For the second straight season, the Lions opened up a 21-3 lead in the second quarter of Week One, then watched that lead evaporate. Only this time, the Lions won.
Today in Indianapolis, the Lions stormed ahead 21-3 in the second quarter but collapsed down the stretch and fell behind 35-34 with less than a minute left. But then Matthew Stafford marched them down the field and Matthew Prater drilled a 43-yard game-winner. On the ensuing kickoff the Colts ended up scoring a safety while attempting a Stanford Band type play, giving the Lions a dramatic 39-35 win. (In Week One of last year the Lions lost to the Chargers after taking a 21-3 lead.)
The win came despite an ugly performance by the Lions’ defense, which allowed Andrew Luck to complete 31 of 47 passes for 385 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. And it was also ugly for the Lions’ special teams when they took a 34-28 lead in the fourth quarter only to see Prater miss the extra point, which nearly turned out to be the difference.
The Lions’ offense made plenty of plays, benefitting from the fact that the Colts’ already injury-depleted secondary was badly banged up during the game. Indianapolis defensive backs T.J. Green, Patrick Robinson and Winston Guy all had to exit with injuries. Matthew Stafford went over 300 yards and threw three touchdown passes.
But Luck was even better, shaking off some early struggles with the Lions’ pass rush and running the offense almost flawlessly late in the game. When the Lions missed that fourth quarter extra point, everyone in the stadium had to expect that Luck would march the Colts down the field for a 35-34 lead, and that’s exactly what he did.
This time, however, the Lions had enough left after that 35-34 deficit to come back and win the game. It was a major statement for the Lions, and a major disappointment for the Colts.