NFL Week 1: Buccaneers Falter, Lose To Lions 27-20

The Bucs' defense gets torched by Matthew Stafford and the Lions, and a last-second comeback attempt runs out of time as Tampa Bay falls to 0-1.

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NFL Week 1: Bucs Knocked Off By Lions, 27-20

Matthew Stafford threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, two to Calvin Johnson, as the Detroit Lions beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-20 on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Although the Bucs showed signs of life in the fourth quarter, Detroit was in control for most of the day, racking up 431 total yards and keeping possession for over 36 minutes.

Despite a dominant first half by the Lions, the Bucs trailed just 20-13 at the start of the third quarter and received the second-half kickoff. But they were no closer to solving the Lions than they had been earlier in the game. After another three and out, Detroit drove 70 yards in 11 plays, taking six and a half minutes off the clock and finishing the drive with a fantastic 1-yard TD catch by Johnson. Even with Aqib Talib pushing him out of bounds and trying to knock the ball loose, Johnson got both feet in and kept possession all the way to the ground to give the Lions a 27-13 lead.

After picking up zero first downs in the third quarter, the Bucs finally got some offensive rhythm in the final period. Josh Freeman returned after briefly coming out of the game with leg cramps and drove Tampa Bay to the Lions’ 8-yard line. But needing two touchdowns, the Bucs had to go for it on a 4th and 1, and Earnest Graham was stopped short of the first down. Following a Detroit punt, the Bucs went 59 yards in 11 plays and pulled within 27-20 on a terrific catch by Mike Williams, who tapped his toes just inside the end line on a fourth-down pass.

The Bucs had taken too long to score, though, and with only 1:35 to play they were forced into an onside kick that Johnson recovered for the Lions. Although Gosder Cherilus's brain-dead personal foul penalty bought Tampa Bay an extra 40 seconds, they only reached the Lions’ 42-yard line on their last possession before trying a last-second lateral drill that never had a chance.

Tampa Bay has now lost five of its last six season openers, and will head north next Sunday to face the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field.

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Buccaneers Vs. Lions Preview: Bucs Hope To Ride Josh Freeman To Victory

Matchup: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Game Time: 7:00 pm EST
Coverage: FOX (if you live close, there’s a local blackout), WDAE (Bucs), WXYT (Lions)
Staff Prediction: 24-13, Tampa

Over the course of this week, our staff writers have written multiple previews of today’s game. You can find both our game previews here and here, along with a look at the fantasy impact of today’s game. Here’s a brief snippet from one:

Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman and his offense failed to show any rhythm or timing during the preseason and may have a tough time finding themselves against a young potent defense that has only improved since last years matchup. The truncated nature of training camp appears to have hampered Freeman’s development and the Buccaneers may have to find a spark quickly if they hope to hang with an emerging Lions squad. Let us not forget, that Freeman missed almost the entire preseason last year with a thumb injury and it did not slow him down as the Bucs jumped out to a 2-0 start on the backs of come-from-behind victories engineered by Number 5.

For a game recap and analysis, follow along with SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter.

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Lions At Buccaneers: Tampa Bay Begins 2011 Season In Relatively Good Shape Injury-Wise

We're a little over 36 hours from the start of the 2011 NFL season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Fresh off a surprising 10-6 season in 2010, Raheem Morris and his young Buccaneers have their sights set on taking the next step forward in 2011, which of course means contending for a coveted and elusive playoff berth. There's plenty of reasons to be hopeful about the Bucs' chances this year, but an important one that we all hope holds true is the limited number of injuries sustained so far this offseason and preseason. That can change from week to week, but heading into Week 1, Tampa Bay's roster is relatively intact and healthy. 

Let's take a quick look at the Friday end-of-week practice and injury reports for both the Buccaneers and their Week 1 opponent, the Detroit Lions

 

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Status Report

OUT

CB Myron Lewis (ankle)

QUESTIONABLE

LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring)

PROBABLE

C Ted Larsen (ankle)

Practice Report

DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE

Wednesday

CB Myron Lewis (ankle)

Thursday

CB Myron Lewis (ankle), TE Kellen Winslow (not injury related)

Friday

CB Myron Lewis (ankle)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

Wednesday

LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring)

Thursday

LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring)

Friday

LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

Wednesday

C Ted Larsen (ankle)

Thursday

C Ted Larsen (ankle)

Friday

C Ted Larsen (ankle)

DETROIT LIONS

Status Report

OUT

DT Nick Fairley (foot), T Jason Fox (foot), CB Alphonso Smith (foot)

PROBABLE

DT Andre Fluellen (hand), RB Maurice Morris (hand)

Practice Report

DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE

Wednesday

DT Nick Fairley (foot), T Jason Fox (foot), DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (not injury related)

Thursday

DT Nick Fairley (foot), T Jason Fox (foot)

Friday

DT Nick Fairley (foot), T Jason Fox (foot)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

Wednesday

CB Alphonso Smith (foot)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

Wednesday

DT Andre Fluellen (hand), RB Maurice Morris (hand)

Thursday

DT Andre Fluellen (hand), RB Maurice Morris (hand), CB Alphonso Smith (foot)

Friday

DT Andre Fluellen (hand), RB Maurice Morris (hand), CB Alphonso Smith (foot)

For more Bucs coverage leading up to Sunday afternoon's game, visit Bucs Nation. 

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