published Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Titans get 1st win, beating Lions 44-41 in OT

Tennessee Titans tight end Jared Cook (89) catches a touchdown pass as he is defended by Detroit Lions strong safety Erik Coleman (24) in the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, in Nashville.
Tennessee Titans tight end Jared Cook (89) catches a touchdown pass as he is defended by Detroit Lions strong safety Erik Coleman (24) in the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, in Nashville.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — Rob Bironas kicked a 26-yard field goal in overtime, and the Titans stopped backup quarterback Shaun Hill on fourth-and-1 at the Tennessee 7 to finally pull out a 44-41 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

The Titans (1-2) blew a 20-9 halftime lead in a crazy game featuring big plays, scoring swings and some suspect officiating. Detroit scored 18 straight points, then Tennessee answered with 21 points before the Lions scored the final 14 of regulation — including the tying touchdown on a tipped desperation pass.

Detroit also recovered an onside kick and got an assist from officials who did not review a possible turnover.

A total of 46 points came in the fourth period, then in overtime, Bironas’ third field goal put Tennessee ahead to stay after a drive that got its own boost from the replacement officials.

They announced a replay review had overturned their ruling of a catch on the field by Tennessee tight end Craig Stevens, with the ball hitting the ground as he rolled after being hit helmet to helmet by Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch.

After spending several minutes discussing where to place the ball, they put it down at the Lions 29, giving the Titans 27 yards. The penalty apparently was marched off from the Detroit 44 instead of the Tennessee 44, where the play started.

The Lions (1-2) lost their second straight when coach Jim Schwartz decided not to let Jason Hanson kick his fifth field goal. Hill, in for injured Matthew Stafford, was stopped by defensive tackles Jurrell Casey and Sen’Derrick Marks on his sneak, and Tennessee escaped, celebrating wildly even as an official stood over the ball before a replay review was announced.

Players from both teams met in the middle of the field talking and shaking hands before an official finally announced the game was over.

The game featured six plays of 46 yards or longer, with the Titans having five of those — all 61 or longer. The Titans even had three of those 71 yards or longer.

Hill’s 46-yard TD pass to Titus Young at the end of regulation tied the game only after some more confusing officiating.

After Hill tossed a 3-yard TD pass to Calvin Johnson with 18 seconds left, Amari Spievey recovered Detroit’s onside kick. Hill threw a short pass to the sideline to Nate Burleson who took at least a step before losing the ball when hit by Titans cornerback Jason McCourty.

An official threw down his bean bag, indicating a change of possession. Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner picked up the ball and started to run to the end zone before another official ran up and called it incomplete.

Because it was in the final 2 minutes, a review is left up to the officials and coaches cannot challenge. No replay review was done.

Darius Reynaud set a Tennessee record returning a kickoff 105 yards to tie it at 27. Akeem Ayers then sacked Stafford, forcing the Lions to punt, and Locker found Nate Washington, who plucked the ball from behind cornerback Jacob Lacey’s back and ran 71 yards for the go-ahead TD with 3:11 left.

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