams keep making big plays.

What could have been, 1:34 p.m.

Calvin Johnson — a player I'm sure Jon Gruden coveted before the draft — just caught his first pass of the day. Phillip Buchanon was playing way off of Johnson. And Kevin Jones followed that with a draw sweep around the right side for first-and-goal for the Lions.

A mixed back, 1:32 p.m.

The good news? The Bucs seem to be doing a good job of sustaining drives? The bad news? Their first two drives have ended with a blocked punt and a turnover. That has to improve. The Lions have created a lot of takeaways this season. They just showed the replay on the fumble. The ball came out of Graham's hands.

This one's a turnover, 1:31 p.m..

Shaun Rogers ran right through Arron Sears and stripped away a fumble from Jeff Garcia to Earnest Graham for a fumble and turnover, and the Lions will start in Bucs territory again.

Gruden's record, 1:30 p.m.

If the Bucs win today, Jon Gruden will go back over .500 as a Bucs head coach. He's 43-43.

Bennett's first carry, 1:29 p.m.

Jeff Garcia checked into a run play and handed off to Michael Bennett, who went for 4 yards.

Graham getting it done early, 1:27 p.m.

Earnest Graham has 22 yards on four carries, including two carries for a first down. He also just caught a pass for a first down. Also, Michael Clayton is expected to return.

Bennett in, 1:26 p.m.

Michael Bennett just made his first appearance at tailback. He's No. 29.

Lions score first, 1:20 p.m.

The turnover is overturned, and the Lions kick a field goal to make it 3-0 with 9:53 let in the first.

Jackson's first NFL TD, 1:16 p.m.

Tanard Jackson just picked up a Lions fumble and went the distance for a TD. Kitna is already motioning that he was throwing. That's clearly an incomplete pass.

Punt blocked, 1:13 p.m.

Corey Smith just blocked Josh Bidwell's punt and the Lions will have the ball in Bucs territory for their first drive.

Bucs win challenge, 1:11 p.m.

The Bucs just got a big challenge right there, as the officials overturned the fumble and ruled it incomplete. Now the Bucs can get a first down and keep this drive alive, pending 3rd-and-5. Nope, Garcia sacked. Former Buc Dewayne White got to him. He blew right by Jeremy Trueblood.

Nearly a turnover, 1:07 p.m.

B.J. Askew just saved Jeff Garcia after the QB fumbled after he was sacked. It's a big loss, but it could have been a big turnover, too. It was a loss of 28 yards.

Off to a flying start, 1:05 p.m.

Jeremy Trueblood and Shaun Rogers got tied up in a fight, which led to personal fouls offsetting. Michael Clayton made the catch for the first down, though his knee was bent back pretty good on the tackle. The Bucs are already in Lions territory.

Big week for Bucs, 12:12 p.m.

The Bucs got some serious love from Sports Illustrated this week. QB Jeff Garcia was the magazine's SI Players interview, while Peter King wrote that the Bucs are looking like a sneaky playoff team.

Didn't make the trip, 12:10 p.m.

CB Brian Kelly, DE Patrick Chukwurah, TE Alex Smith and RB Michael Pittman did not travel to Detroit due to injuries. Also, the Bucs released T Dennis Roland and signed TE Keith Heinrich from the practice squad.

Inactives, 12:08 p.m.

Here are today's inactives: Lions: CB Stanley Wilson, DB Dovonte Edwards, TE Sean McHugh, LB Anthony Cannon, G Damien Woody, G Manny Ramirez, DE Ikaika Alama-Francis. Bucs: DB Brian Kelly, RB Michael Pittman, LB Patrick Chukwurah, LB Adam Hayward, G Dan Buenning, TE Alex Smith, DT Ryan Sims.

Wilson is a significant loss for the Lions because he's a starter. Expect Keith Smith — who is a bit limited himself — to start for Wilson.


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