Lions vs. Buccaneers final score, results: Detroit outlasts Tampa to clinch first NFC Championship appearance since 1991

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Derrick Barnes stood amid the chaos, his arms stretched toward the heavens. He had never felt the joy of an interception in his professional career before Sunday. He chose an excellent time to break the seal.

Barnes’ late-game interception proved vital as the Lions exorcised their demons and outlasted an upstart Buccaneers squad 31-23 to punch their ticket to the NFC Championship game. It represents the franchise’s first trip to the final four since the first Bush Administration.

It was a game played at a frenetic pace, one defined by resilient hurlers, effervescent skill, and the sort of hard-nosed blocking that came to define the days of yesteryear. Jared Goff continued his success at Ford Field, completing 30-of-43 pass attempts (69.8 percent) for 287 yards and two touchdowns for No. 3-seeded Detroit. His opposite number, Baker Mayfield, was more prolific but less effective. He found the target on 26-of-41 attempts (63.4 percent) for 349 yards and three touchdowns but two interceptions.

The game’s final moments were filled with magic. Between Jahmyr Gibbs’ Olympic-quality heroics and the steady greatness of Mike Evans, it always seemed as if Sunday’s clash was going to come down to the wire.

It did, in the end. The Lions offered a bruising first few punches. The Bucs would respond with venom, delivering a counterstrike that would have their opponent’s wobbly.

Detroit was too strong, as it turned out. Fueled by strong displays by Goff, Gibbs, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Aidan Hutchinson, it was Motor City that was feeling the groove when the clock struck midnight on their longtime dream. Next up: a date with the 49ers away from home.

MORE: C.J. Gardner-Johnson intercepts Baker Mayfield, flips ball back to Buccaneers QB as feud persists

The Sporting News tracked live updates from Sunday’s divisional matchup between the Lions and the Buccaneers. Scroll below for highlights and results from the NFC divisional matchup that took place at Ford Field.

MORE: Watch Lions vs. Buccaneers live with Fubo (free trial)

Lions vs. Buccaneers score

  Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Lions 3 7 7 14 31
Buccaneers 3 7 7 6 23

Lions vs. Buccaneers live updates, results, highlights from 2024 NFL playoff game

(All times Eastern)

End of fourth quarter: Lions 31, Buccaneers 23

6:07 p.m.: INTERCEPTION! Mayfield rifles a throw towards Otton. But he’s forced to speed himself up after Brian Branch brings the pressure. Derrick Barnes snatches the errant throw as the Lions are going to go to the NFC Championship for the first time since 1991!

6:05 p.m.: Bucs hold as Goff sees his effort stray wide. Tampa is going to get the ball back with two minutes to go.

6:01 p.m.: Another slick play design by Johnson nets the Lions a sizable gain as Goff hits St. Brown for 15.

5:56 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN! Give Evans a gold jacket. Boxed out Cam Sutton then snagged Mayfield’s unruly heater to cut Detroit’s lead to single digits. Buccaneers see their two-point attempt fall flat. But they’re still within a single possession.

Lions 31, Buccaneers 23

5:54 p.m.: Mayfield paints the black with another fastball, this time to Godwin. Tampa is inside the red zone.

5:53 p.m.: Mayfield and Evans connect on fourth-and-forever as Tampa keeps its comeback chances alive. No. 13 very well could be headed for Canton. He’s up to six catches for 126 yards today.

5:51 p.m.: Mayfield goes down! Third-and-long shaping up for the Bucs! This one could be over soon!

5:48 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN! Pick play comes up trumps for Detroit. St. Brown stretches out in the corner of the end zone and plucks Goff’s dime out the sky. What a turnaround for the Lions!

Lions 31, Buccaneers 17

5:47 p.m.: Gibbs again! He fields a Goff arrow and slaloms for another 20. Breakout showing for the first-rounder here.

5:45 p.m.: St. Brown! One of the league’s best wideouts does his thing, returning to find Goff’s third-down effort then outmuscling his markers to move the chains on third-and-15. Big time players making big time plays.

5:44 p.m.: SACK! Who else but Lavonte David to make the big stop! The All-Pro-caliber linebacker busted through the trenches to bring Goff to the canvas and set up third-and-long. Bucs desperately needed that stop. Now, they need another one.

5:42 p.m.: Jameson Williams finds open space along the sideline for 24 yards. Detroit is at midfield. Things are going swimmingly for the Lions as we dip below the 10-minute mark in the fourth.

5:36 p.m.: White unable to escape the various tacklers who descended on him after catching a ball out in the flat.

5:31 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN! Gibbs from distance! He bursts beyond the mire and gallops 31 yards to the house! What a run! Detroit is back in front!

Lions 24, Buccaneers 17

5:30 p.m.: Jahmyr Gibbs beginning to make his presence felt. Just romped down the field for 12 yards. Not too shabby from the rook.

End of third quarter: Lions 17, Buccaneers 17

5:22 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN! Rachaad White finds pay dirt after frolicking down the edge on the screen play! Controversial as Mayfield looked to be brought down on a sack before delivering a throw on the prior play. Otton shined on the last possession as well, stretching far and wide to pluck the ball out of the sky.

Lions 17, Buccaneers 17

5:10 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN! Dan Campbell takes a risk! And it pays off in spades! Craig Reynolds bursts through the trenches on fourth-and-goal to give Detroit the lead! Ragnow clears the way and Reynolds gets the glory. A true team score in every sense of the word.

Lions 17, Buccaneers 10

5:05 p.m.: Decent carry by Gibbs as the Lions inch ever-so-close to a potential go-ahead score. The ball is currently on Tampa’s 16.

5:03 p.m.: First down! Goff flips one to tight end Brock Wright, who rumbles for 29 yards on the longest play of the game for either side! Impressive play call by Ben Johnson there. Detroit is surging towards the promised land.

4:45 p.m.: Bucs see their opening drive of the second half falter after surrendering a mammoth sack on third down to star pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson.

End of second quarter: Lions 10, Buccaneers 10

4:23 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN! Chris Godwin sets a screen for Cade Otton, who proceeds to race towards the back corner of the end zone and dances in front of the boundary for six. Game tied.

Lions 10, Buccaneers 10

4:19 p.m.: The Buccaneers are on the goal line! Brilliant throw and catch between Mayfield and Evans! Tampa has been marauding down the field, with Mayfield trotting for 14 yards to bring the Bucs firmly into Lions territory. Then, Evans came to life. Two straight catches — for 29 and 27 yards, respectively — has the Bucs dreaming of a game-tying score with 19 seconds left in the frame.

4:14 p.m.: Ragnow’s injury stemmed from a bum rush by Buccaneers defensive tackle Calijah Kancey. The rookie has looked better with each coming week. Kancey burst beyond the second-team All-Pro guard before bringing down Goff. He then crumbled onto his teammate’s leg, making things increasingly precarious in Detroit’s o-line room.

4:12 p.m.: The injuries are starting to pile up on the Lions’ offensive line. Jonah Jackson and Frankie Ragnow both dealing with injuries at present. Could loom large for Detroit as it attempts to assert its dominance in the trenches.

4:04 p.m.: The Buccaneers trotted down the field with ease, stringing together a nine-play, 55-yard drive. However, it ended in ashes; McClaughin saw his 50-yard attempt clank off the upright,

3:53 p.m.: LaPorta is already up to five catches today so far. For a player who came into today’s game on the mend, he sure looks sprightly in the early stages of this one.

3:45 p.m.: Mayfield hits Chase Edmond, who proceeds to rumble down the field for 14 yards! However, he needed 15 yards for the first down. Tampa sending it back to the Lions via punt as we speak.

3:40 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN! Goff finds Josh Reynolds in the back of the end zone as Detroit reestablishes its advantage!

Lions 10, Buccaneers 3

3:38 p.m.: Detroit is moving down the field with impressive efficiency. Goff found LaPorta on three straight completions for 13, 29 and 15 yards, respectively. The Lions are inside the red zone.

End of first quarter: Lions 3, Buccaneers 3

3:28 p.m.: Bucs even the score up at 3 after Chase McClaughin sinks from 43.

Lions 3, Buccaneers 3

3:22 p.m.: The Buccaneers have broken into Detroit territory after a pair of lengthy pass plays to Evans and Palmer.

3:17 p.m.: FIELD GOAL! Lions take the lead after Michael Badgely nails the chip shot. That has to be considered a win for the Bucs, especially after the flag brought the ball on the brink of the end zone.

Lions 3, Buccaneers 0

3:16 p.m.: Goff fortunate not to be picked off on the goal line. The ball squirms out Jamel Dean’s hands after the Lions hurler fires it right into his grasp. He is one lucky, lucky boy.

3:14 p.m.: Amon-Ra St. Brown is tough to stop. Just got swarmed illicitly as he attempted to field a ball from Goff. That will have the Lions on the cusp of the end zone.

3:10 p.m.: INTERCEPTION! Mayfield delivers a dart to Mike Evans. But the hulking wideout is unable to reel it in, instead deflecting it into the path of C.J. Gardner-Johnson! Gardner-Johnson had a lot to say about Mayfield earlier in the week. He may very well be vindicated after that pick!

3:08 p.m.: The Lions open the game with the ball, but give it away after failing to find the first down marker in three plays.

2:45 p.m.: There are more luminaries on sight at Ford Field. Calvin Johnson and Flavor Flav among the legions of spectators supporting the Lions for this one.

2:40 p.m.: Here’s a look at both sides’ injury reports for today’s game.

2:30 p.m.: Wooooooo! The Nature Boy lent his support for this week’s affair. He’s backing the Boys in Red!

2:20 p.m.: Plenty of applause for Lions QB Jared Goff ahead of this one. He’s found a new lease on life since arriving in the Motor City.

2:10 p.m.: Another notable activation for Sunday’s game: Buccaneers star linebacker Shaq Barrett. He had been listed as questionable after incurring an ankle injury earlier in the season.

2:00 p.m.: The stars are out for this one! Jeff Daniels and Bob Seger are in the building!

1:50 p.m.: Big news for the Lions: Sam LaPorta is active for today’s game. Huge addition for Detroit; the tight end had one of the greatest rookie seasons for a pass-catcher in league history in 2023. 

1:00 p.m.: Finding a seat for Sunday’s game could prove costly for the masses. Per Front Office Sports, tickets for Lions-Buccaneers are historically expensive.

10:45 a.m.: Buccaneers wideout Trey Palmer isn’t playing no games ahead of today’s divisional clash! Can you blame him?

Lions vs. Buccaneers start time

  • Date: Sunday, Jan. 21
  • Time: 3 p.m. ET

Lions vs. Buccaneers will kick off at 3 p.m. ET from Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.

What channel is Lions vs. Buccaneers on today?

  • TV network: NBC (U.S.) | TSN 1/3/4, CTV, RDS (Canada)
  • Live streams: Peacock, Fubo (U.S.) | DAZN (Canada)

The Lions vs. Bucaneers divisional round matchup will be broadcast nationally on NBC. Mike Tirico (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (color commentary) will track the game from the booth, while Pam Oliver (sideline reporter) will offer updates when appropriate.

Cord-cutters can find Sunday’s clash on Peacock as well as Fubo, which offers a free trial.

Canadian viewers can watch the game on TSN 1/3/4, CTV and RDS, or stream it with DAZN, which carries every NFL game.

NFL playoff schedule 2024

Wild-card round

Saturday, Jan. 13

Matchup Time (ET) TV Live stream
Browns at Texans 4:30 p.m. NBC Fubo, Peacock
Dolphins at Chiefs 8:00 p.m. Peacock

Sunday, Jan. 14

Matchup Time (ET) TV Live stream
Steelers at Bills 1:00 p.m. CBS Paramount+, Fubo
Packers at Cowboys 4:30 p.m. Fox Fox Sports app, Fubo
Rams at Lions 8:00 p.m. NBC Peacock, Fubo

Monday, Jan. 15

Matchup Time (ET) TV Live stream
Eagles at Buccaneers 8:00 p.m. ESPN, ABC ESPN+, Fubo

Divisional round

Saturday, Jan. 20

Matchup Time (ET) TV channel Live stream
Texans at Ravens 4:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN ESPN+, Fubo
Packers at 49ers 8 p.m. Fox Fubo

Sunday, Jan. 21

Matchup Time (ET) TV channel Live stream
Buccaneers at Lions 3 p.m. NBC Peacock, Fubo
Chiefs at Bills 6:30 p.m. CBS Paramount+, Fubo

Conference championships

Sunday, Jan. 28

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
TBD at Ravens TBD CBS Paramount+, Fubo
TBD at 49ers TBD Fox Fox Sports app, Fubo

Super Bowl 58

Sunday, Feb. 11

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
TBD vs. TBD TBD CBS Paramount+, Fubo

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