The Tennessee Titans found a way to come back against the Detroit Lions in the fourth quarter, scoring a touchdown on fourth down with a minute and a half to go. Marcus Mariota found Andre Johnson in the end zone to hand the Lions their first loss of the season. The Titans entered the fourth quarter down 15-3, and ended it wiith a 16-15 win.
Secondaries have bad day
Rafael Bush allowed both Tennessee touchdowns, as he wasn't able to cover Delanie Walker for the Titans first touchdown; and he allowed Andre Johnson to enter his zone on fourth down in the end zone for the game winning drive.
On the Titans, Perish Cox committed several penalties throughout the game and was getting burned until the very last play of the game when he won the game for the Titans on Matthew Stafford's first interception this season.
Both passing games were quite effective today, as Stafford had a solid game the first 50 minutes, going 22/40 with 260 yards and a touchdown, as well as a pair of rushes for 31 yards.
Mariota also had a nice game in the air, going 25/33 for 238 yards, two touchdowns and an interception thrown to Glover Quinn. He made several good throws to Delanie Walker, and also utilized his running backs Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry.
Flags, flags, and more flags
Fans of both teams got very frustrated with penalty flags today, as there were several twitter counters paying close attention to how close this game was getting to the NFL record set back in 1951.
After all was said and done, the Lions lost 3 touchdowns, and at least 5 first downs, while Tennessee also lost several first downs on plays that were called penalties.
A key one, was an Eric Ebron pass interference call in the end zone that did not seem to be worthy of a flag according to the CBS announcing crew, moving the ball back from the Titans one yard line all the way back to the 31 after a penalty on the following play.
The Lions, who started the set of downs with a first and goal on the one, had a first and goal on the 31 two plays later, and kicked a field goal instead of scoring a touchdown that should have given the Lions the win.
Overall, there was a total of 29 penalties called, most of which were holding or pass interference. The Lions had 17 of them for 138 yards, while Tennessee contributed 12 penalties for 83 yards.
For a large portion of the game, it seemed that every play had a penalty flag on the play. It was almost to the extent that a casual fan could call a penalty flag on the play before it even began, and sure enough it was a holding call.
Injuries to Lions defense hurt them late
There was also quite a significant amount of injuries in this game as well. The Lions lost Ziggy Ansah, Kyle Van Noy, Antwoine Williams, and Ameer Abdullah during the game for the entirety, while Stafford, Ebron, Riley Reiff and potentially more also suffered injuries for Detroit.
Tennessee also had some in game injuries also. Mariota suffered a cut that was bleeding in his leg following his first touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, while Tennessee also had some injuries on the defensive side of the ball.
What was particularly strange, was that none of the plays where injuries occurred, were there any flags thrown. Matthew Stafford in particular, was taken down late by his knees by a defender crawling on the ground which should have been roughing the passer or a late hit. Eric Ebron had what appeared to be a head injury after being hit late on an out of bounds incompletion, as his head hit the ground as a result. Abdullah's injury was a foot injury that came after he was juking out several defenders on a run play.
The most concerning injuries for the Lions however, are Ziggy Ansah, who was a big time part of their defense last season who left the field limping two minutes into the game and did not return. Kyle Van Noy was hurt immediately after the ball was snapped as he tried to run into his zone, but couldn't make it leaving Tennessee wide open for a huge gain on the play. The injury, being non-contact, has some fans worried it may leave the Lions with very little depth at linebacker.
The Lions also still have DeAndre Levy out as well, making the team even weaker at linebacker. The only two left are starter Tahir Whitehead who was injured slightly during the preseason as well as Thurston Armbrister, a waiver pickup after the preseason.
Other key players
Outside of the play of both quarterbacks and the referees, Demarco Murray had a nice dual-threat game, earning 12 carries for 89 yards on the ground including a 67 yard rush to set up a Titans scoring drive. He also had a team high seven catches for 56 yards.
Devin Taylor had a nice game filling in for Ziggy Ansah, joining Kerry Hyder yet again on the Lions sack leaderboard. He ended up opening the game by forcing a safety early on in the first. Taylor had a sack and a half, and Hyder had a sack against Mariota.
Marvin Jones was the games leading receiver, earning a game high in yards (118) and catches (8) for Detroit, including a 47 yard play.
Having a nice day defensively for the Titans was Brian Orakpo, who had a game high two sacks, and forced some pressure on Stafford, leading to some holding calls on the Lions offensive line.
The Titans will look to take the momentum from their close win into a game at home against the Oakland Raiders. Oakland is currently playing the Atlanta Falcons this week, looking to go 2-0.
Detroit will have the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau next week, where they have had historic non-success until last season. Green Bay plays the Sunday Night game against mutual division rival Minnesota Vikings.
The game next week will open up divison play for the Lions. If the Lions can't get any of their players back next week, Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy could have big games in a Packers win next week.