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Week 14 Game Recap: Detroit Lions 24, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21


What you need to know

Detroit Lions

Detroit's offense was efficient in the short passing game, but struggled to establish any deep passing opportunities. Matthew Stafford started after injury his hand last week, and was efficient in the short passing game to start the game. Stafford only had one deep completion, a 38 yard post to Marvin Jones, and was intercepted on his other deep target to Kenny Golladay. Theo Riddick started in place of an injured Ameer Abdullah, and scored two red zone touchdowns but did little else on the ground. Riddick, Golden Tate and Eric Ebron spearheaded a short passing game that created big plays on a day where Stafford struggled down the field.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay's defense forced three turnovers, but the Bucs offense answered with five of their own, three by Winston. Lavonte David recovered an Eric Ebron fumble in the 1st quarter. Brent Grimes intercepted early Matthew Stafford in the 2nd quarter, as did Robert McClain at the end of the 2nd. Stafford led a game-winning drive at the end of the 4th quarter with the contest tied at 20-20.

Detroit Lions

QB Matthew Stafford, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 36 - 44 - 381 - 1 TD / 2 INT
After spending the week questionable with a hand injury, Stafford played and started the game hot, completing his first 11 passes. He featured Eric Ebron early in the game, while throwing a lot of targets in the short passing game. The offense started in no huddle where Stafford has shown so much comfort this season, but went away from it later in the game. Stafford threw two first half interceptions, both along the boundary. The first was a go route along the perimeter where Stafford typically goes to beat Cover 2. Stafford targeted Golladay on the play, but Brent Grimes sagged underneath the route and jumped to intercept the ball. Stafford usually throws the ball with zip on that type of route, but his throw did not have the normal trajectory Stafford throws it with, which may be attributable to the hand injury. The play was a good play by Grimes who made a good read and execution on the play. The second was an out route to Golden Tate where Robert McClain dropped out of cover 2 underneath Tate's route for an easy interception. Stafford threw a touchdown to Golden Tate on a quick curl route where Tate sat beneath the Tampa Bay defense. Stafford had one deep completion, a 38-yard post to Marvin Jones while the rest of the day the offense was confined to the underneath. The stat sheet shows chunk plays, but they were largely the result of Ebron, Riddick and Tate making plays after the catch.

RB Theo Riddick, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 29 - 2, Rec: 6 - 64 - 0 (10 targets)
Theo Riddick started in the absence of Ameer Abdullah. The offense started early with up tempo, which is a positive fit for Riddick. Riddick was used as the primary runner early in the game, and had one of his better performances in the passing game of the season. Riddick can make yards after the catch in the short passing game, and provides Detroit a safe but explosive threat. Riddick's rushing numbers were muted by a lack of running room but he was able to find the end zone twice. His first was a goal line carry, and his second was a red zone carry where he broke multiple arm tackles.

RB Tion Green, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 15 - 0
Tion Green was the second back in the game behind Theo Riddick. Green was held in check, but had a 12-yard gain called back on holding. Green is an unexceptional athlete, but ran hard and decisively in his limited opportunities.

WR Golden Tate, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 85 - 1 (9 targets)
Golden Tate showed off his prowess running after the catch, with solid gains of 17 and 24 yards. He also had a 24-yard catch called back on a holding call. Tate scored a red zone touchdown with a 5-yard catch, where he ran a curl underneath the Tampa Bay coverage. Tate also had a crucial 14-yard catch that set Detroit up for a game winning field goal. Tate's 10.6 yards per catch does not do his ability after the catch justice. His depth of target is consistently low, but he is dangerous after the catch.

WR Kenny Golladay, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0, Rec: 3 - 17 - 0 (4 targets)
Kenny Golladay was limited to only three catches that were confined to the short area of the field. One curl of note was a contested catch where Golladay initially bobbled the ball but showed good concentration to secure the catch. Golladay was also used on an end around where he was able to get to the edge for a nine-yard catch. Golladay's lone deep target was intercepted on a great play by CB Brent Grimes.

WR Marvin Jones, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 64 - 0 (4 targets)
Marvin Jones was limited during the game to only four targets, after seeing heavy workload in recent weeks. Jones's long catch was a 38-yard post into double coverage. Jones typically is a deep perimeter threat, but Stafford's only deep perimeter throw was his interception intended for Kenny Golladay. The remainder of Jones's targets were in the intermediate area of the field, including an out where he drew a defensive holding, and another out breaking route where he was called for offensive pass interference.

TE Eric Ebron, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 94 - 0 (11 targets)
Eric Ebron had his best game of the season with a career-high 10 receptions. Ebron was featured early in the game, with short catches where he ran strong after the catch. Ebron did have a fumble on a reception that was recovered by Tampa Bay. However, Ebron bounced back and performed confidently and effectively the rest of the game. Ebron's catches were in the short and intermediate area, where Stafford spent most of his game throwing.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Jameis Winston, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 38 - 285 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 10 - 0
Winston was terrible in week 14, answering Detroit's three turnovers with three of his own. His two touchdown passes were both short, play-action passes from goal line formations on the Detroit 2 yard line. Winston made a bad throw on his first interception while rolling right and looking for Desean Jackson on the sideline. Cornerback Darius Slay saw the pass coming and jumped the route. Winston's second interception was another terrible pass that he floated over OJ Howard and into the arms of the deep safety early in the 3rd quarter. Winston was scrambling from pressure late in the 3rd quarter when he lost a fumble. Winston found Howard for his first touchdown of the day early in the 4th quarter. After Peyton Barber carried the ball down to the Detroit 2 yard line, Winston faked a handoff to Barber from a goal line formation and hit Howard on an out route for the score. Winston targeted Evans on a deep ball later in the 4th that drew a defensive pass interference and set the Bucs up deep in Lions territory. Winston hit backup offensive lineman Leonard Wester on a play-action pass from a goal line set a couple of plays later. Wester checked in as an extra blocker and was left wide open after Winston faked the handoff from the 2. The score tied the game at 20-20, but the Bucs watched helplessly as Matthew Stafford led a game winning drive at the end of the 4th quarter.

RB Peyton Barber, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 58 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)
Barber saw his first snaps early in the 2nd quarter, briefly relieving Doug Martin. After Martin lost a fumble late in the 2nd, Barber was featured in the second half of the game. Barber caught a screen pass and broke several tackles late in the 3rd for a short gain on his only target. Barber carried the ball down to the Detroit 2 yard line late in the 3rd, then was stuffed on the following goal line carry. OJ Howard scored on a play-action pass on the following play. Later in the 4th, Barber ripped a 16 yard run from the Detroit 18, getting tackled at the 2 yard line again. This time, it was backup offensive lineman Leonard Wester who vultured the touchdown from a goal-line set. Barber finished with a solid 4.8 ypc average.

RB Doug Martin, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 26 - 1, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (3 targets)
Martin got the start but appeared to be benched after a late 2nd quarter fumble. He leaked out of the backfield and caught a short pass in the 1st quarter, taking it down inside the Detroit 5 yard line, then scored on a one yard plunge two plays later. Martin picked up another nice gain in the 2nd quarter on a halfback screen. Martin lost a fumble while trying to turn the left corner on a late 2nd quarter run, and did not see the field in the second half. Martin's 2.6 ypc average(10 carries) was considerably lower than Barber's 4.8(12 carries).

RB Charles Sims, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 16 - 0, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (3 targets)
Sims entered the game during the Bucs' opening drive, leaking out of the backfield into the flats for a reception that fell short on 3rd and 4. He was featured in his usual role during a 2 minute drill at the end of the 1st half, catching a screen pass for a 10 yard gain. Sims had an 11 yard run right up the middle of the defense late in the 4th quarter, finishing the day with 3 carries and 3 targets.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers
Rodgers was active but did not play any offensive snaps. He returned kickoffs, averaging 20 yards per return on three returns.

WR Chris Godwin, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 68 - 0 (6 targets)
Godwin led the team in catches and yards, working alongside Evans and Jackson throughout the contest. He lined up in the right slot in a 5 WR set and ran a fly route right up the seam in the 2nd, hauling in a deep pass while taking a big shot to the back. Godwin lined up in the right slot and caught a swing route behind the line of scrimmage in the 3rd, spinning around a pair of tacklers for extra yardage. WInston hit Godwin on a deep post route for a 19 yard gain later in the same drive. Godwin hauled in another big catch up the seam later in the 3rd.

WR DeSean Jackson, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 23 - 0, Rec: 4 - 41 - 0 (7 targets)
Jackson led the team with 7 targets on a sloppy day for QB Winston. He lined up wide left in a 3WR set and caught a screen in the 1st quarter. Winston targeted him with an overthrown deep ball on the next play. Jackson caught a deep comeback route up the right seam for a 16 yard gain later in the 1st. Winston hit him with on a toe-tapping out route on the right sideline during the opening drive of the 2nd half. Jackson lined up wide left and caught a quick screen in the 3rd quarter, converting 3rd and 7. D-jax also carried the ball once on an end-around that he broke for 23 yards in the 3rd quarter.

WR Adam Humphries, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (3 targets)
Humphries wasn't targeted until late in the 2nd quarter when he caught a WR screen from the right slot for a 10 yard catch-and-run. He was targeted again on a short crossing route late in the 3rd quarter. Humphries secured his third and final target on a slant route late in the 4th. Humphries also heldo down his usual punt return duties.

WR Mike Evans, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 25 - 0 (5 targets)
Evans was not much of factor in the Bucs passing game, taking a backseat to rookies Chris Godwin and OJ Howard as Winston struggled. Evans hauled in a quick curl route up the right seam in the 1st quarter, then a skinny post two plays later. Winston targeted Evans on a fade route from the Detroit 5 yard line later in the 1st but failed to connect. Evans had a decent gain called back for a penalty on the offensive line late in the 2nd quarter. Evans appeared to have a miscommunication with Winston on a deep ball that the two missed in the 4th quarter. Winston loaded up another deep ball for Evans two plays later, failing to connect but drawing a defensive pass interference penalty that moved the Bucs deep into Lions territory. Evans finished with just 5 targets, fewer than Jackson(7), Godwin(6), and Howard(6).

WR Freddie Martino, 4 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 19 - 0 (1 targets)
Martino saw limited snaps on offense, lining up wide right in a 3WR set in the 2nd quarter for a deep comeback route, his only reception of the day.

TE O.J. Howard, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 54 - 1 (6 targets)
Howard was featured in the offense early and often, out-targeting co-starter Brate 6-1. Howard ran Brate's go-to route up the right seam for his first reception of the day in the 1st quarter. Howard caught the ball on the same route later in the 1st quarter, but lost the fumbled while being tackled. The play was held under lengthy review before it was determined to be a catch and a fumble that was recovered by Detroit. Howard caught a well-executed tight end screen at the beginning of the 3rd quarter for a nice gain. Winston looked for Howard up the seam two plays later, but the tight end bobbled the pass and nearly caused an interception. Howard scored early in the 4th quarter on a play action pass from a goal line formation. He lined up with his hand in the dirt and took off on an out route as Winston faked the handoff before hitting him in the end zone from the 2 yard line.

TE Cameron Brate, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets)
Brate seemed to be completely forgotten one week after breaking his slump with a two touchdown performance. Rookie tight end Howard was featured early and often in the passing game, vulturing many of Brate's routes up the seam. Brate was not targeted at all until late in the 4th quarter when he hauled in a comeback route up the left seam for an 11 yard gain.