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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Lions-Bucs three keys

The Lions game is blacked out Sunday, but you can follow all the action here with a live blog. It won't be play-by-play so much as thoughts, musing and observations, including whether the Lions are following my three keys to victory, which are:

n Control the clock. Last week, the Lions won the time-of-possession battle for just the third time this year. The defense was on the field for all of six plays in the first quarter – two three-and-outs – and that's a big reason Kevin Smith turned in a career day (112 yards rushing). In the end, that had little effect on the defense's play. The Lions still couldn't tackle and still lost their 10th straight game, but by running the ball and getting early stops they were at least able to make it a game.

n Win the turnover battle. Along with tackling issues, the main reason the Lions lost last week was their carelessness with the ball. Daunte Culpepper had three turnovers, including an interception on Detroit's second offensive series and another one late that set up Carolina's game-clinching touchdown, and Michael Gaines lost his second fumble of the season trying to fight for extra yards. Like Culpepper's last pick, Gaines' fumble set up a Carolina touchdown. Tampa quarterback Jeff Garcia has been turnover-prone at times, and the Lions have to force more than they create today.

n Throw it to Calvin. Culpepper and Calvin Johnson are still working on their timing, but Johnson is the Lions' most dangerous offensive weapon and needs to be used thoroughly. Tampa's version of the Cover 2 won't make it easy, especially with Mike Furrey out with a concussion, but the Lions need to take shots down field even if it means throwing into double coverage. “I have memories of Daunte to (Randy) Moss and now Daunte to Johnson,” Tampa coach Jon Gruden said. “I have had nightmares of that the last couple nights.”


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