The Lions found themselves trailing to the 0-8 Cleveland Browns in the third quarter after DeShone Kizer led two long touchdown drives to start the second half.
That's when Matt Stafford and the offense woke up.
Stafford threw for just 56 yards and an interception in the first half, but he came back to deliver three touchdown passes and lead the Lions to a seemingly necessary win.
Stafford finished 17-for-26 for 250 yards and three touchdowns.
The Lions defense benefitted from a big hit by Quandre Diggs that knocked Kizer out of the game for a couple of series with a rib injury. Cody Kessler struggled, and by the time Kizer returned, the Lions had a two-touchdown lead with just over four minutes remaining.
Kizer finished with 232 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Cleveland churned out 201 yards on the ground, as Isaiah Crowell (90 yards) and Duke Johnson (54 yards) proved tough to stop.
Golden Tate had seven receptions for 97 yards and a 40-yard touchdown that gave the Lions some insurance in the fourth quarter.
Kizer reenters, Slay shuts the door
DeShone Kizer came back into the game after exiting earlier in the fourth quarter with a rib injury. But it was too little, too late for the Browns.
Kizer led a drive into Lions territory, completing three passes on fourth down to get down to the Lions 5. That's when Darius Slay closed the door with his fourth interception of the year with 1:19 on the clock and the Lions leading 38-24.
Stafford and Tate put this game to bed
On third-and-6, following a Browns offsides penalty, Matt Stafford rose up and hit Golden Tate on a quick pass that went for 40 yards and a touchdown.
With 4:28 remaining, the Lions are in firm control with a 38-24 lead.
After a subpar first half, Stafford now has 250 yards passing and three touchdowns to go with his one interception.
Defense gets a big stop after Browns near-miss
The Lions went three-and-out and were forced to punt the ball back to the Browns, who had DeShone Kizer warming up on the sideline. Cody Kessler remained in the game, and on second down, he overthrew a wide open Bryce Treggs down the sideline. On third-and-5, Anthony Zettel dropped Kessler for a sack and forced a Cleveland punt.
With 5:17 remaining, Jamal Agnew set the Lions up in Cleveland territory with a 29-yard punt return.
Lions greet Kessley rudely
Tavon Wilson dropped Cody Kessler for a sack and a 12-yard loss on first down, and the Lions were able to force a punt from the Browns.
Though it's just a one possession game, the loss of DeShone Kizer to a rib injury can't be understated. Barring a Lions meltdown, the writing appears to be on the wall.
Stafford, Ebron hook up for TD
Matt Stafford dropped a dime into the lap of Eric Ebron for a 29-yard touchdown that puts the Lions up 31-24 with 10:46 remaining in the game.
The pass came on third-and-3 and was the Lions third third down conversion of the drive.
On third-and-2, Matt Stafford found Golden Tate for a first down into Browns territory. The next two plays netted just three yards, but after avoiding the rush on third-and-7, Stafford was able to hit Dwayne Washington in the open field, and the running back was able to work his way to the first down marker at the 36.
Diggs lights up Kizer
Quandre Diggs lit up DeShone Kizer with a big hit to the chest as the quarterback delivered an incompletion on second down. Kizer had trouble getting up, forcing Cleveland to bring in Cody Kessler on third-and-long. Kessler tried to break the pocket and run for a first down, but he was dropped for a sack by Cornelius Washington as the third quarter expired.
Cameras showed Kizer heading to the locker room, and CBS reported that it is a rib injury.
At the start of the fourth, the Lions have the ball back at their own 40. The game is still tied 24-24.
Stafford, Golladay reintroduce themselves to each other
Welcome back, Kenny Golladay.
After Matt Stafford hit Kenny Golladay for a 14-yard gain on the first play of the drive, the quarterback went back to his young receiver who made a tough catch-and-run that went for 50 yards down to the Cleveland 11. Two plays later, the Lions cashed in with a seven-yard strike from Stafford to Theo Riddick that ties the game at 24-24 with 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Cleveland getting it done
The Browns are firing on all cylinders right now, and the Lions are on upset alert after DeShone Kizer cashed in on a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run that puts Cleveland on top, 24-17, with 2:23 remaining in the third quarter.
On third-and-8 from their own 22, DeShone Kizer fled the pocket and reeled off 20 yards for a Browns first down. Duke Johnson kept the Cleveland run game cooking with 14-yard gain into Lions territory. A short completion to Isaiah Crowell gave the Browns a manageable second-and-5, and Crowell took a delayed handoff nine yards down to the 31. A false start penalty helped the defense out, and they were able to stuff Johnson for no gain on first down. On second-and-15, Kizer his Seth DeValve for a 35-yard gain down to the 1.
Stafford and Co. stall at midfield
Marvin Jones hauled in a 22-yard reception out near midfield, but the Lions stalled from there and were forced to punt the ball back to a Browns offense that is currently running on all cylinders.
With 8:24 to play in the third quarter, it's still 17-17.
Browns rush attack knifes through Lions
The Browns ran all over the Lions to start the second half, capping an eight-play, 85-yard drive with an Isaiah Crowell six-yard touchdown that ties the game at 17-17 with 11:01 remaining in the third quarter.
The drive: Crowell notched a 21-yard gain out to the 39. After a short run on first down, Kizer hit Ricardo Louis for a 12-yard gain into Lions territory. Duke Johnson was able to keep churning out yards with back-to-back runs that netted 26 yards down to the Lions 20. Crowell followed that with a 14-yard burst, and on the next play, he went six yards for the score.
Cleveland misses big opportunity before the half
The Browns tried to run the ball into the end zone from the Lions 2 with no timeouts and 19 seconds remaining, but the Lions were able to stuff the quarterback at the line of scrimmage. The clock continued to run and the Browns never got off another play.
That was just a disastrous chain of events for the Browns. That, right there, is why they haven't won a game this season.
At halftime, the Lions lead, 17-10.
Jarrad Davis was called for pass interference, and the Browns got the ball down to the Lions 35 on the next play when DeShone Kizer hit Rashard Higgins for an 18-yard gain. After Duke Johnson ran for nine yards on first down, the Lions were able to stuff him on the next play. Isaiah Crowell was able to pick up the first down with ease. Kizer was dropped for a sack on first down and 1:17 on the clock, but he came back to hit Higgins at the 20. On third-and-six, Kizer put his head down and bulldozed his way down inside the Lions 5.
The Lions offense has been able to churn out 89 yards on the ground against one of the best run defenses in the league, but Matt Stafford has been held to just 57 yards through the air, including an interception he threw into traffic early in the first quarter.
Lawson makes a play for Lions
DeShone Kizer picked up a first down with his feet on a designed quarterback sweep, but after that is when things started to fall apart for the Browns. Kizer was drilled on first down as he threw the ball into the ground, and on the very next play, he completed a pass to Seth DeValve that his tight end fumbled. Nevin Lawson was there to scoop the ball up and return it 44 yards for a Lions touchdown that makes it 17-10 with 3:55 to play in the first half.
Lions passing game stuck in neutral
After the Lions defense forced a three-and-out, the Lions offense was called for a holding penalty that put it behind the chains, and they were forced to punt the ball right back to the Browns. Matt Stafford was sacked for the second time today on third-and-12, and the Browns secondary continues to do a great job sniffing out the routes the Lions wide receivers are running.
Stafford is 6-for-11 for 57 yards and an interception.
With 6:47 remaining in the first half, it's still a 10-10 ballgame.
Abdullah TD ties the game
The Lions have had some success running the ball in the first half, and Ameer Abdullah capped an eight-play, 90-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown that ties the game at 10-10 with 10:25 to play in the first half.
The Lions have racked up 89 yards on the ground, including 43 from Abdullah on just five carries.
Abdullah reeled off a 19-yard run, and Theo Riddick was able to get loose for 10 on the next play. Golden Tate hauled in a pass off his shoelaces and raced down to the red zone with a 35-yard catch-and-run. On third-and-8 from the 17, Stafford put his head down and picked up a first down at the 8 to set up the Abdullah score.
Cleveland penalties stall drive
The Browns rolled the dice near their own 45, running the ball up the middle on fourth-and-short for a first down. Inexplicably, Jim Caldwell wasted a challenge on the spot, which was confirmed quickly. On third down, DeShone Kizer hit Rashard Higgins for a first down in Lions territory. Back-to-back holding penalties on what would have been big plays put the Browns behind the chains, and the Lions were able to force a punt for the first time today.
With the second quarter underway, the Lions still trail, 10-3.
Lions get on the board
The Lions ran the ball well to get into Browns territory, but after the drive stalled, they were forced to settle for a 46-yard field goal from Matt Prater that cuts the Cleveland lead to 10-3 with 6:00 left to play in the first quarter.
Ameer Abdullah got the Lions offense off the snide with a 20-yard pickup on the first play of the drive. Matt Stafford followed that with a 10-yard gallup of his own when the play broke down. Theo Riddick took his turn with a 21-yard gain on the ground, but he was dropped for a loss on the next play. On second down from the 28, Stafford had to throw the ball into the ground as the Browns snuffed out a quick pass play call, and on third down, Stafford couldn't hookup with Kenny Golladay.
The Browns coverage on pass plays has been nothing short of phenomenal in the early going.
Browns waltz into end zone
Duke Johnson set the Browns up with a first down inside the red zone, and on the very next play, DeShone Kizer threw a quick pass to Kenny Britt, who made Nevin Lawson whiff on the outside on his way to the end zone.
The Browns, yes the Browns, lead the currently hapless Lions, 10-0, with 8:39 to play in the first quarter.
Oh, and then there's this, the Lions were called for roughing the passer on the play.
Stafford INT adds to Lions' early struggles
Matt Stafford threw his fifth interception of the season when he tried to fit one into traffic on third-and-5, putting it right in the belly of Jamie Collins and giving the ball back to Cleveland just 31 yards from pay dirt.
Marvin Jones must have heard footsteps as he dropped what would have been a big completion across the middle on first down. On second down, Jones was called for a block in the back, pushing the Lions back 10 yards. Eric Ebron was able to get those 10 yards back on second down, and the Lions were given five more on an offsides penalty on the Browns, but that's when Stafford made the big error.
Browns settle for field goal after big play
Starting at the Lions 48, DeShone Kizer hit Sammie Coats for a 39-yard gain down the sideline to get inside the Lions 10. The Lions defense was able to stiffen from there, stemming the tide of an awesome start to the game by the Browns on both sides of the ball. Zane Gonzael hit a 23-yard field goal to give Cleveland a 3-0 lead with 11:30 remaining in the first quarter.
Lions go backwards
The Lions offense came on the field to start the game. Matt Stafford was buried on the opening play as he was dropped for a sack and a five-yard loss. The second play was much the same, as Ameer Abdullah lost five yards on a deep handoff in the backfield. On third-and-20, a screen to Theo Riddick was dropped for a loss of three yards.
That's not exactly how the Lions wanted to start the day.
LIONS VS. BROWNS
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Where: Ford Field, Detroit
TV / radio: CBS / WJR 760
Records: Lions 4-4, Browns 0-8
Line: Lions by 10