You just watched one of the worst Detroit Lions performances of all time
It was a historic first half at Ford Field ... for the wrong reasons for the Detroit Lions.
Tom Brady, who made his NFL debut against the Lions 20 years ago, was 22:27 for 348 yards for four touchdowns in the first 30 minutes when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the Lions 34-0 up at halftime. It is the third worst first half for the Lions in franchise history: They were previously 35-0 down twice - in 1991 in Washington at the season opener and in 1963 against the Chicago Bears at Tiger Stadium. (Bucs kicker Ryan Succop missed the extra point after the Bucs' first TD and thus prevented a 35-point deficit.)
All four of Brady's top pass catchers - Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski - landed touchdowns against a helpless Lions defense, and Leonard Fournette rushed for a score.
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To make matters worse, quarterback Matthew Stafford left the game in the first quarter after injuring his right ankle. Chase Daniel replaced him for the Lions' second possession and was 7-11 in the half 52 yards.
The Bucs won the game 47-7.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady warms up before the game against the Detroit Lions on Saturday, December 26, 2020 at Ford Field.
The Bucs (10-5), who earned a place in the playoffs with one win and reached 410 yards, are the most NFL teams in the first half of this season. The Lions (5-10) had 87 yards of attack.
Things quickly got worse when D'Andre Swift fumbled in the opening game of the second half. The Bucs bounced back and on the first game, backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw a 25-yard score into the seam to a wide-open Gronkowski. Succop missed his second point after the attempt when the Bucs led into the half 10-0, 10 seconds ahead.
Jamal Agnew's 74 yard punt return TD got the Lions on the scoreboard at 9:20 to play in the third quarter.
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Detroit Lions reception coach Robert Prince, who was promoted to assistant head coach against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is seen on the field as receiver Danny Amendola, 80, stretches at Ford Field on Saturday, December 26, 2020.
The Lions went into quarantine with five trainers who were in quarantine due to COVID-19 contact tracing, including interim trainer Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Cory Undlin. This forced recipient coach Robert Prince to take over the position of interim head coach, with unannounced assistant Evan Rothstein taking on defensive games and quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan taking off aggressively.
Earlier this week, the NFL declined the Lions' request to reschedule the game to Sunday, which would have allowed the Lions coaches the extra day to clear the quarantine and join the team.
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Follow Marlowe Alter on Twitter: @Marlowe Alter.
This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions: You've Just Seen One of the Worst Halves Ever
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