By Dave Hart
Lions 39, Colts 35 – Matt Prater’s game-winning 43-yard field goal with four seconds left in regulation propelled the Lions to a win over the Indianapolis Colts in their season opener on Sunday evening.
The Lions were paced by quarterback Matthew Stafford who passed for 340 yards on 31-for-39 passing and three touchdowns.
Lions’ linebacker Tahir Whitehead led Detroit’s defense with six tackles while Kerry Hyder contributed with two sacks.
Detroit jumped out to a 14-0 led on a 21-yard touchdown catch by Riddick from Stafford in the first quarter and a 1-yard run by rookie running back Dwayne Washington in the second.
The Colts cut their deficit to 14-3 on a field goal before the Lions scored on a 6-yard catch by Ebron to Stafford late in the second quarter to take a 21-3 advantage.
Indianapolis closed out the first half with a touchdown, Detroit led 21-10 at the half.
The Colts continued their run, scoring on a 19-yard pass from Luck to Dwayne Allen. A two-point conversion cut the Lions lead to 21-18 with 8:41 left in the third quarter.
The Lions responded late in the third on 11-yard catch by Abdullah from Stafford to take a 28-18 lead.
Indianapolis opened the fourth quarter with 10 unanswered points to tie the game 28-28 with 8:19 left in the game.
Detroit regained its lead on a 13-yard connection from Stafford to Riddick, but a failed extra point by Prater gave the Lions a six-point lead with four minutes left.
The Colts took advantage of the mishap by taking a one point lead with 37 seconds left, but the Lions drove 50 yards in five plays to set up Prater’s game-winning field goal.
The Lions added a safety on an illegal forward pass in the end zone by the Colts as time expired.
Tied for 1st Place in NFC North Division
Magic # to clinch an NFC North Division title: 16
Next Game: 09/18/2016 vs Tennessee Titans 1:00 p.m. @ Ford Field
Stats: Passing-Matthew Stafford 31/39 340 Yds 3 Tds 0 Int. Rushing-Ameer Abdullah 12 Att 63 Yds. Receiving-Marvin Jones Jr. 4 Rec 85 Yds, Theo Riddick 5 Rec 63 Yds 1 TD, Ameer Abdullah 5 Rec 57 Yds 1 TD, Eric Ebron 5 Rec 46 Yds 1 TD. Defense-Tahir Whitehead 6 Tackles, Kerry Hyder 2 Sacks. Kicking-Matt Prater 1/1 FG (43 Yds) 4/5 XP.
Orioles 3, Tigers 1 – The Baltimore Orioles put a little distance between them and the Tigers in the wild card race after completing a series victory over Detroit on Sunday afternoon.
The Orioles pounded Detroit on Saturday night, scoring three runs in the first, second and sixth inning each.
On Sunday, Baltimore opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the third inning by Michael Bourn.
Jonathan Schoop added to the Orioles led with a solo homer in the fourth to give Baltimore a 3-0 advantage.
The Tigers responded with their lone run of the game on an RBI single by Ian Kinsler in the fifth inning to cut Detroit’s deficit to 3-1.
Baltimore was paced by Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy with two hits each, while starting pitcher Chris Tillman handcuffed the Tigers allowing one run on four hits in six innings.
Detroit’s starting pitcher Justin Verlander took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out seven batters in five innings.
The Tigers are now 76-66 on the season, good for second place in the American League Central Division behind the Cleveland Indians. They are now two games out of the wild card race with 20 games to go.
Detroit will open a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins at home starting on Monday night.
2nd Place in AL Central Division (7 games behind first-place Cleveland)
2 games behind Baltimore and Toronto for the last playoff spot
Magic # to clinch a playoff spot: 23
Magic # to clinch an AL Central Division title: 28
Next Game: 09/12/2016 vs Minnesota Twins 7:10 p.m. @ Comerica Park
Hitting stats: Ian Kinsler RBI (73), Cameron Maybin 2B (10), Erick Aybar 2B (18).
Pitching stats: Justin Verlander L (14-8) 5 IP 7 H 3 R 3 ER 2 BB 7 K.