The Detroit Lions (3-3) finally won on the road. The Miami Dolphins (4-3) lost their first game at home. The Lions beat the Fins, 32-21, in Miami.
In a game where the temperatures were hovering around 90 degrees all day, the team from the Motor City didn’t let that faze them. They outplayed the team used to playing in the heat and came away victorious to get back to .500.
The Lions had control of this game from the start and never trailed. They outgained the Dolphins, 457-322, in total yards and had possession of the ball for over seven more minutes.
The scoring began in the first quarter when Matthew Stafford found little used tight end Michael Roberts for a 15 yard touchdown to lead 7-0. That was the only score for either team in the opening quarter.
Roberts, who missed the previous three games due to injuries, came into this game with only one catch on the season. That was also a 15 yard touchdown, but against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2. He led the Lions with three catches for 48 yards and 2 TDs in this one. He also caught a four-yard pass for a score in the third quarter to give the Lions a 26-14 lead.
The emergence of Roberts helped out Stafford, who went 18-22 for 217 yards and two touchdowns, on a day when his leading receivers had off days. Wide receivers Kenny Golladay, Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. had a combined 102 yards on nine receptions.
The Lions also relied heavily on their ground game. Rookie Kerryon Johnson had the best game of his young career with 158 yards on 19 carries for an impressive 8.3 yards per carry. LeGarrette Blount had a two-yard score in the second quarter to increase the lead to 17-7. He had 50 yards total on ten carries.
Detroit as a team had 248 yards rushing and averaged 7.1 yards every time they ran the ball.
As for the Dolphins, their offense just wasn’t as effective. Brock Osweiler, making his second straight start in place of an injured Ryan Tannehill, had a pretty solid day. He went 22-31 for 239 yards and two touchdowns.
His first TD was a five-yard pass to Kenny Stills in the second quarter to cut the lead to 10-7. He also found Danny Amendola on a 25 yard strike late in the fourth quarter to make it 29-21.
But while Osweiler played well, he didn’t quite have the support from his running backs that Stafford had. Kenyan Drake had a solid day with 72 yards on six carries and a touchdown. But 54 of those yards came on his TD scamper to cut the deficit to 20-14 in the third quarter. Other than that, Drake was bottled up by the Detroit defense.
Frank Gore, who lit up the Chicago Bears last week for 101 yards on the ground, was kept quiet in this one. He toted the rock ten times, but could only muster 29 yards.
The Dolphins were also playing with a depleted receiving corps. Albert Wilson, the Fins leading receiver coming into the game, left in the second quarter due to a leg injury. Kenny Stills also left the game due to injury, although he left near the end of the contest. That left the team with only two healthy receivers, Amendola and Jakeem Grant, with DeVante Parker a surprise inactive.
Matt Prater was perfect on the day for Detroit. He connected on all four field goal attempts. He made kicks of 29, 28, 35 and 50 yards. His last one, the 50 yard boot, was the last score of the day for either side and put the Lions up by two scores with just under two minutes to play.
On the defensive side of the ball, both teams were rather quiet. There were no turnovers. The Lions did beat the Dolphins in getting to the QB though. Detroit had four sacks of Osweiler while Stafford was only sacked once.
It was a solid win all around for Detroit coming off their bye week. They’ve won three of their last four games after starting the season 0-2.
This game was a let down for Miami after coming off a thrilling overtime win against the Bears last week. They also fell to second in the AFC East after entering the day in a tie with the New England Patriots. New England beat Chicago 38-31 to take over sole possession of first place.
As for next week, the Lions will host the Seattle Seahawks (3-3), who will be coming off their bye week. The Seahawks are 5-3 after their bye under Pete Carroll.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, are on a short week as they travel to Houston to take on the Texans (4-3) on Thursday. Houston has won four straight games after starting the season 0-3.
All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com.