Recap: Lions comeback bid falters late against Eagles

Sean Reider
The Detroit News

If nothing else, it was a nail-biter in the end. 

After struggling with third downs on both sides of the ball all game, the Lions slowly, but surely, turned the tide. They cobbled together key stops and scored 14 unanswered points to trail by only three late in the fourth quarter -- after losing by as much as 17 in the third. 

Better yet, Detroit played an inspired brand of football in the second half, the type that the first sellout crowd at Ford Field since 2019 was looking for. 

But the Eagles stuck to their guns. Quarterback Jalen Hurts delivered on a critical 4th and 1, sealing the deal on a quarterback sneak with just over a minute left. That same sold out crowd quieted as the clock ticked down. 

And the Lions fell 38-35 to the Eagles in their season opener. 

Final: Eagles 38, Lions 35

Q4 1:09: Eagles convert 4th and 1 on Hurts' quarterback sneak. That'll do it for today's game. 

Q4 1:50: Facing another 3rd and 1 after burning their final two timeouts, the Lions stop Boston Scott one yard short of the line of scrimmage. Eagles elect to go for it. 

Q4 2:21: Big 3rd and 1 for the Eagles and they convert after Miles Sanders bounces around the pack for a 24-yard run. Philadelphia in excellent position to keep running the clock down. 

Q4 3:51: Eagles get the ball back on their own 14-yard line. 

Chark notches first touchdown in Detroit 

Q4 3:55: Goff finds D.J. Chark pressed up against the sideline on 3rd and 2 for a 22-yard gain and Lions touchdown. 38-25 Detroit after scoring 14 unanswered. 

Q4 4:48: After converting on 3rd and 4 and 3rd and 6 this drive, Goff fires one at T.J. Hockenson over the middle and it's incomplete...but C.J. Gardner-Johnson is called for defensive pass interference so it's a first down for the Lions. Detroit firmly in Philadelphia's territory with time winding down. 

Q4 5:32: Another big third down? No problem for Goff after finding D'Andre Swift for a 7-yard gain just past the sticks. 

Q4 7:08: Goff finds D.J. Chark for a 13-yard gain on 3rd and 4 to keep the Lions rolling. 

Q4 9:09: Penalties (ineligible receiver down the field for Philadelphia, pass interference called on Jeff Okudah) offset and a replay of 3rd and 10 results in Hurts getting dragged down just past the line of scrimmage. So, Detroit forces a critical three-and-out and they get the ball back at their own 38.  

Q4 11:30: Josh Reynolds fails to haul in a Goff pass on second down, Goff is sacked on third down and Jack Fox booms another punt to the Eagles 17-yard line. Philadelphia taking back over and the Lions defense is tasked with cobbling together another stop. 

Q4 12:37: D'Andre Swift kicks off the Lions drive from the 20 with an 18-yard run up the middle to put him over 100 yards on the day. 

Q4 12:57: Eagles got a quick first down off another completion from Hurts to A.J. Brown but a delay of game call pushed them back to 2nd and 11. Lions defense followed up by corralling Hurts on second down before Austin Bryant swatted another quick pass to force a punt and get the Lions off the field. Big stop at the right time for Detroit. 

Q4 14:16: Eagles offense back on the field at Detroit's 35-yard line. 

Swift sets up Williams for score 

Q4 14:50: Short pass to the outside from Goff to D'Andre Swift for a 25-yard gain all the way to the Eagles one-yard line and Jamaal Williams punches it in for a touchdown on the ensuing play. Dynamic, hard-nosed performance from the Lions' two key backs to make it 38-28 at the start of the fourth after Seibert's PAT is good. 

Q3 0:21: T.J. Hockenson's catch for 11-yards is confirmed after a review. Lions holding strong with a fresh set of downs on Philadelphia's 26-yard line. 

Q3 1:09: 29-yard completion from Goff to Amon-Ra St. Brown after the Lions took back over. 

Scott makes it 38-21 late in third quarter

Q3 2:16: First, a 22-yard gain after Hurts flung a short pass to a steaming Goedert. Then, a one-yard touchdown rush for Boston Scott, the fourth Eagles running back to score today. 38-21 Eagles as the Lions opener reaches a tipping point. 

Q3 2:37: Getting chippy here. Two personal fouls called on Tracy Walker III after Hurts slipped around the edge to convert on 3rd and 5, Walker hit him late and he then threw a punch after Dallas Goedert and Zach Pascal stepped up to defend their quarterback. Walker has been ejected from today's game and the Eagles got a big boost from the ensuing penalty yardage. 

Q3 4:09: Detroit opts for the onside kick, only for Philadelphia's Zach McPherson to recover it just past midfield. 

Amon-Ra St. Brown hauls in first touchdown of season 

Q3 4:14: At Philadelphia's four-yard line, Jared Goff finds Amon-Ra St. Brown splitting inside for a short pass and he falls into the endzone after the catch for a touchdown to cap off a 14-play scoring drive. 31-21 Eagles after Goff's first passing touchdown of the season. 

Q3 5:51: Pocket collapses on 3rd and 7 but Goff shows off the wheels and scrambles ahead for a 10-yard gain. 

Q3 7:18: Goff floats a short pass to T.J. Hockenson, who rumbles ahead for a 16-yard gain. Lions are in business at the Eagles 23-yard line. 

Q3 7:49: Neutral zone infraction sets up 3rd and 3 for the Lions, which they convert with a pass to D.J. Chark for a 13-yard gain. 

Q3 9:04: D'Andre Swift snaps off a 16-yard run on 3rd and 10 to keep the Lions drive alive after getting bottled up by the Eagles defense on the previous two plays. 

Gainwell grows Eagles lead with two-yard touchdown rush 

Q3 10:21: Kenny Gainwell charges in for a touchdown from two yards out. Make that a 31-14 lead for Philadelphia not even five minutes into the third quarter after Jake Elliott's PAT sails clean through the uprights. 

Q3 11:33: Miles Sanders rips a 24-yard run for another first and it's compounded by linebacker Alex Anzalone getting called for unnecessary roughness (15 yards). Eagles now at the Lions 14-yard line after gaining 39 yards in a matter of seconds. 

Q3 11:55: Hurts finds Zach Pascal to convert a 3rd and 2 situation with a quick pass for seven yards. Lions promptly call an early timeout after the fact. 

Q3 13:22: Another quarter, another successful Hurts-Brown connection, this one for 10 yards and a first down on 3rd and 7. Eagles a highly efficient 7/11 on third down today.

Q3 15:00: Eagles set to start the second half on their own 18-yard line. 

First half stats: 

Jared Goff: 7/15 passing, 53 yards, one interception 

D'Andre Swift: 8 carries, 97 yards, one touchdown 

Jamaal Williams: 7 carries, 21 yards, one touchdown 

Halftime: Eagles 24, Lions 14 

Q2: Detroit takes a knee to close the half trailing Philadelphia 24-14. 

Q2 0:14: Isaiah Buggs bats Hurts' pass away on 3rd and goal and the Eagles elect to not go for it on fourth down for the first time all season. Jake Elliott finishes off Philadelphia's last minute drive with a 23-yard drive to put them up 24-14 as the first half winds to a close. 

Q2 0:44: After Tracy Walker III's sack and Aidan Hutchison's near-sack, Hurts scrambled for 10 yards to set up a 3rd and 4. Then, the Eagles offensive line stood tall under Detroit's pass rush and Hurts made the most of it, lofting a deep ball to Brown for a 54-yard gain to put Philadelphia four yards away from another touchdown. Timeout, Detroit. 

Swift converts 4th and 1, inches Lions closer with touchdown 

Q2 1:55: Lions decide to gamble on 4th and 1 and D'Andre Swift rewards them, ripping around the edge into the endzone untouched to put the Lions within seven. 21-14 Eagles. 

Q2 2:00: On the seven-yard line, Jamaal Williams takes the handoff and barrels ahead into a mass of Eagles linemen for no gain. So, the Lions are faced with a crucial decision on 4th and 1 heading into the two-minute warning.  

Q2 3:59: Goff hits Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 13-yard gain and another first to put the Lions on Philadelphia's 16-yard line. 

Q2 5:13: Goff finds Josh Reynolds downfield on 3rd and 4 for a 28-yard gain. Big response for the Lions after the offense fizzled following its opening drive. 

Bradberry notches pick-six 

Q2 6:26: Facing 2nd and 16, Jared Goff uncorks a short pass to Hockenson...only for Kyzir White to tip into the hands of James Bradberry for an interception. Bradberry promptly streaked up the right side of the field for six and it's 21-7 Eagles as the Lions start to crumble. 

Sanders put Eagles ahead with 1-yard touchdown rush 

Q2 7:35: A Lions penalty (12 men on the field) backs Detroit up to their own six-yard line and Hurts follows up with a keeper to the outside for five yards. Miles Sanders finishes the job on a one-yard touchdown rush up the middle and the Lions trail 14-7 midway through the second quarter. 

Q2 8:09: Hurts finds Dallas Goedert on a fake and he makes the most of it for a 27-yard gain. It's first and goal as the Lions defense looks to dig deep for a stop against a surging Philadelphia offense. 

Q2 9:08: Two quick first downs for the Eagles after another strike to Brown for 12 yards and a 13-yard rush from Sanders to put them within field goal range. 

Q2 9:52: Three straight three-and-outs for the Lions after the Eagles lock up intended target Amon-Ra St. Brown on 3rd and 10. Philadelphia taking over at their own 32 as the Lions defense looks to hold the line. 

Q2 10:17: Eagles driving with relative ease, completing a pass to Dallas Goedert for a first and a subsequent nine-yard run from Myles Sanders to set up 3rd and 1. However, an ill-timed penalty (too many men in the huddle) gives the Lions defense a much-needed boost and Tracy Walker steps up to finish the job, corralling Hurts in the backfield and forcing a punt. Lions taking over at their own 22. 

Q2 11:50: Make that two straight quick three-and-outs for the Lions offense after Jared Goff and D.J. Chark fail to connect on 3rd and 7. Eagles taking back over at their 29-yard line. 

Hurts finds footing, leads tying drive 

Q2 12:56: Fourth and goal for the Eagles and they elect to go for it once again. The result this time? A casual one-yard touchdown run around the edge for Hurts. It's all tied at 7 in Detroit after Jake Elliott's made extra point. 

 Q2 15:00: Another 3rd and 5 to start the second quarter and Hurts hits Brown for a short pass over the middle. Brown takes it all the way to the five-yard line for another first and the Eagles are at the doorstep. 

End of 1st quarter: Lions 7, Eagles 0

Q1 2:39: Facing 3rd and 5, Hurts looks downfield, finds nobody and scrambles for 10 yards to convert. Then, Brown goes low to scoop another quick pass on the left side of the field from Hurts for another first to creep into field goal territory. 

Q1 5:00: After starting 0/5 passing, Hurts completes two straight to A.J. Brown, one for 10 yards and the second for 18. First down, Eagles. 

Q1 5:58: Eagles defense, especially their pass rush, steps up to force a quick three-and-out after the Lions looked especially dominant in their first drive. Eagles taking back over at their own 18-yard line. 

Q1 7:10: Eagles elect to go for it on 4th and 5 but Amani Oruwariye is on top of Hurts' pass to A.J. Brown beyond the sticks. Turnover on downs and the Lions take over at their own 41. 

Q1 8:42: After Jalen Hurts rushed for a first down with an 11-yard keeper, Detroit brought the heat at the line of scrimmage to force two frantic incompletions and a false start. Hurts is Hurts though, so it's no surprise he got loose for a 16-yard run to convert a daunting 3rd and 16. 

Lions run to early lead

Q1 10:18: Jamaal Williams gets his second straight handoff, bounces off a pile and runs right into the endzone for six. Austin Seibert's extra point is good and it's 7-0 Lions after a dazzling nine play first drive to open the season from the offensive line and running backs. 

Q1 12:18: Back-to-back false starts from offensive lineman Logan Stenberg as the Lions look to convert a 2nd and 20 situation after starting the drive strong. 

Q1 14:16: On the second play of the game, D'Andre Swift rips a 51-yard run up the left side of the field. First down, Lions. 

Pregame

Take a bow, Lions fans. You made it -- it's finally gameday. 

This Sunday, the Detroit Lions kick off the 2022 season against the Eagles in front of the first standing-room-only crowd at Ford Field since 2019. After two first-round picks, some key free-agent additions and a memorable showing on Hard Knocks, there’s hope surrounding the team that hasn’t been seen in years and it’s translated to what’s sure to be a raucous environment in Detroit. 

Second-year head coach Dan Campbell is responsible for much of that optimism, endearing himself to football fans across the country through his sink-or-swim oration or by doing up-downs with the team on a bad wrist. Along with quarterback Jared Goff, running back D’Andre Swift and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, he’s one of the central returning characters for a team vying to take the next step forward.

Then there’s the new faces. No. 2 overall pick defensive end Aidan Hutchison and rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez look to play pivotal roles from the get-go on a defense looking to bounce back from finishing one spot removed from the worst in the league in 2021. In addition, new wide receiver DJ Chark provides a crucial vertical threat for Goff on an offense that flashed a curious potential in the preseason. 

More: Wojo: All eyes on opener, time for Lions to grit and bear it

More: Lions' Frank Ragnow active for season opener vs. Eagles

For their part, the Eagles are coming off a playoff appearance in Nick Sirianni’s first year at the helm after going 7-3 down the stretch — starting with a 44-6 demolition of the Lions on Halloween. There's a certain hope there, too, resting squarely with quarterback Jalen Hurts heading into a season that could determine his run in Philadelphia. 

And on Sunday, it all comes together — in front of a sellout crowd, with the weight of expectations on both sidelines.

Follow along here for live updates from Detroit News contributor Sean Reider.

Eagles at Lions

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday, Ford Field, Detroit

TV/radio: Fox/97.1

Line: Eagles by 3½

Records: Season opener for both teams

2021 records: Eagles 9-8; Lions 3-13-1

Series: Eagles lead 17-16-2 (last meeting, Eagles 44-6, Oct. 31, 2021).