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Titans beat Lions in a thrilling overtime classic

Detroit Lions v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

If the late NFL Films President Steve Sabol is up there in the great editing room in the sky, he’s having a wonderful time preparing to put together the highlights of today’s Lions-Titans game, and he’s writing an amazing script for the late NFL Films “Voice of God” narrator, John Facenda. Because today’s Lions-Titans game had everything that NFL Films has always celebrated — everything we love about football.

In as exciting a football game as you’ll ever see, the Titans beat the Lions 44-41 in overtime, a final score that doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story.

The Titans scored touchdowns on a 65-yard punt return by Tommie Campbell, a 61-yard catch by Jared Cook, a 105-yard kickoff return by Darius Reynaud, a 71-yard catch by Nate Washington and a 72-yard fumble return by Alterraun Verner to beat the Lions. The Titans became the first team in NFL history to score five touchdowns of more than 60 yards in one game.

And yet the Titans almost lost, thanks to a furious final 18 seconds of the fourth quarter from the Lions in which quarterback Shaun Hill, in for an injured Matthew Stafford, threw a touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson, then (after the Lions recovered an onside kick) heaved one into the end zone where it was caught by Titus Young to tie the score on the final play of regulation.

That sent the game into overtime, where the Titans methodically marched down the field but stalled deep in Detroit territory and had to settle for a field goal. On the Lions’ ensuing possession, they too methodically marched down the field but stalled deep in Tennessee territory. But the Lions, when faced with a fourth-and-1, shockingly called for a quarterback sneak instead of a field goal to extend overtime. That quarterback sneak went nowhere, and the Titans won.

Some of the statistics from this game look insane. Not only the five long touchdowns by the Titans, but the fact that Hill didn’t even come into the game until after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, but still passed for 172 yards. There’s also the fact that the Titans spent all day focusing all their coverage on Johnson — and yet he still caught 10 passes for 164 yards.

Basically, there were big plays from all the offensive playmakers except the guy who is supposed to be one of the NFL’s biggest playmakers, Titans running back Chris Johnson. The Lions’ defense bottled up Johnson, limiting him to 24 yards on 14 carries.

There were 46 points scored in the game’s crazy fourth quarter, and the game still hadn’t been decided by the end of that. It was an amazing game, the kind of game that left both teams exhausted as they walked off the field and shaking their heads about what they had just participated in. This was the kind of game that deserves to be immortalized by NFL Films.

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43 Responses to “Titans beat Lions in a thrilling overtime classic”
  1. goodluckking says: Sep 23, 2012 5:04 PM

    Amazing game even though my team lost.

    The replacement ref’s stink by the way. In case anyone didn’t know that already.

  2. klunge says: Sep 23, 2012 5:07 PM

    Although bummed by the Lions loss, I have to put team fandom aside and just say that this is what football is all about. On the edge of my couch for hours, tension so high I could actually feel & hear my own heartbeat. Man what a game!

  3. righthereisay says: Sep 23, 2012 5:08 PM

    Great read. Thanks.

  4. turrrds says: Sep 23, 2012 5:10 PM

    Great game. Worst play call I’ve ever seen. You go to Calvin Johnson, or Mikel LeShoure there. Or just kick the FG. I’m a Lions fan and a big supporter of Schwartz but that was inexcusable. Congrats to the Titans. They earned it.

  5. marko959 says: Sep 23, 2012 5:10 PM

    How about Fox cutting to a commercial just as the Detroit player caught the Hail Mary. We didn’t know if he made it in the end zone or not for several seconds.

  6. bucrightoff says: Sep 23, 2012 5:12 PM

    I appreciate the aggressive mentality from the Lions, but I mean you gotta give your team another chance after that miracle finish. A tie would have been a steal too. A loss is devastating.

  7. chibimike says: Sep 23, 2012 5:12 PM

    Good job replacement officials. They gave the Titans 27 yards on the PF call on Tulloch. From the Titans 44 to the Lions 29. They confused whose 44 yard line they started at.

    Can we get the real officials back?

  8. freebird2011 says: Sep 23, 2012 5:12 PM

    Jim Schwartz said the Lions were trying to draw them offsides and the ball was never supposed to be snapped. It was supposed to be either a first down by penalty or a kick to tie the game. The center, Raiola, screwed up and snapped the ball, which surprised the QB, Shaun Hill, and he did the best he could.

  9. gosuhgo says: Sep 23, 2012 5:12 PM

    Man that was a heck of a game. I’m still sad but…man. Instant classic. But get the real refs back, that was embarrassing. Both teams just had lousy calls for and against.

  10. saddolfinfan says: Sep 23, 2012 5:17 PM

    Good aggressive call, after the way their defense was playing you couldnt risk giving the titans the ball back, they would ve driven down the field and got a field goal, it sucks but it was the right call they werent getting the ball back

  11. ocdn says: Sep 23, 2012 5:19 PM

    Congrats to Tennessee. My team lost due to incompetence on special teams, Pettigrew unable to hang on to the ball (or catch some routine passes), and play calling. Just hope Stafford isn’t hurt too bad.

  12. theysone says: Sep 23, 2012 5:19 PM

    Love seeing the Lions lose, especially to a team as bad as the Titans.

    They should just start Hill, Stafford simply cannot stay healthy, and he’s played terribly this year.

  13. WatchThis says: Sep 23, 2012 5:19 PM

    Definitely the Titans earned it long before that final 2 minutes. We just got beat. Went from brutal to insane to disappointing.

  14. Mr. Wright 212 says: Sep 23, 2012 5:20 PM

    Love to see the complaints about the refs from the people who thought Giants fans were whining Week 1 with all the game changing non-calls that Dallas got away with — now everyone’s losing games because of the refs, and REALITY HAS STRUCK.

  15. andrewproughcfe says: Sep 23, 2012 5:21 PM

    MDS – nice job – excellent writing on this one. What an incredible game – you are right, Sabol and Facenda would have devoted an hour to this one. Heck, with Sabol’s slo-mo editing, Reynaud’s 105 yard kick return would take 5 minutes and would need its own Vangelis theme song.

  16. markbul says: Sep 23, 2012 5:23 PM

    Wait – the terribly incompetent officials didn’t ruin the game?

  17. rascalmanny says: Sep 23, 2012 5:23 PM

    How about those two HUGE losses by CJ at the end of the game?

    Unreal. This game was one for the history books.

  18. otis52gsh says: Sep 23, 2012 5:24 PM

    The lions should spend a little more on their defense. Not going to win many games giving up 44 points. And they really should look for a more dependable QB. it’s not like this Matt kid is any good anyway.

  19. frankrizzo51 says: Sep 23, 2012 5:26 PM

    Guess I picked the wrong time to cut the grass.

  20. chibimike says: Sep 23, 2012 5:30 PM

    If you got cut to a commercial after the hail mary, it was your local cable company or local Fox channel.

    I have Dtv and they showed the catch, a bunch of replays and then the extra point. No commercials here.

  21. freebird2011 says: Sep 23, 2012 5:33 PM

    In overtime, after an incomplete pass and personal foul penalty, the refs spotted the ball 12 yards in the wrong direction, which favored the Titans. They got the ball on the Lions 29 instead of the 41, but oh well, the Titans deserved to win.

  22. thestrategyexpert says: Sep 23, 2012 5:39 PM

    It took a miracle just to get to overtime, but man the Lions are depressing. Countless coaching mistakes all game long and we still almost won this one.

  23. chrismgillis says: Sep 23, 2012 5:40 PM

    otis52gsh
    do u even watch football. I bet your qb hasn’t seen 5038 yes and 41 tds in a season. but you’re probably right. Matt isn’t very good. that cracks me up.

  24. gmsingh says: Sep 23, 2012 5:40 PM

    Sounds like quite a defensive battle…

  25. almanak209 says: Sep 23, 2012 5:43 PM

    Start Hill because Stafford has played horribly this year ? You do know stafford completed 78.6% of his passes this game right ?

  26. gatorsandsteelerssuckbigblackclocks says: Sep 23, 2012 5:50 PM

    Titans deserved the W no question. Yes, replacement refs are bad. We get it. You’ve been heard. That goes for all the fans of all future losing teams.

  27. hyzers says: Sep 23, 2012 5:54 PM

    otis52gsh says:
    Sep 23, 2012 5:24 PM
    The lions should spend a little more on their defense. Not going to win many games giving up 44 points. And they really should look for a more dependable QB. it’s not like this Matt kid is any good anyway.

    ——————————————————-

    You should spend a little more time watching the game you are going to comment on. Titan’s defense scored a TD and their special teams scored 2 TDs.

  28. WatchThis says: Sep 23, 2012 5:54 PM

    Not all on the D. Two special team TD’s and Pettigrew giving an early Christmas present. That’s 3 td’s. Still, we didn’t play like winners. Glad Leshoure and Hill looked good. Stafford’s gotta pick it up.

  29. staffordsyear says: Sep 23, 2012 6:01 PM

    It sucks to lose that type of game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. eddardofthehousestark says: Sep 23, 2012 6:04 PM

    Thank you Tennessee, the only thing that makes me feel alittle better after the 49ers got exposed is a painful Lions loss.

  31. reddog1955 says: Sep 23, 2012 6:04 PM

    Lions fan for over 40 years, love this team! We have the talent to win but we are simply getting out-coached this year.
    Congrats to Vikes! Who saw that coming?

  32. funktron2x says: Sep 23, 2012 6:17 PM

    Man, what a game. I am brutally disappointed in my Lions, though. You can forgive a crazy lateral play on the punt return, and the Nate Washington play was just as unpredictable and fluky. But the kickoff out of bounds, the terrible play on the Cook td, the awful drive-extending penalties, Pettigrew letting a little CB just take it right out of his hands and a botched snap on the last play will all haunt my nightmares for at least the next six days. The Lions had no business losing this game to Tennessee, but they did it anyway.

  33. qwerty007qwerty007 says: Sep 23, 2012 6:51 PM

    Chris Johnson had another massive game on the ground, racking up a huge 24 yards on 14 carries. What a great deal the Titans made, locking this guy up long term after he held out.

    Oh yah…Locker ran for 35 yards on 4 carries.

  34. staffordsyear says: Sep 23, 2012 6:57 PM

    And whats with the terrible play call at the end?….you march all the way down the field with hill throwing the ball excellent and you try to run a qb sneak or whatever that was?! makes me want throw up,throw it to cj or somebody! lions deserved to lose this..schwartz should be embarrassed.

  35. otis52gsh says: Sep 23, 2012 6:59 PM

    otis52gsh
    do u even watch football. I bet your qb hasn’t seen 5038 yes and 41 tds in a season. but you’re probably right. Matt isn’t very good. that cracks me up.

    Did he get a Superbowl that win that year?

  36. Johnb21 says: Sep 23, 2012 6:59 PM

    As a Lions fan, you most certainly have to blame the defense… D line is not getting any pressure, DBs can’t cover (except Houston), and on the other end Pettigew can’t catch, and Raiola is trash.

    I don’t blame the officials for the loss… even though the game probably should have been over sooner(incomplete pass on an obvious completed catch by TE Stevens). I didn’t expect the Lions to win after seeing the offensive woes continue and the defense allowing 3rd and long conversions all game… so the Lions losing the way they did with stupid Raiola handing them the game wasn’t too big of a disappointment. I am a Lions fan… I am used to this kind of let down.

  37. abreathofsanity says: Sep 23, 2012 9:19 PM

    no fan of either team but this was an awesome game

  38. flipola says: Sep 23, 2012 9:33 PM

    I stopped watching at :50ish seconds left, 41-27 with Shaun Hill in a QB. Obviously thought it was over. The Titans did an amazing job of containing Megatron in the first half, but their defense was shredded through the air in the second, and on the ground all game. It was great to see some big, exciting plays, after the draining debacle last week in San Diego, but we’ve got to “Titan” up on defense. Hill played awesome, but we should have never let a backup come in and torch us. I miss the defense of the early 2000s.
    I’m not even going to mention the run game. It’s too painful to think about.

  39. flipola says: Sep 23, 2012 9:34 PM

    But a win is a win, and against a playoff team no less. I just long for the days of expecting much more out of my team.

  40. paychrisjohnson28 says: Sep 24, 2012 12:23 AM

    This was as crazy and shocking back & forth game that I have ever seen, definitely the NFL game of the week and a classic. There were so many unusually long plays & wild plays all in one game. I’m a diehard Oilers then Titans fan since ’78 and I am very thankful for the win after starting the season with two blowout losses, helps forget about them a little. It was a game of redemption for the Titans to somehow, some way find a way to win. Both the teams that beat the Titans this season lost today (Patriots & Chargers both lost). In this wacky NFL season so farthe Titans still have no running game and can’t depend on Defensive & Special Teams touchdowns every game to bail the defense out which has been playing terrible as far as points given up. When teams have serious interior offensive line problems for 2 years straight you have to wonder what the personel department is doing not working to find better lineman through the draft or free agency. Chris Johnson should take a seat on the bench for a game or two & let one of that back ups Jamie Harper or Darius Reynaud see if they can provide better stats/help in the running game. The Texans will be heavily favored heavily against the Titans this coming week & I will pray for another miracle is what it will take for Tennessee to win this next Sunday. Go Titans Go!

  41. dirtycurtey says: Sep 24, 2012 6:32 AM

    I like Hill… I think without Calvin, Stafford is mediocre at best. Yes, I am a Lions fan and STH. Great to see Leshoure and WSU Alum Bell out there together. And incase you didn’t know… The Lions secondary is BRUTAL!!! Tennessee deserved that one, Lions were out played on both sides of the ball. And to see the “Music City Miracle” was awesome… Great game.

  42. saintez says: Sep 24, 2012 9:30 AM

    Having been to all but 3 games since the Titans came to Nashville I will say that was simply Unbelievable. Little known piece from yesterday: The first video shown just before the Titans were introduced was the “music city miracle’…. ironic; we showed you what was just about to happen!
    Hats off to the fight of both teams. I’m still exhausted!

  43. anythingbutyanks says: Sep 24, 2012 10:11 AM

    24 yards on 14 carries? So you mean that Johnson’s YPC for the season went up even though he completely left a deuce on the field?

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