Sanders, Defense Lead Lions

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From Associated Press

The Detroit Lions used a familiar source--Barry Sanders--and an unfamiliar one--their defense--and kept Tampa Bay out of the end zone for the second consecutive week.

Sanders jump-started the Lions’ stalled offense by rushing for 77 yards on a 93-yard drive, capping it with a spectacular 54-yard touchdown run that lifted them to a 21-6 victory Sunday. He finished with 125 yards on 20 carries, giving him 288 in two games.

The Lions (1-1) intercepted Trent Dilfer twice, converting both turnovers into touchdowns. In the second quarter, Corey Raymond returned one 24 yards for a score. An interception by Greg Jefferies set up a 23-yard touchdown pass from Scott Mitchell to Herman Moore.


“I told our defense that for whatever reason this has to be your day,” Detroit Coach Wayne Fontes said. “You have to hold on until our offense gets untracked.”

It marked the second consecutive game the Buccaneers (0-2) have been held without a touchdown.

The Lions got going when Sanders took over midway through the second quarter.

The Lions were pinned on their own seven-yard line when Glyn Milburn called for a fair catch on a punt. On the first play, Sanders ran around left end for a 12-yard gain. Following a bad pass by Mitchell, Sanders ran off right end for eight yards, then ran off tackle for three more.

Mitchell threw to tight end David Sloan for a 16-yard pass. But the play that finally got the Lions going was Sanders’ 54-yard run.

“Once Barry gets in the secondary with a full head of steam, it’s hard for anyone to stop him,” Fontes said. “He’s the best runner in the game.”