It looked over.
When the Eagles took a 23-13 lead on a 70-yard touchdown catch by Jeremy Maclin with 5:18 left, it looked like the Lions were headed to a 1-4 start.
But they didn’t want to go away, and thanks to some fourth-quarter magic, beat the Eagles 26-23 in overtime Sunday.
The Lions (2-3) overcame an NFL season high 16 penalties for 132 yards in the victory as well as several other costly mistakes, but the fourth-quarter heroics helped them overcome the problems against Philadelphia (3-3).
After Maclin’s touchdown, the Lions quickly answered on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Nate Burleson, set up by a 57-yard pass to tight end Tony Scheffler.
Then they forced a three-and-out and took the ball back with 2:27 left trailing 23-20.
The Lions quickly marched down the field, and despite having opportunities to score a game-winning touchdown, Jason Hanson’s 19-yard field goal tied the game with three seconds left.
And in overtime, the Lions kept all momentum. On the Eagles first two plays, the Lions sacked quarterback Michael Vick, the first by Cliff Avril and the second by Nick Fairley. Facing third and 31, Vick threw incomplete and the Eagles had to punt.
After Stefan Logan nearly lost a fumble on the punt return, the Lions started at midfield and quickly moved into field goal territory thanks to a 16-yard pass to Scheffler and a 17-yarder to Calvin Johnson.
Three plays after Johnson’s catch, Hanson ran out for a game-winning 45-yard field goal that ended the Lions three-game losing streak.
Though they’ll take any kind of win, today’s victory helped mask several costly mistakes by the Lions.
They started 0-for-8 on third down and didn’t convert one until midway through the fourth quarter.
There was also a drop by wide receiver Titus Young on a deep pass in the second quarter and an interception by Matthew Stafford earlier in the quarter where he threw to a double-covered Calvin Johnson.
Then there were the penalties. The Lions finished with the most penalties by a team this season, 16 for 132 yards.
A costly pass interference by cornerback Jacob Lacey gave the Eagles first-and-goal near the end of the second quarter. Two plays later, running back LeSean McCoy scored on a two-yard screen pass.
Then, with 5:18 left in the fourth quarter, the Lions had their biggest defensive lapse of the game. A miscommunication by safety Louis Delmas and cornerback Chris Houston gave Maclin a wide open alley across the middle of the field for his 70-yard touchdown pass that seemed to seal the victory for the Eagles.
The Lions defense played fairly well for much of the game and excelled in the run game, holding Eagles running back LeSean McCoy to just 22 yards on 14 carries.
They also caught two interceptions, recovered a fumble and hit Eagles quarterback Michael Vick 11 times, including three sacks.
Besides the Maclin touchdown, Delmas played great in his first game of the season after missing the first four games recovering from knee surgery. The safety had eight tackles, two tackles for loss and an interception.