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(Sunday, November 22nd)
Final Score: Detroit 38, Cleveland 37
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Matthew Stafford threw a touchdown pass to Brandon Pettigrew on the last play of the game as the Detroit Lions took a thrilling 38-37 win over the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field.
Trailing by six points, Detroit got the ball back at its own 12 with 1:46 to play.
Three consecutive completions got the ball near midfield and, after a spike to stop the clock, an 11-yard catch by Pettigrew got the ball to the Cleveland 43. Another spike followed by an incompletion saw Detroit facing a 3rd-and-10, but Stafford moved the chains with an 11-yard completion to Will Heller.
Another spike stopped the clock with eight seconds to play. Stafford took the snap and scrambled to avoid the sack. He stepped up and heaved the ball downfield, taking a big hit as he did so, but it was picked off in the end zone.
However, Cleveland was called for pass interference, giving Detroit one last chance with no time on the clock.
"I knew it wasn't going to be a timing throw, I just kind of ducked around and threw it up there," said Stafford. "I just kind of laid there for a while and heard we got a pass interference call."
Daunte Culpepper briefly stepped under center as Stafford appeared to be injured on the previous play, but Cleveland called a timeout and the first overall pick in this year's draft stepped back on the field for the final play.
Stafford took the snap and fired a pass that Pettigrew caught in the end zone and Jason Hanson's extra point gave Detroit the win.
"I knew we had just the one play," said Stafford. "Pettigrew ran a great route and made a great catch. It's a big win."
Stafford finished the game 26-for-43 with 422 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. He became the first rookie quarterback to throw five touchdowns in a game in the history of the NFL.
"Our philosophy has been a win is a win and a loss is a loss, we'll take this win," said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "I'm sort of at a loss for words. This game had so many ebbs and flows. Being down 21 points in the first quarter, we hung in there and were able to score touchdowns and a lot of that had to do with our quarterback today."
Calvin Johnson had seven catches for 161 yards and a score, Kevin Smith finished the game with four receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown while Pettigrew had six catches for 72 yards along with the touchdown for the Lions (2-8), who snapped a six-game losing streak.
Brady Quinn had three first-quarter touchdown passes and finished the game with four on 21-of-33 passing with 304 yards while Mohamed Massaquoi finished the game with five catches for 115 yards and a touchdown for the Browns (1-9), who have dropped their past five games.
Chansi Stuckey, Joshua Cribbs and Michael Gaines each caught a score for Cleveland, which came into the game averaging just 8.7 points per contest. Jamal Lewis had 75 yards on 24 carries and converted a two-point conversion.
"I'm just disappointed and sick with the way this game ended," said Cleveland head coach Eric Mangini. "I thought that they fought. We got up big and they fought back then we fought back. To have this game come down to a pass interference...sick for them."
After an exchange of punts to start the second half, Detroit, trailing by three, was able to take its first lead of the game.
Starting at the Detroit 16, Stafford hit Bryant Johnson on the first play for 17 yards. Smith took the next snap 13 yards to get the ball near midfield. Then facing a 1st-and-10 at the Cleveland 31, Stafford hit Calvin Johnson, who took it down to the one-yard line. Stafford then went to the fake handoff and hit Heller in the end zone for a 31-27 lead with under three minutes to play in the third.
Detroit held Cleveland to a three-and-out on the next touch, but was pinned deep and Stafford was called for intentional grounding in the end zone to give Cleveland a safety and make it a 31-29 game.
Cleveland had to punt the ball away after getting it back, but held Detroit to a three-and-out and got the ball back at its own 25.
The Browns kept the ball for almost seven minutes on the 14-play drive, which saw the team convert three 3rd-and-1 plays, and took the lead on Quinn's two- yard touchdown pass to Gaines. After Lewis took the direct snap into the end zone on a two-point conversion, Cleveland had a 37-31 lead with 5:44 to play.
Stafford was picked off for the second time in the game by Brodney Pool to give Cleveland the ball with 3:40 to play and a chance to kill off the rest of the clock, but the Detroit defense stood tall to give the team the ball back and set up the winning drive.
Cleveland started the game with the ball and was able to put together a scoring drive as the nine-play, 48-yard march was capped by a Phil Dawson 44- yard field goal.
Detroit got a big play on its first snap as Smith took a pass out in the left flat and raced 63 yards down the sideline. However, the drive stalled and the team had to settle for a 31-yard field goal from Hanson.
The Browns, though, needed just one play to get the lead back as Quinn hauled the ball down field for a wide open Massaquoi, who caught the ball and took it into the end zone for a 59-yard score and his first career TD.
The Lions were held to a three-and-out on their next touch and Cleveland again used the long ball as, on 3rd-and-6, Quinn heaved the ball to Stuckey for a 40-yard score and a 17-3 lead.
Stafford was picked off on the first play of the ensuing drive that Eric Wright took back 47 yards and, coupled with an unnecessary roughness call on Detroit, Cleveland had a 1st-and-goal at the 6. Two plays later, Quinn found Cribbs in the back of the end zone from four yards out for a 24-3 lead with 2:52 left in the first.
Detroit came back with a quick scoring drive as Stafford hit Aaron Brown on a short pass to the left and he took it into the end zone from 26 yards out to make it a 24-10 game with 30 seconds to play in the first.
The Detroit defense finally stopped Cleveland and got the ball back at its own 39. Stafford again went to the air and hit Smith over the middle and he stretched into the end zone from 25 yards out to make it a 24-17 game a bit over three minutes into the second.
After stopping Cleveland again, Detroit got the ball back at its own six-yard- line. The team got the ball out of the shadow of its own end zone, and on 2nd- and-5 at its own 25, Stafford hit Calvin Johnson in stride near the Cleveland 30 and the receiver took it into the end zone to tie the game with 5:01 left in the half.
The Browns, though, used the rest of the half to get the ball into scoring position and got a 29-yard field goal from Dawson to take a 27-24 lead into the break.
The 59-yard touchdown catch by Massaquoi was the longest play of the season for Cleveland...Cleveland had scored just nine points in the first quarter over its first nine games...Cleveland plays at Cincinnati next Sunday...The Lions host Green Bay on Thanksgiving...The Browns were averaging just 116.2 passing yards per game coming into the contest...Smith added 45 yards on 12 carries...Hanson reached the 1,800-point plateau for his career in the game to become the seventh player in NFL history to reach that mark.
11/22 18:47:40 ET
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