Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/23/12
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It was almost the Music City Miracle with a twist. Detroit scored two touchdowns in the last 18 seconds of regulation to force overtime, but Tennessee recovered to win the season's craziest game 44-41 Sunday. Rob Bironas converted a 26-yard field goal with 10:36 left in OT for the Titans. Because Tennessee opted for a field goal on its first possession of overtime instead of scoring a touchdown, the game continued, according to modified NFL rules. The Lions received the kickoff and drove to a potential game-tying 26-yard field goal by Jason Hanson but instead went for it on fourth-and-1 from the 7. Jurrell Casey stuffed backup quarterback Shaun Hill for a 1-yard loss. The play withstood a replay review, ending the 3-hour, 51-minute classic that featured a staggering 46 fourth-quarter points and 1,020 yards of offense. "It was a miscommunication," Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. "We were supposed to try to draw them offsides, and if it didn't work, call timeout and kick the field goal. We obviously didn't communicate that well enough with the 11 guys on the field. That's on me." It was the last in a series of fatal errors for the Lions, which were flagged 10 times for 91 yards, including two on the Titans' overtime possession that led to first downs. Bill Bentley's hold bailed Tennessee out of a third-and-16 at the 38-yard line and Stephen Tulloch's head-to-head blow on tight end Craig Stevens gave the Titans a first down at the Detroit 29. Schwartz was furious after Tulloch's penalty, which was spotted as a 27-yard infraction by the replacement crew led by Gerald Wright. "I tried to communicate with them about it, but you can't challenge the penalty from an enforcement standpoint," Schwartz said. The Titans appeared to have clinched the game with 1:16 left in regulation when cornerback Alterraun Verner ripped the ball from Brandon Pettigrew's hands and raced 72 yards for a touchdown to give them a 41-27 lead. But Hill, who came in after Matthew Stafford aggravated a leg injury that bothered him most of the day, led an 80-yard drive that culminated with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson with 18 seconds to play. Two plays after the Lions' Amari Spievey recovered an onside kick at the Tennessee 46, Hill lofted a pass to the end zone. Akeem Ayers tried to knock the ball down but deflected it to Titus Young, who fell into the end zone as the remnants of a sellout crowd at LP Field stood in stunned silence. Tennessee wiped out a 27-20 deficit with three touchdowns in less than 5 1/2 minutes, started by its second special-teams score of the day. Darius Reynaud reaped the benefits of a huge block by Taylor Thompson, who obliterated Jonte' Green and cruised 105 untouched yards down the right sideline to even the score at the 6:41 mark. Tennessee then forced a punt and took over with 3:30 left. After a penalty wiped out a first -down run by Jake Locker, he and Nate Washington connected for a tiebreaking 71-yard touchdown at the 3:11 mark, with Washington plucking the ball from behind cornerback Jacob Lacey and waltzing to the end zone. "Nate made a great play for me," said Locker, who was 29 of 42 for 378 yards in posting his first win as an NFL starter. "I think we saw what this offense can do when it's clicking on all cylinders." The Titans took a 10-6 lead with 33 seconds left in the first quarter with a beautifully executed trick play on a punt return. Reynaud fielded Ben Graham's 38-yard punt at the 37, ran to the 40 and lateraled from left to right. Tommie Campbell caught it and zoomed 65 yards to the end zone. Tennessee (1-2) established a 20-9 halftime lead, but the Lions appeared to take control in the second half, pounding away at a defense that was visibly gassed by the fourth quarter. But despite yielding 583 total yards and 36 first downs, the Titans made the final play in a game full of wild momentum shifts. "They were on the field for a long time, but give them credit for coming through at the end," Tennessee coach Mike Munchak said of the defense. " Notes: Detroit LT Jeff Backus extended his streak of consecutive starts to 179, the longest among current NFL offensive players. Tennessee LT Michael Roos made his 115th straight start, ranking him fourth in that category ... Lions TE Tony Scheffler was among the inactives for this game as was Titans MLB Colin McCarthy ... Tennessee backup QB Matt Hasselbeck was one of 12 current or former players who signed a letter written by the NFL Players Association on Thursday asking commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners to settle their lockout of the referees. The letter was released Sunday morning.
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