TAMPA, Fla. — Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions found a way to end their long road skid.
Dave Rayner's third field goal, a 34-yarder with 9:51 left in overtime gave the Lions a 23-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and ended the longest road losing streak in NFL history at 26 games on Sunday.
Rayner kicked a 28-yarder as time expired in regulation to force the extra period. The Lions took the overtime kickoff and drove 63 yards — covering most of the distance on two big runs and a 12-yard reception by Johnson on third-and-8 — to set up the game-winner.
The Lions (4-10) won on the road for the first time since Oct. 28, 2007, when they won 16-7 at Chicago.
At the same time they dealt a blow to Tampa Bay's playoff's hopes.
The Bucs, who had been 5-0 in games decided by three points or fewer, failed to take advantage of a loss by the New York Giants — one of the teams they're chasing in the wild-card race — by losing for the first time in nine tries against an opponent with a losing record.
The Bucs (8-6) kicked the second of two fourth-quarter field goals to go ahead 20-17 with 1:39 remaining left in regulation.
Drew Stanton completed 23 of 37 passes for 252 yards, one touchdown for the Lions. Johnson finished with 10 receptions for 152 yards, becoming the first Detroit player with two seasons with at least 1,000 yards and 12 or more TD receptions.
Maurice Morris rushed for 109 yards, including a 26-yard burst on the first play of overtime. Jahvid Best ran for 14 on the next play for a first down at the Bucs 39.
Three plays later, Johnson reached high to make his last catch of the day, barely keeping his feet inbound on the sideline at 25.
Stanton threw a 10-yard TD pass to Nate Burleson in the first quarter and Morris scored on a 10-yard run early in the third quarter to give Detroit a 17-14 lead that held until Josh Freeman brought Tampa Bay back with what seemed like would be another successful fourth-quarter rally.
The Lions forced the Bucs to settle for a field goal that made it 17-17 after Freeman led his team to a first-and-goal at the 1.
Tampa Bay hurt itself with Kellen Winslow drawing an offensive pass interference penalty that nullified what would have been a go-ahead 2-yard TD reception by the tight end.
Undeterred, Freeman led the Bucs to another field goal on their next possession, handing a 20-17 lead to a defense that suddenly was unable to slow down Stanton, who was making his third start in place of the injured Matthew Stafford.
Johnson also figured prominently in both of Detroit's first-half scoring drives with receptions of 20 and 16 yards to set up Stanton's TD pass to Burleson.
Johnson also had receptions of 30 yards and 17 yards to help the Lions get into position for Rayner's 41-yard field goal that trimmed Tampa Bay's lead to 14-10.Comment on this story
At 6-foot-6 and nearly 250 pounds, Freeman is one of the biggest and strongest quarterbacks in the NFL. The Lions sacked him three times, but the second-year pro also used his strength and mobility to turn potential negative plays into positive ones.
Tampa Bay's LeGarrette Blount broke a tackle and rambled for 39 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, one play after Freeman somehow managed to get off a pass with Lions rookie Ndamukong Suh draped around him and fullback Earnest Graham turned it into a 14-yard gain into Detroit territory.
Freeman completed 21 of 32 passes for 251 yards and one touchdown, a 24-yard throw to rookie Mike Williams. Blount finished with 110 yards rushing on 15 attempts.