PONTIAC, MICH., SEPT. 9 -- Vinny Testaverde threw three touchdown passes and Tampa Bay sacked Rodney Peete five times today as the Buccaneers beat the Detroit Lions, 38-21. The Lions, who had won five straight to close last season and all four this preseason, gave up two interceptions and two fumbles.
"I'm angry and the guys know I'm angry," Lions Coach Wayne Fontes said. "We just got pushed around more than we should have."
Testaverde completed 16 of 21 passes for 237 yards with one interception. He needed just 2:15 for his first touchdown pass: tight end Ron Hall got behind linebacker Chris Spielman for a 54-yard play. "It doesn't matter what the stats are or how many touchdown passes I threw," he said. "We won and that's what counts."
Peete led the Lions to two touchdowns for a 14-7 lead with 1:13 left in the first quarter before the Buccaneers rattled him with the sacks. Bob Gagliano came in in the fourth quarter.
Peete and Robert Clark combined for four straight completions, the last a 25-yarder that tied the game at 7. Clark caught it at the 15, faked out Rodney Rice and ran in.
The Lions then went ahead on a one-yard run by Barry Sanders, who carried 14 times for 79 yards. But that's when things turned.
"It's really unexplainable," Peete said of his fast start and second-quarter collapse. "I had guys open but couldn't hit them."
Testaverde could. He hit Bruce Perkins for an eight-yard touchdown. Then, after the Bucs' Mark Robinson intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 27 yards to the Detroit 28, he hit Gary Anderson on the 19-yarder to give Tampa Bay the lead for good at 21-14.
A contract holdout in San Diego last year, Anderson had six catches for 79 yards and 21 runs for 74 yards.
Tampa Bay took a 28-14 lead in the third quarter after John Cannon recovered Peete's fumble at the Detroit 38 to set up a two-yard run by rookie Reggie Cobb, who had 43 yards on 11 carries.