Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/8/14
89819002

Despite quarterback Matthew Stafford having one of his worst career games, the Detroit Lions were able to escape week one with a 27-23 victory.

St. Louis kicked the go-ahead field goal just inside the two-minute warning, but Stafford and the Lions drove down the field and regained the lead when Kevin Smith took a Stafford pass to pay dirt with just 10 seconds left.

After throwing three first half interceptions, Stafford was able to compose himself and lead Detroit down the field to score in the final seconds.

Stafford completed two 20-yard passes on the drive before capping it off with a five yard touchdown toss to a wide open Smith.  A visibly pumped up Stafford then stormed

Stafford does his best Jimmy V- someone give the man a hug

aimlessly around the field looking for someone to celebrate with while I cued up the Jimmy Valvano video and noticed the eerie similarity.

While the stage may have been more dramatic in Jimmy V’s case, this was a much-needed win for the Lions.  Stafford’s late heroics got Detroit’s season started on a winning note, but more importantly avoided a disastrous upset.

Starting the season with a loss to the lowly Rams would have crippled Detroit’s playoff hopes instantly.

Yes, I’ll admit, I’m worried about Stafford.  His three picks in the first half were all bad decisions, and he made another terrible throw that should have been a fourth interception.

But the fact that the defense kept the Lions in the game long enough for Stafford to hit his stride late in the second half shows hope.

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson tallied six catches for 111 yards, and helped the Lions late rally with two catches for 38 yards in the final drive.

Detroit’s defense was solid throughout the game, and the defensive unit only allowed 16 points.  Seven of St. Louis’s 23 points were a result of CB Cortland Finnegan’s 31 yard interception return that came late in the second quarter.

Linebacker Justin Durant had a nice game, recording 12 tackles.  Ndamukong Suh and Corey Williams both had a sack, and Williams stripped quarterback Sam Bradford of the ball in the process.

Defensive tackle Nick Fairley also recorded a sack, a welcome sight for Lions fans after his troubling offseason.

The patched-together secondary performed pretty well for Detroit, holding Bradford to just 198 yards despite missing starters Chris Houston and Louis Delmas.

The combined defensive effort was a good one for Detroit, as they were able to bend without breaking.  St. Louis’s only offensive touchdown was a result of both great starting field position and an outstanding catch by wideout Brandon Gibson.

Other than Gibson’s great touchdown grab, Detroit forced the Rams to settle for three field goals.

Some parts of this game were concerning, but in the first game of the season, a win is a win.  Jim Schwartz will not be happy with his quarterback’s decision making, but Stafford played considerably better in the second half and was able to win the game.

The stat sheet may not look pretty, but the Lions will take wins over stats any day.

Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Five bubble teams playing well heading into March

Falcons release Steven Jackson

Bill Walton has some words of advice for Derrick Rose

Five under-the-radar National Player of the Year candidates

Report: NFL to appeal Adrian Peterson ruling

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dez Bryant's mother in 2012: Dez threatened to knock me out

Full offseason breakdown for all 32 NFL teams

Brandon Bostick received death threats after botched play

Report: Judge rules against Adrian Peterson suspension

Ex-Louisville player charged with rape, sodomy

Hank Aaron 'rooting' for Alex Rodriguez to succeed in return

Are the Kings willing to trade DeMarcus Cousins?

Johan Santana signed by Blue Jays to minor league deal

Leafs trade David Clarkson to Blue Jackets For Nathan Horton

Panthers acquire Jaromir Jagr from Devils

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

HBO picks up The Rock’s football series, ‘Ballers’

The key offseason moves for every MLB team

Giancarlo Stanton gets first-ever customized facemask

Ronda Rousey, Arianny Celeste have verbal sparring match

Dallas sportscaster back with another powerful essay

The many parallels of Derrick Rose and Penny Hardaway

Ex-homeless Baylor RB admits he broke rules

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

Five-round NFL Mock Draft

Key offseason moves for every MLB team

Bostick received death threats after botched play

Rousey, Arianny Celeste get into it

Dallas sportscaster back with another powerful essay

The parallels of Rose and Hardaway

Offseason breakdown for all 32 NFL teams

On Josh Hamilton's addiction and feeling alone

Judge rules against AP's suspension

Why the Lions should let Suh walk

Chris Jones charged with rape, sodomy

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.