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Lions hold off Bucs, set up NFC championship game vs. 49ers

The Detroit Lions are one win away from playing in the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
The Detroit Lions are one win away from playing in the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The Detroit Lions are going to San Francisco.

Detroit built a late two-touchdown lead, then held off a late Tampa Bay Buccaneers rally with an interception of Baker Mayfield to secure a 31-23 win in the divisional round of the playoffs on Sunday. The Lions advance to face the 49ers on the road next week with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake.

Jared Goff threw for 287 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers in the victory, while Jahmyr Gibbs and Craig Reynolds added touchdowns on the ground for Detroit. Tampa Bay's season is over after a surprise run to the second weekend of the NFL postseason.

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  • And that's it. The Lions end the game in victory formation for a 31-23 win. Lions vs. 49ers in San Francisco next week for a trip to the Super Bowl.

  • The Bucs force a punt and get the ball back. But Baker Mayfield throws an interception with 1:35 remaining, and the game's all but over. Derrick Barnes with the game-sealing pick. Tampa Bay only has one timeout remaining. Detroit is headed to San Francisco for the NFC championship game.

  • The Bucs rolled the dice on the 2-point play, which is the right call. It gives them a better chance to win. But the variance and downside of a failed conversion is tough to swallow when it happens, especially in a playoff game.

  • The Bucs answer back. Again with Mike Evans. Mayfield hits Evans in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. But a two-point conversion fails, and the Lions lead 31-23 with 4:37 remaining.

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown does it again. He hauls in a nine-yard touchdown pass from Jared Goff on the right side of the end zone. Lions take a 31-17 lead midway through the fourth, and the Bucs are in trouble.

  • The Lions are driving again after forcing a Bucs punt.

    Amon-Ra St. Brown with a big third-down conversion:

  • Detroit answers back with a quick-strike score. Jahmyr Gibbs caps a five-play, 75-yard drive with a 31-yard touchdown run down the left sideline. 24-17 Lions early in the fourth.

  • And we're tied up. Baker Mayfield finds Rachaad White on a screen pass on third down for a 12-yard touchdown. 17-17 with the fourth quarter approaching.

  • What a play by Baker Mayfield. Stands up to a would-be sack, then delivers a first-down dart.

  • If you were wondering where Craig Reynolds came from, you weren't the only one:

  • Lions go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Because, of course they do. Backup running back Craig Reynolds punches it in for a 17-10 Lions lead. 3:48 remaining in the third quarter.

  • The Bucs lost four yards on their ensuing possession and punted back to the Lions.

  • Lions punt after going three-and-out. Bucs take over with good field position at their own 40.

  • The Lions will play the rest of the way without former Pro Bowl guard Jonah Johnson. Center Frank Ragnow's back out there after an injury scare in the first half.

  • Aidan Hutchinson with a big sack. Gets to Baker Mayfield on third down to knock the Bucs out of field-goal range. Right tackle Luke Goedeke simply didn't block Hutchinson. Bucs punt after driving to the Detroit 38.

  • Tampa Bay's off to a good start in. First down pass on the first play of the half on a big possession.

  • Bucs will have the ball to start the second half. Mike Evans has four catches for 97 yards after a pair of big plays to set up Tampa Bay's game-tying touchdown before halftime.

  • Sensational drive by Tampa Bay. 92 yards in 1:13 to tie the game at the half. What a momentum swing.

  • Cade Otton breaks free in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown catch from Baker Mayfield. Bucs tie it up at 10-10 just before halftime.

  • Mike Evans again. This time with a sensational 29-yard catch on a dime from Baker Mayfield. Bucs have first-and-goal with 19 seconds left in the half.

  • Baker Mayfield finds Mike Evans, and the Bucs are now in field-goal range.

  • Baker Mayfield scrambles 14 yards for a first down, and the Bucs are driving, looking to add points in the final minute of the half.

  • Lions are punting with 1:35 left in the half. Ragnow's on the sideline bench with his teammates after a quick meeting with trainers. Hopefully is OK.

  • Frank Ragnow is down on the field clutching his knee. Tense moment for the Lions and their All-Pro center.

  • The Bucs play it safe again on fourth down. Opt to attempt a 50-yard field goal on fourth-and-5. Chase Mclaughlin's kick hits the upright, and the Lions take over on downs leading, 10-3.

  • Rare mistake from Amon-Ra St. Brown. He drops a would be first-down ball on third-and-10, leading to a Lions punt. Lions lead 10-3, midway through the second quarter.

  • Sam LaPorta with another nice gain to pick up a Lions first down. Five catches for 46 yards midway through the second quarter. Looking strong just two weeks after suffering a knee injury.

  • Offensive pass interference on Cade Otton on a pick play put the Bucks in third-and-15. The Bucs failed to convert after a third-down play picked up 14 yards. Bucs punted rather than go for it on fourth-and-1 at their own 34.

    Conservative play that limits the risk of giving the ball to the Lions in field goal range. Detroit will start at its own 20 and a 10-3 lead early in the second quarter.

  • We've got a touchdown. Jared Goff finds Josh Reynolds in the back of the end zone from nine yards. 10-3 Lions early in the second quarter.

  • We're into the second quarter now. The Lions are driving in a 3-3 game.

  • A contender for most impactful play of this 3-3 game thus far:

  • The Bucs respond with a 43-yard field goal of their own, and we've got a tie game in Detroit.

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  • The Lions got all the way down inside the 10, but their drive stalled out. They settled for a field goal off of the interception, and now hold a 3-0 lead.

  • Mike Evans tipped this pass high, and the Lions get the ball back after a huge interception from CJ Gardner-Johnson.

  • The Bucs force a punt right away, and will now take over less than a minute into the game. Let's see what Baker Mayfield can do here.

  • Detroit is ready, and the game is underway at Ford Field.

  • NBC's intro of Lions-Bucs was a battle of chips on shoulders: All of Detroit vs. Baker Mayfield.

  • The Lions sound ready to play. Well, at least Penei Sewell is.

  • In case you wanted a weather update from Detroit, our Dan Wetzel has you covered: