Matt Stafford, Lions cough up 12-point lead, stunned by Titans

DETROIT - There were no Matthew Stafford heroics this time, just broken hearts and bewilderment as the Detroit Lions lost their home opener to the Tennessee Titans, 16-15.

The Lions blew a double-digit second half lead for the second straight week, but this time couldn’t rally back for the victory as Stafford threw his first interception of the season with 22 seconds to play.

Marcus Mariota led the Titans on the go-ahead 13-play, 83-yard drive that covered nearly six minutes late in the fourth quarter.

Mariota threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson over linebacker Tahir Whitehead with 1:13 to play to give the Titans their first and only lead of the game.

The Lions, who lost four starters to injury in the game, converted a third-and-18 on their final drive, but Stafford whipped a sidearm interception into Perrish Cox’s arms on his final play.

Stafford, who led the Lions on a late field goal drive in last week’s come-from-behind win over the Indianapolis Colts, completed 22 of 40 passes for 260 yards on Sunday.

The Lions (1-1) lost starters Ziggy Ansah, Ameer Abdullah, Kyle Van Noy and Antwione Williams, who was filling in for an injured DeAndre Levy, to injuries on Sunday.

They have big NFC North games on the road the next two weeks against the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

The Lions opened the scoring Sunday on a safety by Devin Taylor midway through the first quarter and got their only touchdown on the ensuing drive when Stafford hit Anquan Boldin from 24 yards away.

Stafford scrambled to his left on the play and threw behind the covered receiver for Boldin’s first touchdown as a Lion.

The Lions had two touchdowns called back by penalties on the same drive late in the first half. Eric Ebron was called for offensive pass interference to nullify a 1-yard touchdown catch, and Lake Tomlinson was called for holding on the next play to wipe out Boldin’s second touchdown of the game.

The Lions settled for a 42-yard Matt Prater field goal on that drive, and got another Prater field goal from 27 yards away in the third quarter to take a 15-3 lead.

Tennessee (1-1) scored its first touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter, when Delanie Walker beat Nevin Lawson down the seam for a 30-yard gain.

The Lions failed to move the ball on either of their first two first-quarter drives, and the Titans started their go-ahead drive from the 17-yard line with 7:04 on the clock.

The Titans, who started five of their nine drives inside their own 10-yard line and two more inside their 20 on Sunday, converted two third downs on the decisive drive.

Marvin Jones had eight catches for 118 yards for the Lions, his first 100-yard receiving day since 2013 and the third of career.

The Lions were called for 17 penalties for 138 yards.


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