Buccaneers 38

(8-3, 3-3 away)

Lions 20

(0-11, 0-5 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 23, 2008

Ford Field, Detroit, MI 

1 2 3 4 T
TB 0 21 14 338
DET 17 0 3 020

Top Performers

Passing: J. Garcia (TB) - 165 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: W. Dunn (TB) - 14 CAR, 90 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: C. Johnson (DET) - 3 REC, 66 YDS, 1 TD

Lions fall to 0-11 after Bucs rally from 17 down for win

Associated Press

DETROIT -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are getting pretty good at rallying against bad teams after digging big holes.

Tampa Bay fell behind the winless Detroit Lions by 17 points, then scored five unanswered touchdowns en route to a 38-20 victory Sunday.

Fast Facts

• The Lions' 0-11 record is tied for the second-worst start in team history.

• Detroit lost despite building their largest lead of the season at 17-0.

• The Bucs improved to 8-3, which is just one victory shy of their 2007 win total.

-- ESPN research and The Associated Press

• Rapid Reaction

The Buccaneers came back from a 24-3 deficit two weeks ago against the lowly Kansas City Chiefs and won in overtime.

"We don't seem to make it easy on ourself and it's not always pretty," Jeff Garcia said. "But we find ways to do it."

Tampa Bay (8-3) earned its third straight victory to maintain its strong standing in the playoff race.

Detroit (0-11) moved a step closer toward becoming the NFL's first 0-16 team.

"We've played so bad that we actually have something to play for now," kicker Jason Hanson said.

The Bucs trailed the Lions 17-0 after the first quarter before all three phases scored to contribute to a rout.

"That's worst than frustrating," Hanson said. "It's embarrassing."

Warrick Dunn ran for a touchdown and Garcia connected with Ike Hilliard and Jerramy Stevens for scores in the second quarter to put the Bucs ahead 21-17.

Rookie Clifton Smith returned a punt 70 yards early in the third to give them an 11-point cushion.

Garcia's second fumble of the game gave Detroit the ball in Tampa Bay territory, but Ronde Barber stepped in front of Daunte Culpepper's next pass and returned it 65 yards for a 35-17 lead and his seventh career score off an interception.

Hilliard failed to handle the ensuing punt and Detroit gained just 4 yards, settling for Hanson's second field goal of the game and the 400th of his career.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Detroit Lions Video

Watch highlights from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-20 win over the Detroit Lions.

Tampa Bay tried to give the Lions the ball back quickly, but Cory Redding was called for a late hit on third down to keep a drive alive that ended with Matt Bryant's 48-yard field goal to end the scoring.

"We've proved that we can be a gritty team," Barber said. "We proved that we can show a lot of character and come back when we're down, especially on the road."

Dunn -- starting in place of the injured Earnest Graham -- accounted for 127 yards of offense and his 13-yard run started Tampa Bay's comeback in the second quarter.

Carnell "Cadillac" Williams had 27 yards rushing on 16 carries in his first game since a knee injury almost ended his career 14 months ago.

Garcia was 13-of-18 for 165 yards with two TDs, no interceptions and two fumbles.

Culpepper completed just eight of 20 passes for 121 yards, a score and two interceptions -- both to Barber. The lackluster quarterback was benched in the third quarter.

"Do I agree with it? No, but I accept it fully," Culpepper said.

Culpepper had to go back in the game because Drew Stanton was sidelined with a concussion.

Detroit's Kevin Smith ran for 86 yards and Calvin Johnson had 66 yards receiving and a TD, which sparked a strong start.

Daniel Bullocks scooped up Garcia's first fumble and returned it 44 yards for a score and Hanson kicked a field goal to give the Lions a 17-0 lead -- their largest of the season -- late in the first quarter.

The lowly Lions, though, fell apart in every way.

"No one is quitting, but we don't know how to win," defensive tackle Shaun Cody said.

Detroit coach Rod Marinelli -- who is 10-33 overall and 1-18 since midway through last season -- insisted he hasn't approached a breaking point heading into a Thanksgiving matchup with the Tennessee Titans (10-1).

"I cannot have any doubts. I can't flinch," Marinelli said. "I owe these men every once of energy I have. I'm getting up and going to work enthusiastically."

In the final month of the season, the Lions are schedule to host Minnesota and New Orleans and travel to Indianapolis and Green Bay.

Game notes

Tampa Bay's Jimmy Wilkerson had two sacks, matching his previous total this season and doubling the sack total from his first five seasons. ... Garcia has lost two fumbles twice in his career and both times it was at Detroit. ... DE Jared DeVries (hand) and LBs Ernie Sims (ankle) were among the Lions injured in the game. ... Clifton Smith, who was cut during training camp and activated in October from the practice squad, is the first Buc with a kickoff and punt return for TDs. "The return game was almost laughed at here for years," coach Jon Gruden said. "We weren't able to take a kick back, and this guy comes out of nowhere and is taking a punt and a kickoff back. He has breakaway speed and he has really made a big impact here in a couple big wins."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Tampa Bay
1st Downs159
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Yards252207
Yards per play4.54.0
Total Drives00
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

TD06:07Calvin Johnson 15 Yd Pass From Daunte Culpepper (Jason Hanson Kick) 07
TD04:40Daniel Bullocks 44 Yd Fumble Return (Jason Hanson Kick) 014
FG00:11Jason Hanson 38 Yd 017
TD11:19Warrick Dunn 13 Yd Run (Matt Bryant Kick) 717
TD04:40Ike Hilliard 36 Yd Pass From Jeff Garcia (Matt Bryant Kick) 1417
TD03:00Jerramy Stevens 24 Yd Pass From Jeff Garcia (Matt Bryant Kick) 2117
TD11:31Clifton Smith 70 Yd Punt Return (Matt Bryant Kick) 2817
TD09:01Ronde Barber 65 Yd Interception Return (Matt Bryant Kick) 3517
FG02:43Jason Hanson 40 Yd 3520
FG12:48Matt Bryant 48 Yd 3820