Detroit Lions start off season undefeated with 39-35 win over Indianapolis Colts

The Detroit Lions got off to a hot start in the season opener over the Indianapolis Colts, which would be necessary come later on in the game to come out with the 39-35 victory.

The Lions scored on two of their first three drives, with Theo Riddick scoring a recieving touchdown and Dwayne Washington scoring on a one yard rush.

Several Colts defensive backs got injured, many of them from contact from their own players. This could have been a big reason for the Lions putting together a quality late drive in the fourth quarter to give them the late lead, as well as the final drive where they would kick the game winning field goal.

Key players in the game

Key players in the loss for Indianapolis were the tight end duo of Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle, who combined for 3 recieving touchdowns in the win. Andrew Luck would finish with 31/47 for 385 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions on the day, which was one of the best performances of the week.

Key players for the Lions in the win were running backs Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah and Dwayne Washington, who each scored at least one touchdown. Riddick had one recieving and one rushing, Abdullah one recieving and Washington one rushing.

Matthew Stafford was 31/39 for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions for the Lions. This would also be a top performance for a quarterback so far this season. He also used about 13 seconds off the clock on the final drive between calling time outs, which allowed the Lions to bring the clock down to eight seconds before kicking the game winning field goal.

Matthew Stafford had a great game vs. the Indianapolis Colts in week one in the 2016-17 NFL Season. Photo Credit: Joe Robbins of Getty Images
Matthew Stafford had a great game vs. the Indianapolis Colts in week one in the 2016-17 NFL Season. Photo Credit: Joe Robbins of Getty Images

On special teams, both team's punters were fantastic, as Pat McAfee for the Colts and Sam Martin for the Lions both had fantastic games flipping the field for their respective teams.

The defenses however, both struggled heavily. The Colts allowed the most points of any team so far this season and the Lions the second most. 

Lions start out strong

The Lions took the lead in the first quarter with a 21 yard Theo Riddick touchdown run, and hold the lead for the end of the first to 7-0.

In the second quarter, Detroit also got on the board yet again with a Dwayne Washington one yard touchdown run. Adam Vinatieri and the Colts would answer with a fifty yard field goal for the Colts first points.

The Lions would answer with another touchdown, this time Stafford's first passing touchdown this season on a five yard pass to Eric Ebron, to put the Lions up 21-3. The Indianapolis Colts would score a last minute passing touchdown right before the half, as the Andrew Luck would hit Donte Moncrief from the two for the Colts first touchdown this season.

The second half would be much better for the Colts offense.

The Colts offense would start with a 20 yard touchdown pass from Luck to Dwayne Allen, adding six more to the Colts total. Indianapolis would add two points on a two point conversion pass to Allen again. The Lions would answer with a 10 yard pass from Stafford to Abdullah to make the score 28-18. 

Indianapolis would open the fouth quarter with another field goal from Vinatieri, this time a 40 yarder, and would add to that their next drive with a touchdown pass to Doyle from Luck for a wide open six yard touchdown. The score would then be tied for the first time since 0-0, with a 28-28 tie. 

The Lions would score the next touchdown, with Stafford finding Theo Riddick fresh off of coming from concussion protocol in the third quarter to give the Lions a six point lead. Matt Prater however, would miss the extra point and the Lions lead would only be six.

Indianapolis lead by Andrew Luck would then drive 75 yards on eight plays the ensuing drive and end with a touchdown pass to Doyle yet again, with the Colts hitting the extra point to take a one point lead.

The Lions however, wouldn't quit. After fighting for every yard earlier on in the game, would do so yet again on the final drive. Stafford would throw three consecutive completions of 19, nine and 22 yards to Riddick, Ebron and Marvin Jones respectfully, before throwing an incompletion out of bounds with 8 seconds to go. Having used about 13 seconds of the clock waiting to call timeouts earlier on in the final drive, the Lions elected to kick the field goal from 44 yards out despite Prater missing his last extra point.

Having adjusted properly, kicking both from the left hash, Prater would hit the game winning field goal, giving the Indianapolis Colts 4 seconds left to return the kickoff. On the kickoff, the Colts were called for a safety, as the ball was thrown out of bounds on a long lateral in the endzone.

How will each team respond?

The Lions coming off a last minute win now get to come back to Detroit to take on the Tennesseee Titans for their home opener. The Titans lost 25-16 at home this week to the Minnesota Vikings, however they did not allow a single offensive touchdown and held Adrian Peterson to 31 yards on 19 carries.

Indianapolis meanwhile will have to come off the late loss with a much tougher matchup vs. the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos in Denver. The Broncos are coming off an opening week win on Thursday night over the Carolina Panthers, after Carolina missed a last second field goal that would have won them the game, coincidentally the same way the Lions beat the Colts.