The Buccaneers started with the ball and went with a play action fake on first down intended for Chris Godwin. It fell incomplete and the Bucs were faced with a third-and-nine situation before Detroit was called on an offsides penalty. Tampa Bay would connect on third down with Godwin this time and the Bucs continued to march down the field. It ended with a pass over the top to tight end Rob Gronkowski, who wrestled the ball away from the defender and got into the end zone for the 33-yard score. The point after went off the upright but the Bucs took a 6-0 lead with about 12 minutes to go in the first quarter.
The Lions would come up empty on their first offensive drive of the game after a third-down wrap-up by cornerback Ross Cockrell. They'd try to get the Buccaneers to jump on fourth down but instead false started and punted the ball.
The next drive would again prove fruitful for Tampa Bay. Brady drove 80 yards down the field in four plays, one a big 47-yard pass to Godwin over the middle. Brady then hit wide receiver Mike Evans in the end zone for Evans' 12th receiving touchdown of the season, tying his single-season career high. It also gave Brady the franchise record in single-season touchdown passes, surpassing Jameis Winston's 33 in 2019. Kicker Ryan Succop kicked the extra point and the Bucs took a 13-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.
The next series would end abruptly for the Lions as quarterback Chase Daniel took over for quarterback Matthew Stafford, who suffered an ankle injury. On second down, defensive lineman and Detroit-native Will Gholston batted a pass down at the line. Then on third down, defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter sacked Daniel to force the Lions' punt.
The Buccaneers took back over with 4:40 to go in the first quarter. The Lions would get home on a play that counted as Everson Griffin got a sack on Brady on first down. It brought up second and 17 and the Bucs wouldn't recover. They punted for the first time in the game, giving the ball back to the Lions as the first quarter expired.
It was a quick possession for the Lions, who would end up punting after the Bucs brought some third-down pressure. They didn't quite get home on another sack but the Lions would punt from their own end zone, giving the ball back to the Bucs with 14:15 to go in the second quarter.
Tampa Bay moved down the field quickly on the next drive. Running back Leonard Fournette touched the ball on three straight plays, the last of which was a four-yard touchdown run to put the Bucs up 20-0 after the good point after.
Detroit came up empty yet again thanks in part to a big five-yard tackle for loss by outside linebacker Shaq Barrett. It would give the ball back to the Bucs after just 2:49.
For the fourth time in five drives, the Buccaneers would see the end zone. After a drive that was largely on the legs of rookie Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Godwin would make a spectacular one-handed catch inside the end zone to put the Bucs up 27-0 after the successful point after with 4:52 left in the half.
The Bucs' defensive front stopped the Lions cold again on their next drive and they went three-and-out, surrendering the ball back to the Buccaneer offense.
Brady hit Evans for 15 yards on third-and-three to keep the Bucs' next drive alive. Tampa Bay was hit with an illegal shift penalty that backed them up to first and 15 on the next play but they'd convert on fourth down and four to keep going. Brady hit Godwin in the end zone yet again but the play was negated by an ineligible man downfield penalty. But if at first you don't succeed – try, try again. Brady then hit Antonio Brown on a 12-yard dart to make the score 34-0.
The Lions would get the ball back but not be able to make anything happen on their next drive. The Bucs went into the locker room at halftime up 34-0.
The Bucs defense came out firing as Detroit got the ball to start the second half. It was Lavonte David who forced a fumble and it was recovered by safety Jordan Whitehead – only it took a Bucs' challenge to get the call right.
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert came in and his first throw was a touchdown to Gronkowski in the end zone. Succop missed the extra point but the Bucs went up 40-0 in the first minute of the second half.
The Bucs' defense didn't let up on the next drive, either. They surrendered a first down on a penalty but then Will Gholston and Jason Pierre-Paul came up with a sack of Daniel on third down and three, resulting in yet another punt by the Lions with about 11 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Bucs would trade a punt back for the first time since the first quarter as they wouldn't be able to convert a third and three.
The Lions special teams would be the ones to get Detroit on the board on the next play. Bradley Pinion's punt was returned 74 yards for a touchdown by Jamal Agnew. It put the Lions on the board, 40-7 with 9:20 left in the third quarter.
The Bucs and Blaine Gabbert would answer with a score of their own on the next drive. Gabbert hit Evans for 22 yards, giving Evans 13 touchdown receptions on the season, breaking his own franchise record. It put the Bucs up 47-7 after the good point after halfway through the third quarter.
The Lions would get a couple first downs on their next drive but would ultimately get stopped again by the Bucs' defense. They relinquished the ball back to Tampa Bay and the Bucs went on the offensive again with 3:47 left in the third quarter.
Gabbert hit Evans for a big 30-yard play in the next drive on Tampa Bay's way inside Lions territory. It put Evans within 44 yards of 1,000 on the year for his seventh such season to start his career. Should he accomplish it, that would be an NFL record. The Bucs would line up to go for it on fourth-down and two before they got hit with a false start penalty, backing them up to fourth and seven at the conclusion of the third quarter. They'd go for it but not convert, turning the ball over on downs at the Detroit 36 with 14:57 to go in the game.
The Lions would get into Buccaneer territory for the first time all game on their next drive, thanks largely to a roughing the passer penalty on Devin White. But instead of being able to turn the drive into points, a big third-down sack by Anthony Nelson (the first of his career) would back the Lions up 10 yards and force them to punt with 12:30 left.
A defensive pass interference call would help the Bucs down the field on their next possession. They'd get into Lions territory but be stopped on a third-and-seven situation. Succop came on to attempt a 42-yard kick but would miss the attempt. It left the score 47-7 with 7:40 to go in the game.
The Lions would move down the field but stall on fourth and nine. Blough would escape some pressure and get the ball out which was almost intercepted by safety Jordan Whitehead, but instead fell incomplete. Regardless, the Bucs took over on downs with 4:40 left.
On third down, Julian Okwara swung at the ball and knocked it out of Gabbert's hands as he went to throw. The Bucs then had to punt the ball away, giving it back to Detroit with 2:19 to go in the fourth quarter.
The drive would be cut short as Herb Miller grabbed his first career interception off Blough. It gave the ball back to the Bucs just before the two-minute warning. The Bucs would hold onto the ball long enough to let time expire. The Bucs won 47-7 and with it, clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2007.