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Nate Caminata - LionsFans.com
If there were any remaining qualms regarding the Detroit Lions quarterback position, Charlie Batch answered each and everyone of them in spite of Detroit's disheartening 26-31 loss on Sunday to the Minnesota Vikings.
After falling behind 31-6 in the third quarter, the Lions rallied behind Batch, who finished with a career high 345 passing yards, and 31 completions. Batch was 31 of 41, and also tossed three touchdowns with no interceptions.
Earlier in the contest, the Vikings' used two Daunte Culpepper touchdown runs -- 7 yards and 33 yards respectively -- including a Travis Prentice 1-yard TD to launch their offensive explosion. A 47-yard, dazzling catch by Vikings' wide receiver Chris Carter propelled Minnesota to what was considered another blowout, Lions loss.
However, Batch, who was named the Lions' starter earlier in the week, along with an equally impressive James Stewart (18 carries, 108 yards) combined for a 15-yard catch-and-run touchdown late in the third quarter. The Stewart touchdown reception handed the Lions their first touchdown of the game, and just second offensive score of the season.
Entering the 4th quarter confronting a 13-31 deficit, the Lions struck early when Batch connected with wide receiver Germane Crowell for a 16-yard score. A two-point conversion attempt failed.
Later in the 4th, with Minnesota threatening, a Culpepper bomb to Randy Moss was intercepted when Lions' cornerback Todd Lyght ripped the ball out of Moss's grasp. The play put Detroit back into the ball game, and gave both the offense and defense a passion it would demonstrate throughout the contest.
Buried deep into their own endzone after the Lyght interception, Batch engineered a 12 play, 93 yard drive, culminating in a 4th down, 20-yard Johnnie Morton touchdown reception.
Initially considered incomplete, a Lions' challenge displayed Morton was inbounds while making the diving catch. The touchdown trimmed the deficit to just 5, at 26-31.
The Vikings last offensive drive, and perhaps most critical, ran over 4 minutes off the game clock, before the Lions finally received the ball with just over a minute on the game clock.
With no timeouts remaining, and the time evaporating, Batch hurried his teammates down the field, eventually reaching the Minnesota 46-yard line. However, a 26-yard completion to Crowell at the Vikings 20-yard line proved fateful, when Crowell failed to run out of bounds.
The dramatic and heartbreaking conclusion prevented the Lions (0-4) from attaining their first win of the season.