DETROIT—Matthew Stafford hit Brandon Pettigrew with a 1-yard touchdown pass and Jason Hanson booted the extra-point with no time left on the clock as the Detroit Lions eked out a 38-37 triumph over the Cleveland Browns in a battle of 1-8 teams at Ford Field on Sunday afternoon.
Coach Jim Schwartz's Lions thus raised their record to 2-8 on the season. Detroit entered the day riding a 6-game losing streak.
Washington Redskins on Sept. 27.
Detroit overcame an early 24-3 deficit and eventually took the lead against Cleveland and Coach Eric Mangini, who has been under fire this season.
The Browns took the opening kickoff and uncustomarily began driving downfield behind starting quarterback Brady Quinn. They eventually settled for a 44-yard Phil Dawson field goal and a 3-0 advantage with 11:28 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Lions then started with a bang, as Stafford hit Kevin Smith with a 64-yard completion on their very first play. Detroit knotted the tally at 3-all on a 31-yard field goal by Jason Hanson with 9:13 to go in the opener.
But Cleveland regained control at 10-3 on its very first play after the ensuing kickoff -- a 59-yard TD toss from Quinn to Mohamed Massaquoi -- followed by a 40-yard scoring lob from Quinn to a wide open Chansi Stuckey for a 17-3 edge with 4:03 left in the initial stanza and then, following an interception of Stafford on the very next play, a 4-yard touchdown throw from Quinn to Josh Cribbs for a 24-3 bulge at the 3-minute mark of the opening quarter.
Stafford hit Aaron Brown with a 26-yard scoring strike with just 30 seconds showing on the clock to set the margin at 24-10 at the end of the first frame.
The Lions closed to 24-17 at the outset of the second stanza on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Brown and tied up the score at 24-all on a 75-yard bomb from Stafford to Calvin Johnson with 5:01 remaining in the first half.
The Browns reclaimed a 27-24 advantage on Dawson's 29-yard field goal with 2 seconds to go until intermission.
The Lions took their first lead at 31-27 when Stafford hit Will Heller with a 1-yard scoring pass, culminating a 10-play, 84-yard drive late in the third quarter, which ended with Detroit up 31-29 after Stafford was assessed a penalty in the end zone for a Cleveland safety.
The fourth period was back and forth until the Browns scored with 5:32 left on Quinn's 2-yard TD pass to Michael Gaines followed by Jamal Lewis' conversion run for a 37-31 lead.
Several last-gasp efforts by Detroit resulted in a pass interference call against Cleveland in the end zone as time elapsed, giving the Lions one play with no time on the clock. Stafford then connected with Pettigrew on the winning pass and Hanson booted the PAT for the win with 0:00 showing on the clock.
Detroit now must come back quickly to meet the Green Bay Packers in a Thanksgiving Day contest Thursday at Ford Field. That game will be televised live on FOX 17 with kickoff scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Cleveland, meanwhile, will be off until next Sunday when the Browns head south for Cincinnati to take on their Ohio rivals, the Bengals.