The Bucs started their first series with three straight runs by running back Peyton Barber, followed by three straight passes to three different receivers by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Once inside the red zone, the Bucs went back to the run and on second down, Fitzpatrick handed off to Barber who burst up the B-gap for a 14-yard touchdown on the ground. The Bucs ate up 4:35 seconds of clock on their way to the leading 7-0 after the good point after by Chandler Catanzaro.
The Lions returned the favor, marching straight back down the field. Quarterback Matthew Stafford hit wide receiver Kenny Golladay for a 36-yard gain to get the Lions inside the 10-yard line. But the Bucs' defense was able to hold Detroit to just a field goal as cornerback Vernon Hargreaves broke up a pass inside the end zone on third-and-6.
Rookie running back Ronald Jones II got the work on the second series for the Bucs. On the second play of the drive, Fitzpatrick hit Jones for a 37-yard pass. Fitzpatrick was sacked and the Bucs were hit with an offensive pass interference penalty to back them up to third-and-24 at the Detroit 36-yard line. Fitzpatrick was forced out of the pocket and threw the ball away, forcing the Bucs to punt.
The Bucs had the Lions at third-and-nine before a defensive pass interference penalty gave the Lions a first down at the 19-yard line. Midway through the series, it looked like rookie safety Jordan Whitehead forced the ball out of receiver Levine Toilolo's hands but the play stood as called. The Bucs' defense would hold again, giving up just a field goal to preserve their lead 7-6 with 10:31 left in the half.
Jameis Winston replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick on the following series for the Bucs. Facing fourth-and-1 at the Lions' 21-yard line, Winston decided to tuck the ball and run into the red zone himself. Two plays later, he hit the outside shoulder of second-year wide receiver Chris Godwin for a beautiful 10-yard touchdown catch in the back corner of the end zone. The point after was no good but the Bucs extended their lead to 13-6 with under five minutes to play in the second quarter.
It was a quick three-and-out for Detroit on the ensuing possession. On third-down and one, Bucs' defensive end Will Gholston came up with a big sack of Stafford, forcing the Lions to punt.
What started as a promising drive ended in a punt by Bryan Anger for the Bucs. Detroit got the ball back with just over a minute left in the half. On third-and-5, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy laid another sack on Stafford for a loss of six yards. The Lions decided to attempt a 62-yard field goal with Adam Humphries waiting in the end zone. Sure enough, the kick was short and Humphries made them pay by taking it an incredible 109 yards for the touchdown return.
The Lions were forced to punt on their first possession of the half. Then in came Ryan Griffin at quarterback for the Buccaneers. The drive ended with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Griffin to receiver Freddie Martino, putting the Bucs up 27-6.
The Lions would score their first touchdown of the night on their next possession. It was a 10-yard touchdown run by Theo Riddick on a handoff from backup quarterback Matt Cassel, closing the gap ever so slightly and making the score 27-13 with just under four minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Bucs' offense stalled on the next drive with a quick three-and-out. The Lions then scored on their second consecutive possession. After driving down the field, Detroit got a fresh set of downs at the one-yard line and Bradley Marquez hauled in a three-yard pass from Cassel to make the score 27-20.
It was a hard fought series on the Bucs' next possession. The Bucs' Shaun Wilson had a couple good runs and after a short completion he took for nine yards on third down, Catanzaro kicked the 42-yard field goal to increase the Bucs' lead 30-20 with 7:13 left in the game.
It was the Lions' turn to stall out and give the ball back to the Bucs after going three-and-out. Quarterback Austin Allen replaced Griffin and went three-and-out as well. The Lions then took the punt 80 yards for a touchdown and after going for two, pulled Detroit within four with 4:53 left on the clock.
It was another short series for the Bucs as they punted away with the clock nearing the three minute mark. The Lions' return wouldn't be quite as successful but Detroit did get good field position at their own 40-yard line. The Lions took it all the way down the field in for a touchdown to take their first lead of the night with :30 on the clock. The drive went 60 yards on 10 plays, taking up 2:40 of clock and resulted in the five-yard pass from Jake Rudock to Marcus Lucas, making the score 33-30.
Allen tried to put together a drive that would at least put the Bucs within field goal range, but with seven seconds left, was picked off to leave the score 33-30 as Tampa Bay fell to Detroit in their third preseason game.