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Big-play Riddick stars in 4th quarter for Lions

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Theo Riddick picks up a first down late in the fourth quarter.

Detroit -- Theo Riddick downplays his talents, particularly his ability to pick up extra yardage with his feet.

"Hey, I'm in the NFL," he said. "If I can't make a guy miss, then I shouldn't be on this team."

Riddick made several guys miss in picking up 86 all-purpose yards in the Lions' 18-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at Ford Field.

Riddick caught five passes for 72 yards and rushed six times for 14 yards, much of that performance coming in a pivotal fourth quarter, which began with Detroit down, 13-9.

The play of the game, in fact, came early in that fourth quarter, when, on third down, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford seemed to be heading down to a sack. But just as he was going down, he found Riddick up the middle and shoveled a pass to him.

Riddick took it for 16 yards and a huge first down in a drive that ended with a Lions touchdown and a 16-13 lead.

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"I wasn't," said Riddick, 24, when asked if he was expecting that pass. "I like to call Matt 'sweet feet' because somehow, someway, he gets open, he eludes a lot of defensive players, and, hey, that extended a little more time for me on my route and fortunately I got open.

"I kind of lost sight of him and he popped up, and the ball just happened to come to me and I was like, 'Let's go.'"

The next play, Riddick ripped off a 5-yard rush.

Two plays after that, he caught an 8-yard pass.

Two plays after that, the Lions were in the end zone.

"I've been looking forward to seeing Theo since he's been here," Calvin Johnson said. "I could tell he was a big-time playmaker just from watching him in practice, and the guy, every time we need him, every time we're in a no-huddle, two-minute situation, he comes up making big plays."

On the Lions' last drive, which began with more than seven minutes on the clock, Stafford went to Riddick again -- first for 21 yards, and two plays later for 11 more.

The last drive was so effective it ate up the rest of the game clock, with the Lions' in victory formation on the brink of the goal line.

Sixty-six of Riddick's yards came in the fourth quarter.

"He makes good reads out there and on that final drive, picking up that first down, that's an athlete being an athlete," guard Laken Tomlinson said. "All we can do is block for him and open up those holes for him, and he's going to take care of the rest."

The 72 receiving yards were the most for Riddick this season, and the most he's had since he had 74 last October against the San Diego Chargers.

He's proving a nice option for the Lions, when Johnson is covered -- which is often.

Not bad for the 199th pick of the 2013 draft, out of Notre Dame.

"I'm just ready," said Riddick, "when my number gets called."

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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