TAMPA, Fla., Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Keyshawn Johnson grabbed his first touchdown catch of the season with 45 seconds left Sunday as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers escaped with a crucial 15-12 victory over the snakebitten Detroit Lions.
Tampa Bay appeared on its way to a devastating loss, but Johnson highlighted a 15-play, 80-yard drive with a pair of fourth-down catches and a circus touchdown reception that capped the scoring.
"You can't find a better receiver on Sunday," Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp said.
"He is a stud," added safety John Lynch. "He makes big plays when the game is on the line."
Johnson had set an NFL record by totaling 92 catches without a touchdown before grabbing his 10th reception of the day.
"I think the media was concerned with it more than I was," he said of the record. "I've been in these kind of streaks before, but I just keep moving the chains."
Brad Johnson completed 31 of 54 passes for 305 yards for the Buccaneers (7-5), who claimed their third straight win and remained in the thick of the playoff hunt in the NFC.
"It is huge," Lynch said. "I can't imagine what we would have felt like if we hadn't pulled this one out."
The Lions became the first NFL team in 15 years to start a year with 12 losses. Their last nine have been by a total of 38 points and seven have come by five or fewer.
"They're all tough, all heartbreakers, and they're all very difficult," coach Marty Mornhinweg said.
The first big play of the drive came on third and 10 from the Bucs' 31-yard line as Brad Johnson found Keyshawn Johnson for 16 yards.
"I told Brad Johnson to hang in there and give me the opportunity, and he did," Keyshawn Johnson said. "He hung in there. Then I have to live up to my end of the bargain."
Pressured all day, Brad Johnson then was called for intentional grounding. But he followed an incompletion with a 14-yard pass to Keyshawn Johnson and a seven-yarder to fullback Mike Alstott on fourth and five.
Tampa Bay faced its second fourth down of the drive with 1:20 to play, when Brad Johnson threw a 13-yard pass to Keyshawn Johnson to Detroit's 13.
Two plays later, the 6-4 Keyshawn Johnson had one on one coverage with 5-9 Jimmy Wyrick. He leaped over the back of Wyrick and came down with two hands on the ball for the decisive touchdown.
"I'm not trying to save a season, I was just trying to save a football game," Keyshawn Johnson said. "This was my first time to make a huge impact."
"Keyshawn ran a corner route," Brad Johnson said. "I just threw it up."
The Bucs' offense had done little to that point, despite Brad Johnson's sixth career 300-yard game. They drove into Lions territory just once before their final drive.
Alstott carried 12 times for 66 yards and a touchdown. Tampa Bay is two games behind first-place Green Bay in the NFC Central but in position for a wild card berth with four games remaining.