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.