Lions rally to stun Raiders 28-27

Published December 18, 2011

| Associated Press

Ndamukong Suh provided the perfect exclamation point to the Detroit Lions' thrilling comeback in his return from a two-game suspension.

Matthew Stafford threw a 6-yard TD pass to Calvin Johnson with 39 seconds remaining to cap a 98-yard scoring drive and Suh blocked a 65-yard field goal attempt by Sebastian Janikowski to seal the Lions' 28-27 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

The Raiders (7-7) appeared in control of the game when Aaron Curry returned a fumble 6 yards for a touchdown to make it 27-14 with 7:47 remaining.

But Stafford engineered two long scoring drives in the final minutes to give the Lions (9-5) their first lead of the game and Suh ended it when he got his hand on Janikowski's field goal attempt.

Suh threw his helmet and ran down the field in celebration, providing a loud finish to an otherwise quiet day for the defensive tackle in his first game back since serving a suspension for stepping on the right arm of Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith during a loss on Thanksgiving.

Until that point, the day belonged to Stafford and Johnson, who helped give the Lions a stunning victory and hand the Raiders (7-7) a crushing third straight loss to damage their playoff aspirations.

Stafford completed 29 of 52 passes for four touchdowns. He completed nine for 214 yards to Johnson, including a 21-yarder and a 48-yarder on the winning drive that started at the Detroit 2 with 2:14 to play and the Lions out of timeouts.

They also connected on a 51-yard scoring play in the first quarter but they had to sweat out the closing seconds as Carson Palmer got the Raiders to the Detroit 47 with 4 seconds to play.

Janikowski, who tied the record with a 63-yarder in the season opener at Denver, couldn't get the ball past the line as Suh blocked it to end the game.

Palmer finished 32 for 40 for 367 yards and a touchdown to Darrius Heyward-Bey, who had eight catches for a career-high 155 yards.

But Palmer also slightly overthrew Chaz Schilens on a third-down pass just before the two-minute warning after Stafford's TD pass to Titus Young cut Oakland's lead to 27-21.

That gave Detroit one last chance and Stafford and Johnson delivered. Stafford started the drive with an 8-yard completion to Nate Burleson on third-and-2 and then Johnson made an acrobatic 21-yard catch on the sideline. Johnson then beat the Raiders deep for the 48-yarder and drew a pass interference penalty from Stanford Routt at the 6 to set up the touchdown.

The game was tight for most of the second half until the Raiders scored 10 points in a 25-second span in the fourth quarter to take a 27-14 lead. Janikowski kicked his second field goal of the game, a 51-yarder, for the first points of the second half to make it 20-14.

Three plays later, Stafford dropped back to pass deep in his territory and was stripped by Tommy Kelly on a sack. Curry scooped up the ball at the 6 and rambled his way into the end zone for the score.

But the Raiders couldn't hold it and missed a chance to tie Denver for the AFC West lead and the New York Jets and Cincinnati for the lead for the final AFC wild-card spot.

The Raiders, who came into the game as the most penalized team in the NFL, were the beneficiary of undisciplined play. The Lions committed two horse collar penalties and an illegal contact foul, setting up Louis Murphy's 12-yard reverse for a score.

Then both teams took advantage of big pass plays and poor defense for three long scores in the half, with Johnson beating safeties Tyvon Branch and Mike Mitchell for a 51-yard TD catch for the Lions late in the first quarter.

Heyward-Bey then scored on a 43-yard pass play for Oakland, breaking a tackle by Chris Houston. Nate Burleson answered with his 39-yard catch from Stafford with help from a missed tackle by Lito Sheppard.

The Raiders took a 17-14 lead into the break when Janikowski kicked a 46-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2011/12/18/lions-rally-to-stun-raiders-28-27/