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Lions’ late scoring surge not enough
Question of the Day
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Call this one Music City Mayhem.
The Titans (1-2) blew a 20-9 halftime lead in a game featuring huge scoring swings. They became the first NFL team to score five touchdowns of 60 yards or longer in a game.
Detroit scored 18 straight points, then Tennessee answered with 21 points before the Lions scored the final 14 of regulation in a span of 18 seconds — the first team to do that since at least 1983, according to STATS LLC.
The touchdown that forced overtime came on a tipped desperation pass after Detroit recovered an onside kick and got an assist from the replacement officials who did not review a possible turnover.
“Both of us looked at each other and said, ‘We’ve never been through something like this in our lives,”’ Titans coach Mike Munchak said of Detroit coach Jim Schwartz, a former colleague in Nashville. “It’s hard to put in words what to say about that. We both could’ve won in so many ways.”
A total of 46 points came in the fourth period. Then in overtime, Bironas’ third field goal put Tennessee ahead to stay after a drive that got its own boost from the officials.
They announced a replay review had overturned their ruling of a catch by Tennessee tight end Craig Stevens, with the ball hitting the ground as he rolled after being hit helmet to helmet by Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch.
After spending several minutes discussing where to place the ball, they put it at the Lions‘ 29, giving the Titans 27 yards. The penalty apparently was marched off from the Detroit 44 instead of the Tennessee 44, where the play started.
The Lions (1-2) lost their second straight when Schwartz decided not to let Jason Hanson kick his fifth field goal. Hill, in for injured Matthew Stafford, was stopped by defensive tackles Jurrell Casey and Sen’Derrick Marks on his sneak, and Tennessee escaped, celebrating wildly even as an official stood over the ball before a replay review was announced.
Players from both teams met in the middle of the field talking and shaking hands before an official finally announced the game was over.
After Hill tossed a 3-yard TD pass to Calvin Johnson with 18 seconds left, Amari Spievey recovered Detroit’s onside kick. Hill threw a short pass to the sideline to Nate Burleson who took at least a step before losing the ball when hit by Titans cornerback Jason McCourty.
An official threw down his bean bag, indicating a change of possession. Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner picked up the ball and started to run to the end zone before another official ran up and called it incomplete.
Because it was in the final 2 minutes, a review is left up to the officials and coaches cannot challenge. No replay review was done.
Officials had other issues in this game, including twice announcing the offense would replay third down when it was obvious the defense wanted to decline a penalty to force fourth down.
Shades of the most famous play in Titans history, the Music City Miracle to lift them past Buffalo in a January 2000 playoff game, Tommie Campbell caught a lateral on a punt return and ran it 65 yards for a TD in the first quarter for Tennessee.
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