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Ndamukong Suh's Sack List
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Lions 28 - Raiders 27

The Detroit Lions played the role of the Comeback Cats once again as they overcame a 13 point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Oakland Raiders 28 to 27.

The world seems to be picking up the "Comeback Cats" nickname for the Lions. I cannot help but to equate them to the NFL's version of "Jeckyl & Hyde". The Lions offense seems to be the mild mannered scientist that keeps trying experiments that do nothing but fail. They will continue to run the ball up the middle even though they do not have the power to get any push. The Lions continue to throw passes that have simple routes and get no to few yards. They continue to use Calvin Johnson in a limited role and look to other receivers with less talent. In other words, they continue to enter games and play well below their abilities while depending on the defense to keep things close. Then sometime in the second half the Detroit Lions pull out the secret potion, pinch their noses and take a swallow. That is when the beast comes out. That is what happened again on Sunday in Oakland.

In three and a half quarters of play, the Lions scored two touchdowns. Both on big plays of 39 yards and 51 yards. Other than those two plays, the offense did little. In fact, in the first 3 1/2 quarters (10 drives), the longest drive lasted only 7 plays. It was a disheartening effort as they had 8 dropped passes in that time and it looked like the Lions were going to fall to the Raiders. The Giants had lost. The Bears had lost. Even the Packers lost. The NFL was trying hard to give the Lions every advantage to make the play-offs and Detroit was not taking advantage of it.

With 7:30 left in the fourth quarter, and down by 13 points, the Lions got the ball back at their own 43 yard line, and Mr.Hyde took over. They drove the 57 yards in a ten play drive that was capped off with a three yard pass to Titus Young for a touchdown. The Lions were now down 6 points with less than 5 minutes left, but they had to kick it off to the Raiders.

The Raiders started moving the ball against the Lions defense. They drove to the Lions 48 yard-line and knowing that Janikowski had tied the NFL record with a 63 yard field goal earlier in the season, the Raiders were knocking on the door of field goal range. Then finally, the defense figured out how to stop running back, Michael Bush, and forced a punt. My stomach turned when I watched the punt bounce, and roll to the Lions 2 yard line before being downed.

With only 2:11 left on the clock the Lions had to drive the ball 98 yards to score. But there was hope in the air for they had shown in the prior drive that it was Mr.Hyde on the field now and not the timid Dr.Jeckyl.

Stafford's first pass went incomplete before he connected with Pettigrew for an 8 yarder. On the next play he connected with Burleson for another 8 yards and a first down. With 1:33 left, Stafford completed a 28 yard pass to Calvin Johnson who was having a big game already. That pass gave Johnson 162 yards on 7 catches. That wasn't good enough however, and Stafford decided to make it a career day for Megatron.

Taking the snap, Stafford dropped back, then stepped forward and aired it out. 48 yards down the field, Johnson was running with a defender on each side of him. He suddenly stopped and let them run a couple steps past him as he turned and grabbed the ball while falling to the ground. Two penalties (one for each team), and an incomplete pass later, Calvin Johnson broke to the middle and Stafford rifled one to him for a 6 yard touchdown and the Detroit Lions took the lead.

With :29 seconds left and two Oakland timeouts left, it was still too early to rejoice. It was the Lions defense, turn to look timid as Kevin Boss took in two consecutive passes for 34 yards total. One of them, Alfonso Smith went for a pick and missed, allowing the Raider's tight end to break away for extra yards. However, the Lions did what they do best on defense these days. They made the big play. Avril broke loose and sacked Carson Palmer for the second time and the Lions defense stopped the Raiders at the Detroit 47 yard line and with 4 seconds left, Oakland decided to go for a 64 yard field goal. An NFL record.

And here is where I need to say, I thank God that Ndamukong Suh was back from his suspension. Suh leapt up and got a hand on the kick to send it fluttering of target. Even with the partial block, the kick sailed to the two yard line. Watching the kick, I am a believer that if Suh did not get a piece of it, that ball had enough distance and would have won the game for the Raiders.

In the end, Matthew Stafford had 4 TDs and 391 yards passing, and Megatron had 214 yards on 9 catches and 2 touchdowns. More importantly, the Mr.Hyde persona of the Detroit Lions got another victory and put the Lions 2 games above any competition in the play-off race with 2 games left in the season.

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