|Date of game: 11/9/2014
Recap: Detroit vs. Miami
Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Matthew Stafford threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Theo Riddick with 29 seconds remaining to lift the Detroit Lions to a 20-16 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Ford Field.
The Dolphins had a three-point lead with 3:47 to play, but managed to take just 34 seconds off the clock before punting it back to Detroit.
Stafford moved the Lions into Miami territory with consecutive passes of 17 yards to Golden Tate and 18 yards to Calvin Johnson at the two-minute warning. Tate then hauled in a pass on 3rd-and-10 and got just far enough for a first down at the Miami 17 with a little over a minute left.
Detroit faced another third down soon after and Stafford was forced to move out of the pocket to his left before flinging a pass to the end zone for Riddick, who made a sliding grab for the touchdown.
The Dolphins were out of timeouts and reached their own 40 before a completion and a series of laterals ended out of bounds as time expired.
Stafford was 8-of-11 for 79 yards on the winning drive and finished 25-of-40 for 280 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception for the Lions (7-2), who were coming off their bye and won their fourth straight game. The last three wins have come by a combined six points.
Johnson returned for Detroit after a three-game absence because of a high ankle sprain and caught seven passes for 113 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown. Tate also had a big day with 11 catches for 109 yards.
"We're not putting a ceiling on this season and just seeing as high as we can go," said Johnson. "We just stick to being smart out there on the field and hope things keep going the way they are."
The Dolphins (5-4) had a three-game winning streak stopped, falling for the first time since a loss to Green Bay in similar fashion back in Week 6. Miami had a chance to run the clock out against the Packers on Oct. 12, but could not and Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown pass with three seconds to play in a 27-24 Green Bay win.
Miami remained tied with Buffalo in a tight AFC playoff race and will host the Bills in a big matchup on Thursday night.
The Dolphins took the lead for the first time on Sunday late in the third quarter thanks to the special teams. Matt Prater's 42-yard field goal try was blocked and Dion Jordan rumbled to the Detroit 3-yard line, setting up Ryan Tannehill's touchdown pass to Mike Wallace on the next play for a 13-10 edge.
The Lions responded with a 50-yard Prater kick three minutes into the fourth quarter to tie it before Miami went 70 yards on 13 plays for the go-ahead field goal from Caleb Sturgis.
A deflected pass on the second play of the Dolphins' series was caught by Brandon Gibson for 16 yards and Tannehill converted a pair of third downs with throws to Charles Clay before a 19-yard run by rookie Damien Williams set up a first down at the Detroit 8-yard line. Clay couldn't corral a third-down pass in the end zone, leading to Sturgis' 20-yard kick with 4:19 remaining.
The Lions quickly went three-and-out, but the Dolphins couldn't pick up a first down and gave Stafford one more chance.
Miami, after running for 132 yards in last week's 37-0 rout of San Diego, managed only 50 yards on the ground on Sunday. Tannehill completed 27-of-38 passes for 201 yards with an interception and the score to Wallace, who caught five balls for 51 yards.
"We knew this was going to be a tough game coming in because they have a good team and a tough defense," said Tannehill. "We kept moving the ball but couldn't get it in the end zone and that's what it comes down to, putting the ball in the end zone."
The Lions took more than 8 1/2 minutes off the clock after the opening kickoff, but managed only a 26-yard Prater field goal. Detroit appeared to be stopped near midfield, but punter Sam Martin threw a 24-yard pass on 4th-and-6 to keep it alive. A penalty for unnecessary roughness set up a first down at the Miami 13, but the Dolphins stiffened and forced the short kick to end the 15-play series.
It took Detroit just one play on its next possession to find the end zone. A three-and-out led to a Miami punt from deep in its own territory and the Lions took over at the Dolphins' 49. Stafford saw 1-on-1 coverage and froze the safety with play-action before throwing a deep post toward Johnson, who had inside position on Miami cornerback Brent Grimes and easily leaped for the perfect pass at the goal line for the score.
Miami failed to pick up a first down on either of its first two possessions, then notched two on back-to-back plays to end the first quarter. It soon stalled early in the second and the Dolphins tried a fake punt on 4th-and-1 from midfield. An illegal shift penalty, though, negated a five-yard run and the Dolphins punted it away.
The Lions quickly moved across midfield with their next series, but soon faced 4th-and-5 at the Miami 41. Detroit tried another fake punt, but the Dolphins weren't fooled and made the tackle on another Martin pass short of the first down.
Miami marched the other way and reached the Detroit 19, but Tannehill made a poor throw on an out route and James Ihedigbo returned the interception to the Miami 16. A facemask penalty pushed the Lions back to the Miami 31 and Stafford tried for Johnson in the end zone on the very next play, but Grimes made a brilliant leaping one-handed interception at the goal line.
The Dolphins then drove to the Detroit 5-yard line, but had to settle for a 23-yard Sturgis field in the final seconds to make it 10-3 at the half.
Miami's Daniel Thomas fumbled just two plays after the second-half kickoff, but the Lions couldn't take advantage of the field position and punted. The Dolphins then drove for a 50-yard Sturgis field goal to pull within 10-6.Game Notes
Johnson scored for the first time since Week 1 ... The Lions outgained Miami
351-222 ... The Dolphins are the only team in the NFL that hasn't allowed a
300-yard passer ... Only two of Miami's nine games have been decided by single
digits. They are 0-2 in those contests ... Lions guard Larry Warford left the
game in the first quarter and had his left knee wrapped on the sideline ...
The Dolphins lost left tackle Branden Albert to a knee injury in the second