The Detroit Lions confirmed their first appearance in the National League Finals since 1991 by eliminating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a 31-23 victory on Sunday.
The Lions achieved this feat before the eyes of their fans and are now preparing to face the powerful 49ers in San Francisco next Sunday. This was the first time in their history that they hosted two playoff games in the same season.
They racked up three second-half touchdowns to put themselves in good stead, then Derrick Barnes' first-in-the-NFL interception on Baker Mayfield's last chance of the possession decided the outcome of the game.
Detroit did not welcome the opponent warmly at the beginning of the match. Immediately after falling victim to the first sack by an aggressive quarterback, Baker Mayfield threw a pass into traffic that was deflected by his receiver before ending up in the hands of C.J. Gardner-Johnson for an interception.
The Locals were satisfied with just three points at the end of that sequence after they were nearly intercepted in the end zone. Michael Badgley made the 54-yard field goal.
Chase McLaughlin responded with a 43-yard field goal.
The Lions scored the first touchdown of the game to take a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. In the third on the wicket, Jared Goff joined Josh Reynolds who was completely alone at the back of the box. All of this was the culmination of a long series of 14 matches and 7 minutes.
They then took advantage of a missed field goal from McLaughlin that hit the post to preserve their lead.
The Bucs finally added some spice before they retreated to the locker room tied up. A stunning catch from Mike Evans just a few steps from the goal line brought the team closer to the goal, and then Kid Otton caught the ball for a touchdown, ending the half with an exclamation mark.
Both teams went on three straight down streaks after coming back from the break.
Running back Craig Reynold gave the Lions a 17-10 lead in the third quarter with a big play on fourth down, but Rashad White got both teams back to square one.
It was Jahmyr Gibbs who stood out for Detroit by making a brilliant 31-yard run to sneak into the end zone from the left corner on the edge of the field.
Join Amon-Ra St. Brown also added to the fun of having another flagship in the winning clan.
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