Titus Young capitalizes on start, lifts Lions to win with 20 seconds left

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions drafted Titus Young last year, envisioning him as the receiver to eventually replace veteran Nate Burleson.

It has happened sooner than planned, and Young is making the most of his opportunity.

Young caught his second touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford on a 1-yard slant with 20 seconds left, lifting Detroit to a 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Matthew trusted me all day, and he gave me a perfect opportunity to make a play at the end,” Young said. “I wanted do that for everyone on the team, but I especially wanted to do it for Nate.”

Burleson broke his right leg in Monday night’s loss at Chicago, pushing Young up the depth chart. Burleson sent a motivational message to his teammates on offense that was shown on video Saturday night.

Young caught a go-ahead TD midway through the second quarter and finished with nine receptions and 100 yards receiving — both career highs — in a breakout performance that didn’t surprise Detroit coach Jim Schwartz.

“I wasn’t worried about Titus,” Schwartz said. “Titus has never lacked for self-confidence.”

Young needed to make the second TD catch after Zach Miller had a spectacular, 16-yard snag on a toss from Russell Wilson with 5:27 left that put the Seahawks ahead.

But Seattle (4-4) couldn’t stop the Lions (3-4) on their last possession.

“We’re disappointed that after that terrific drive, we couldn’t finish it off the way we wanted to,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We didn’t get the stops on third down.”

That was a problem for the Seahawks all afternoon, giving up first downs on 12 of 16 third downs on defense, including three on Detroit’s last drive.

Stafford led the 16-play possession that started at Detroit’s 20 with 5:27 remaining. It began with a 15-yard pass to Calvin Johnson and was kept alive with third-down conversion passes to Johnson in Lions territory, to Joique Bell that set up the winning score from just outside the goal line on another third down.

After Stafford had to throw away two passes to avoid sacks with no timeouts left, Young broke inside of cornerback Brandon Browner and caught the winning TD pass.

“There were four dudes standing next to Calvin and one standing next to Titus, so I liked my odds on that side,” Stafford said. “Calvin got a lot of attention all game, just like he always does, but the other guys stepped up. Titus had a huge game, Brandon Pettigrew had a hell of a game, Ryan Broyles made some big plays, and the running backs were coming out of the backfield and making catches.

“That’s what we needed.”

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