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1934: Dick Richards leads a group that purchases the Portsmouth Spartans for the staggering price of $7,952.08, moving them to Detroit, where in keeping with the jungle tradition with other Detroit nicknames the team utilizes the name Lions. The Lions were the fourth NFL team in Detroit, with the Detroit Herald Tigers, Detroit Panthers and Detroit Wolverines. The Lions play their first game ever on September 23rd at the old University of Detroit Stadium, and beat the New York Giants by a score of 9-0 in front of 12,000 fans. The Lions would go on to win their first 10 games that included 7 straight shutouts. Four days after their first loss the Lions host the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving establishing a new tradition. The Lions would lose the key game 16-13, and would go on to finish their inaugural campaign with a 10-3 record.
1935: The Lions are among four teams in the NFL’s competitive Western Division that finishes with a winning record. The Lions would finish the season with a 7-3-2 record, finishing percentage points ahead of the Green Bay Packers for the Division Championship earning them a birth in their first ever Championship Game. On December 9th in front of a rockus home crowd the Lions host the New York Giants for the NFL Championship. Led by Quarterback Earl Clark the Lions would roar their way to a deceive 26-7 victory earning their first NFL Championship.
1936: The Lions follow up their championship season by finishing with a respectable 8-4 record. However, the Lions finish in third behind the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
1937: The Lions finish in third place for the second straight season with a record of 7-4 despite losing their three of their final five games.
1938: After four season at the University of Detroit’s Stadium, the Lions move into their new den Briggs Stadium, which was already famous for being the home for 26 years to Detroit’s famed baseball team the Tigers. In the Lions first game at the corners of Michigan and Trumbull the Lions defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 16-7. The Lions would go on to finish the season with a 7-4 record; one game behind the Green Bay Packers for the Division Title.
1939: The Lions get off to a strong start but fade down the stretch losing their final four games to finish in third place with a record of 6-5.
1940: Byron “Whizzer” White, a future justice on the US Supreme Court becomes the first Detroit Lion to win the NFL’s rushing title with 514 yards rushing. However, the Lions would complete the season with a disappointing 5-5-1 record.
1941: The Lions suffer their first losing season since moving to Detroit posting a disappointing record of 4-6-1 while finishing in third place.
1942: The Lions roar sounds more like a purr as the team fails to win a single game finishing in last with an embarrassing 0-11 record.
1943: After going trough an entire season without a win the Lions get off to a solid start by winning their first two games. However, the Lions would only win one more game the rest of the season finishing with a 3–6-1 record.
1944: Running Back Frank Sinkwich leads the Lions to a respectable 6-3-1 record, and earns the League’s MVP, becoming the first Detroit Lion to win the award.
1945: The Lions post their second solid season in a row, finishing in second place with a solid record of 7-3.
1946: After two consecutive solid seasons the bottom falls out for the Lions who lose their first six games on the way to finishing in last place with a miserable 1-10 record.
1947: The Lions finish in last place for the second year in a row posting a horrible record of 3-9.
1948: The Lions continue to roam in the basement of thee Western Division posting an awful 2-10 record while allowing an embarrassing 407 points on defense.
1949: Despite posting a losing record for the fourth year in a row the Lions end the season on a strong note winning their final two games to escape last place with a 4-8 record.
1950: The Lions show signs of becoming a strong contender by ending a strong of 4 straight losing seasons with a 6-6 record that was good enough for 4th place.
1951: After a decade in which the Lions were consistently among the worst teams in the NFL the Lions rises back up to the NFL elites with a solid nucleus led by star Quarterback Bobby Layne. In the Lions first competitive season in years the team finishes with a solid 7-4-1 record, finishing just a half a game behind the eventual NFL Champion Los Angeles Rams.
1952: The Lions continue to improve finishing 9-3 and in a flat-footed tie with Los Angeles Rams for the National Conference Title. The tie set up a tiebreaker for a trip to the NFL Championship game. On December 21st in front of a loud home crowd the Lions beat the over matched Rams by a score of 31-21 to earn a trip to the following week’s NFL Championship game in Cleveland against the Browns. The Lions would on to stun the Browns in front of their home fans 17-7 to claim their second NFL Championship.
1953: The Lions finish 10-2 to earn a return trip to the NFL Championship game where they a matched up in a rematch with the Cleveland Browns. On December 27th in front of a load crowd of 54,577 the Lions win a 17-16 nail bitter to claim their second consecutive NFL Championship.
1954: The Detroit Lions bid for a third Straight Championship gets off to a fast start as the Lions once again are the class of the Westen Conference finishing in first Place with a 9-2-1 record to earn a third straight trip to the NFL Championship game. Once again the Lions are matched up against the Cleveland Browns in the title game. However, this time the Browns extract revenge by ripping the Lions apart by a score of 56-10.
1955: Coming of their three consecutive trips to the NFL Championship Game the Lions experience a year of injury and frustration and fall into the cellar of the Western Conference with a woeful 3-9 record.
1956: The Lions recover from their year of frustration nicely and once again become one of the top teams in the NFL. However their 9-3 record is only good enough for second place in the Western Conference as they finish just a half game behind the Chicago Bears.
1957: Prior to the start of the season Head Coach Raymond Parker who guided the Lions through their best era of success abruptly resigns. Assistant George Wilson would replace him the following day. Rogers helps lead the Lions to an 8-4 season which is good enough to earn a tie for the Western Conference title with San Francisco 49ers. The Lions would fall behind early in the Western Conference Championship at San Francisco’s Cesar Stadium. However, the Lions would roar to life in the second half and would claim a 31-27 victory to earn a trip to the NFL Championship game. In the NFL Championship played in front of a 55,263 fans at Briggs Stadium the Lions take apart the Browns 59-14 to claim their fourth NFL Championship, and 3rd of the decade. However, the Lions would not win another Championship in the 20th Century.
1958: The Lions could not repeat their championship magic of 1957 and struggled all season to a disappointing 4-7-1 season which left them in fifth place in the Western Conference.
1959: The Lions end their most successful decade, in which they won three NFL Championships on a disappointing note, finishing in fifth place with a terrible record of 3-8-1.
1960: With LB Joe Schmidt earning the NFL MVP, the Lions once again challenge for the top spot in the Western Conference. However, the Lions 7-5 record is only good for second Place, one game behind the upstart Green Bay Packers.
1961: William Clay Ford, a member of the prestigious Ford Family is named President of the Detroit Lions. The Lions would go on to complete a solid 8-5-1 season but once again were out done by the Packers for the Conference Title.
1962: The Lions finish the season with a solid 11-3 record. In most season such a record would easily earn a team a birth in the playoffs. However the Packers are now clearly established as the class of the league and finish two games ahead of the Lions for the Western Conference Championship.
1963: In a scandal that rocks the NFL to its core Lions All-Pro Defensive Tackle Alex Karras is suspended for the entire season along with Packers Running Back Paul Hourning for betting on NFL Games. In Karras’ absence the Lions struggle to finish 5-8-1, and in fourth Place.
1964: William Clay Ford takes over sole ownership of the Lions, by buying out his partners for $4.5 Million. During the season the Lions would finish with a 7-5-2 record in a competitive Western Conference.
1965: The Lions continue to play mediocre foot ball finishing sixth place in the Western Conference with a record of 6-7-1.
1966: The Lions struggles continue as they finished tied with the worst record in the NFL’s Western Conference with a record of 4-9-1. The Lions struggles were felt mostly at the Quarterback position where the Lions as a team had just eight Touchdown passes against 28 interceptions.
1967: Despite a 5-7-2 record, which was only good for third place in the four-team Central Division, a young Lions team shows promise as RB Mel Farr, and CB Lem Barney take home the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Years.
1968: The Lions struggles continue as they finish in last place in the Central Division with a terrible record of 4-8-2.
1969: The Lions enjoy their best season in seven years by finishing in second place with a solid 9-4-1 record led by a stingy defense that only allowed 188 total points on the season.
1970: With a record of 10-4 the Lions, finished in second place in the NFC Central, and qualified for the playoffs as the NFC’s Wild Card. In their first trip to the postseason since 1957 the Lions are matched up against the Dallas Cowboys. The Lions defense was able to stop and frustrate the Cowboys all game long. However, the Cowboys defense was also able to frustrate the Lions. In the end the Lions would fall 5-0 in the lowest scoring game in NFL Playoff history.
1971: On October 24th the Lions season takes a sudden and tragic turn as Wide Receiver Chuck Hughes suffers a heart attack during a game and dies on the field. The Lions would go on to finish the season with a respectable but disjointing 7-6-1 record.
1972: In a season in which the Lions finish 8-5-1, and miss out on the postseason again Linebacker Wayne Walker establishes a new team record for games played at 200.
1973: The Lions continue to play mediocre football finishing in second place with a less then stellar record of 6-7-1.
1974: Prior to the start of training camp tragedy strike the Lions again as Head Coach Don McCafferty suffers a fatal heart attack. He would later be replaced by Rick Forzano, who guides the Lions to a 7-7 record in their final season at Tiger Stadium.
1975: The Lions begin a new era by playing their home games in the Silverdome in the Detroit suburb of Pontiac, Michigan. The new stadium would offer fans a cozy, but sterile environment to watch football. In the first season indoors the Lions would once again finish with a 7-7 record.
1976: The Lions continue to thread around .500, finishing in third place with a mediocre record of 6-8, despite a steady season from Quarterback Greg Landry.
1977: The Lions struggle offensively scoring a paltry 183 points while finishing in third place with a 6-8 record for the second straight season.
1978: The Lions continue to struggle with mediocrity finishing in third place again with a less then stellar record of 7-9.
1979: The Lions go from bad to worse as they win just two games while finishing dead last in the NFL with a horrendous record of 2-14.
1980: After their miserable season, the Lions select Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims with first pick in the NFL draft. In his first season Sims sets the NFL on its ear as rushes his way to the Offensive Rookie of the Year while carrying the Lions back to respectability. The Lions would improve to 9-7, and finish and miss out on a playoff birth and the NFC Central title by a tiebreaker against the Minnesota Vikings.
1981: Billy Sims continues to play solid football 1,888 total yards in offense while scoring a team high 14 touchdowns. However, the Lions could do no better then finishing in second place with a mediocre 8-8 record.
1982: In a season tainted by a strike that wipes out seven games, and reduces the NFL season to nine games the Lions are among eight teams that qualify for the playoffs in the NFC despite a 4-5 record. As the eighth seed the Lions are matched against the Washington Redskins in the first round. The game ends up not being much of a contest as the eventual Super Bowl Champions slaughter the Lions 31-7.
1983: With a 9-7 record the Lions are able to rise to the top of a weak NFC Central, to claim their first division championship since 1957. In the playoffs the Lions lead the San Francisco 49ers late in the 4th Quarter, until Joe Montana drives the 49ers down the field for a 14-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Solomon to give the 49ers a 24-23 lead. The Lions would have a chance to win the game, as Gary Danielson drove them into field goal range, but Kicker Eddie Murray missed a 44-yard field goal with five seconds remaining.
1984: The Lions suffer through injury and frustration during a woeful 4-11-1 season. However, the most painful news comes when Running Back Billy Sims suffers a career ending knee injury. In just five seasons Sims would set the Lions career rushing mark at 5,106.
1985: The Lions continue to roam in the desert of mediocrity as they finish in fourth place with a less than stellar record of 7-9.
1986: The struggles continue for the Lions as they finish in third place with a terrible record of 5-11.
1987: The miserable play of the Lions continues as they finish in last place with an awful record of 4-11, as Quarterback Chuck Long has an awful season with just 11 Touchdowns compared to 20 interceptions.
1988: The Lions fail to reach five wins for the second straight season as they finish in third place with a horrendous record of 4-12, with two of their wins coming against the last place Green Bay Packers as the Lions finished in fourth place.
1989: After three straight season in which the Lions failed to win more then five games the Lions try to repeat history by reviving their fortunes by picking another Running Back who won the Heisman in the first round. This time the Running Back was named Barry Sanders, and much like Billy Sims nine years earlier Sanders takes home the Offensive Rookie of the Year, and helps the Lions to a more respectable 7-9 record.
1990: Despite another stellar season from Barry Sanders who scores 16 touchdowns the Lions take a step backward and finish in third place with a disappointing record of 6-10, as they struggled to find a consistent Quarterback.
1991: With Barry Sanders clearly establishing himself as the best Rusher in the NFL, the Lions find themselves in the hunt for the postseason. On November 17th the Lions enter a game with Los Angeles Rams with a 6-4 record. The Lions would go on to win the game 21-10, but any joy from the victory was taken away when Guard Mike Utley goes down with a serve neck injury. The Lions, Rams, and fans at the Silverdome were forced to look on helpless, as Utley lay on the field unable to move. After his neck was stabilized Utley, who would wind up paralyzed muster up enough strength to lift his thumb, and tell his teammates everything would be alright. The Lions would take “Thumbs up” as a rallying call, and would win their next six games to claim the Central Division title with a franchise high 12 wins. In the Divisional Playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys the Lions would host their first home playoff game since 1957. Still using Mike Utley as inspiration the Lions turn a close game at halftime in to 38-6 rout as the Lions are able to win in the postseason for the first time since 1957. The win would earn the Lions a birth in the NFC Championship game. For the first time ever the Lions were four quarters away from the Super Bowl. However, the Lions would find them on the road in Washington a city in which they had not won since 1935. In what would be a repeat of the season’s first game the Redskins would rout the Lions 41-10 to advance to on the Super Bowl in which they were victorious. Sadly the Lions are forced to deal with tragedy once again in the offseason, when Guard Eric Andolsek is killed by a dunk driver while mowing his front lawn during the off season.
1992: Coming of an inspirational 12-4 season that brought them to within one game of the Super Bowl the Lions were expected to once again challenge for the NFC title. However, the Lions would suffer a disappointing 5-11 season. The only bright spot of the season would come when Barry Sanders passed Billy Sims for the franchise record in rushing on November 22nd.
1993: After a disappointing season, the Lions bounce back nicely, and challenge the Minnesota Vikings, and Green Bay Packers all season for the NFC Central Title. The battle for the Division would go down to the regular season’s final game, as the Lions would win their second division title in three years with a 30-20 win over the Packers at the Silverdome. However, just six days later the sixth seeded Packers would return to Pontiac and stun the Lions 28-24 to advance to the second Round of the Playoffs.
1994: Highlighted by a November 13th game in which he rushed for a franchise record 237 yards, Barry Sanders sets a new single season record in rushing yards with 1,883. The Lions would use this to carry them into the playoffs with a 9-7 record where they found themselves in a Wild Card round rematch with the Packers. In the game played in Green Bay’s Lambeau Field Barry Sanders had a tough time getting his footing as the Packers knocked the Lions out for the second year in a row 16-12.
1995: With Quarterback Scott Mitchell setting a new franchise record in Touchdown passes with 32, and receivers Herman Moore and Brett Perriman setting NFL record for most catches and receiving yards by teammates in a season the Lions show there is more to the team then just Barry Sanders. With a 10-6 record the Lions make the playoffs for a third consecutive season. However, for the third straight year they are knocked out in the Wild Card round this time it’s their defense that falters them in a 58-37 loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia.
1996: Coach Wayne Fontes who always seemed on the verge of getting fired only to rally the Lions into the playoffs is finally let go after a woeful 5-11 last place finish. Despite the struggles Barry Sanders has another impressive season with 1,553 yards rushing.
1997: The Lions rebound with Barry Sanders once again leading the way, in what would end up being a career year for Sanders who becomes just the third player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season with 2,053. Sanders would later be named Co-MVP, as the Lions finished 9-7 to make the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. However, once again the Lions could not get past the Wild Card, as the Buccaneers beat the Lions 20-10 in Tampa.
1998: Despite another outstanding season from Barry Sanders the Lions suffer through another poor season as they finish in fourth place with a record of 5-11, as their defense allows a robust 378 points.
1999: The Lions franchise is dealt another blow when Barry Sanders, fed up with losing every season, suddenly retires at the start of training camp. However thanks to some unexpected help from Quarterback Charlie Batch the Loins would put together a solid 8-8 season, which was good enough to sneak in to the playoffs as the sixth seed in a weak NFC. In the Wild Card round in Washington, the Lions would end up not providing much of a challenge as the Redskins tamed the Lions 28-13.
2000: The Lions get off to a fast start winning five of their first seven games. However after back to back loses Head Coach Bobby Ross suddenly resigns, and linebackers coach Gary Moeller takes over. Under Moeller the Lions win their first three games, and look like a lock for the playoffs with n 8-4 record. However, the Lions would lose three of their final four games and would wind up on the outside looking in. Moeller would himself be let go after the season when new club president Matt Millen takes over and hires Marty Mornhinweg too lead the Lions into the future.
2001: The final season in the Pontiac Silverdome was one the Lions would rather forget. The Lions went through three Quarterbacks, and became the punch line of countless jokes as they lost their first 11 games. On December 16th rookie Quarterback Mike McMahon finally ended the Lions season long frustrations by leading the way in a win over the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions would go on to finish with a franchise worst 14 losses. However, they were able to end the season on a positive not by winning just their second game of the season on January 5th against the Dallas Cowboy to close out the Silverdome.
2002: Coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history the Lions hoped to be able to begin a new era from scratch as they opened a new stadium in downtown Detroit, with a rookie Quarterback Joey Harrington. After losing their first two games on the road Harrington would make his debut as the Lions played the Green Bay Packers in the first game at Ford Field. Harrington would have a solid game as the Lions lost 37-31. Though showing typical rookie inconstancy Harrington would help lead the Lions to three wins their next five games. However, then it would fall apart as fans in Detroit called for the jobs of GM Matt Millen and Coach Marty Morhinweg. The criticism of Mornhinweg grew even louder when he chose to kickoff in overtime in a November 24th road game against the Chicago Bears. The Bears would score on their first possession as the Lions and Morhinweg became the butt of jokes again. The Lions would go on to lose their final eight games and finish in last place with a 3-13 record. Following the season Mornhinweg would be fired as the Lions hired former San Francisco 49ers Coach Steve Mariucci, who has a solid reputation of turning young Quarterbacks into winners.
2003: The began the Steve Mariucci in style with a solid 42-24 win over the Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field, as Joey Harrington had four Touchdown passes. However the joy would be short lived as the Lions lost their next 6 games, as super rookie Wide Receiver Charlie Rogers is lost for the season to a collarbone injury. The Lions would go on to finish the season in last place again with a 5-11 record. The Lions would play solid football all season at Ford Field but the road would be their undoing as they lost all eight road games for the third season in a row establishing a new NFL record for road futility with 24 straight losses.
2004: The Lions begin the season by ending three years of frustration ending their record 24-game road losing streak by beating the Chicago Bears 20-16. A week later in their home opener the Lions would improve to 2-0 with a win over the Houston Texans. After a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles the Lions would win another road game stunning the Atlanta Falcons 17-10. However that would be the highest peak the Lions would reach as they struggled the rest of the way winning just three more games as they posted a 6-10 record as fans began to question weather Quarterback Joey Harrington was ever going to live up to the hype he got when the Lions drafted him. While Harrington was booed by fans, two rookies gave Lions fans hope Running Back Kevin Jones who led the team with 1,133 Touchdown, and Wide Receiver Roy Williams ho had a team high eight Touchdowns while collecting 817 yards in receptions.
2005: The Lions started the season successfully shutting down the Green Bay Packers in a 17-3 win at Ford Field. However, it was a passing moment in another gloomy season, as the Lions were badly beaten 38-6 by the Chicago Bears in Week 2 as the Lions lost three of their first five games, before Quarterback Joey Harrington was benched. The Lions would split their next two games with Jeff Garcia, before an injury allowed Harrington another chance to lead the Lions. However, it was becoming clearer by the minute the Lions had a megabust on their hands as the one time number two overall pick struggled again, as the Lions saw another season quickly go up in smoke. After three weeks of Joey Harrington struggling, Jeff Garcia returned as the Lions were lifeless in a 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving. Fans fed up and frustrated began to call for the ouster of General Manager Matt Millen, as Coach Steve Mariucci was discarded like the Turkey carcass, a few days later. With Interim Coach Dick Jauron leading the way the rest of the years and angry fan protest, the Lions would win just one of their final seven games finishing in third place with an awful 5-11 record. Following the season, Lions fans would be furious again as Millen kept his job, while Rod Marinelli was named the new head coach, as Quarterback Joey Harrington was released.
2006: The Lions started the Rod Marinelli with a morale victory as they gave the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks all they could handle and more, holding reigning NFL MVP Shaun Alexander to 51 yards rushing as they held the Seahawks out of the endzone. However, in the end the Seahawks would win the battle of field goals 9-6. The next four games would not be as satisfying as the Lions started 0-5. The Lions would finally earn their first against the Buffalo Bills 20-17. After a road loss to the New York Jets, the Lions won their second straight home game against the Atlanta Falcons, as the Lions defense bottled up Michael Vick, as Kevin Jones rushed for 110 yards with two touchdowns. However, that win would be the last for a while as they endured yet another terrible season losing their next seven games before ending the season with a win over the Dallas Cowboys as they finished 3-13 with the worst record in the NFC. Along the way the familiar refrain of “Fire Millen” filled the air, as their Thanksgiving loss to the Miami Dolphins was especially hard to swallow, as Joey Harrington returned with a chorus of boos, and led the Dolphins to a 27-10 win with three touchdown passes.
2007: General Manager Matt Millen continued to look to the receiving game in the NFL Draft as he selected Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech with the number two overall pick, a choice that was not heavily criticized because Johnson was considered by many to be the best overall player in the draft. A new confident Lions team started the season as Quarterback Jon Kitna boldly predicted the Lions would win ten games, a prediction that seemed laughable when looking at recent seasons in Detroit. However, with Kitna leading the way the Lions actually got off to a good start winning their first two games including a dramatic 20-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the home opener, as Jon Kitna overcame a slight concussion to lead the winning drive that was capped by a 37-yard Field Goal from Jason Hanson. After taking their lumps in a 56-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on the road the Lions scored 34 points in the fourth quarter to stun the Chicago Bears 37-27 at Ford Field. After another ugly road loss the Lions took a step towards reaching Kitna’s goal of ten wins, as they completed a stunning sweep of the Bears by winning in Solider Field 16-7. At 6-2 the Lions were sitting in strong position to reach the playoffs, but ahead was the toughest part of the schedule, and despite their solid record they would need to play better in the second half to keep it up. However, beginning with a stunning 31-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals the Lions quickly came crashing to earth as six in a row while playing the toughest part of the schedule. The Lions would end the losing streak by beating the Kansas City Chiefs 25-20 in Week 16, but the damage had been done as the Lions with one of the league’s poorest defenses finished with a losing record again at 7-9. However, while his goal of ten wins did not come true, Jon Kitna did everything he could; passing for over 4,000 yards for the second straight season.
2008: Rock Bottom, it is defined as the lowest possible level or absolute bottom, in 2008 the Lions set a new standard for bottoming out as the Matt Millen era ended in the ugliest way possible, with an 0-16 season. Unbelievably the Lions actually entered the season feeling good about themselves with a perfect 4-0 pre-season, but true Lions fans knew it was not for real, as mock T-shirts, pre-season champions were printed up with the Lions losing to the Atlanta Falcons led by Rookie Quarterback Matt Ryan 31-24. In their home opener the Lions suffered another ugly defeat, losing to the Green Bay Packers 48-25. Following a 31-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, General Manager Matt Millen would be given a $50 million buyout that would be paid out over the final 10 years of the contract. Of course with the Lions holding a 31-84 record during his tenure it almost seemed like insult to injury. New General Manager focusing on the future would deal Wide Receiver Roy Williams, as the Lions continued to struggle losing 34-7 in Week 5, as Quarterback Jon Kitna suffered a season ending injury. Kitna’s replacement Dan Orlovsky further embarrassed the Lions by stepping out the back of the endzone for a safety in a 12-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The losses continued to mount all season long as Coach Rod Marinelli suffered all season long with painful press conferences trying his best to put a happy face on a bad situation. Not even former All-Pro Quarterback Daunte Culpepper could prevent the Lions from total embarrassment, as the Lions went on to become the first team to lose every game in a 16-game season.
2009: Picking up the pieces from a 0-16 season, the Lions started the process of rebuilding, hiring Jim Schwartz as their new Head Coach, while drafting Quarterback Matthew Stafford of Georgia with the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft. The Lions even tweaked their logo, adding more detail to the lunging lion to make the logo look more ferocious. After dropping their first two games to start the season, the Lions ended their 19 game losing streak, by beating the Washington Redskins 19-14 at Ford Field on September 27th. A week after ending their long losing streak the Lions were once again in the loss column as they were blitzed on the road by the Chicago Bears 48-24. A week later back with back up Daunte Culpepper playing for an injured Matthew Stafford the Lions put up a much better showing, but in the end lost again to the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-20. However, they could not bring it on the road as Stafford returned and the Lions were blanked by the Green Bay Packers 26-0, as they entered the bye week with a record of 1-5. Against the St. Louis Rams following the bye week, the Lions again had a chance to win as the game was tied 10-10 late in the 4th Quarter. However, Stephen Jackson of the Rams scored on a 25 yard run to give the Rams a 17-10 win with less than two minutes left, it would be the only win on the season for the Rams. Following back to back losses the Lions entered a game with the 1-8 Cleveland Browns at Ford Field hoping to get a second win in a game that on paper looked like one of the worst games imaginable. Instead it became one of the best games seen by Lions fans in years as they two terrible teams looked like contenders for a day in one of the most entertaining and dramatic games of the season. The Lions tailed in the final seconds 37-31 after a back and forth battle. With time running out Matthew Stafford threw up a prayer from midfield. An interference call on Browns safety Hank Poteat gave the Lions another chance from the one with an untimed down since a game cannot end on a defensive penalty. However, on the play Stafford was hit and injured his shoulder and lay on the ground. In the confusion as Daunte Culpepper prepared to take the final snap the Browns called timeout. This allowed Stafford who was still in pain to get back on the field and find Brandon Pettigrew for a touchdown, which along with the point after gave the Lions a 38-37 win. For his heroic performance along with 422 yards passing and five touchdowns Stafford was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Unfortunately the Lions could not build off the win, as Stafford would miss the final four games of the season, as the Lions lost their final six games to finish in last place again with a record of 2-14.
2010: The Lions continued to build their team by drafting blue chip Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh from Nebraska, with the second overall pick. The Lions also added veteran leadership to the defense by signing Free Agent Defensive End Kyle Vanden Bosch, who Jim Schwartz had coached with the Tennessee Titans. When the season began for the Lions, they showed right away they would no longer be pushovers as they gave the Chicago Bears all they could handle on the road, as they jumped out to a 14-3 lead. However, with Quarterback Matthew Stafford suffering a shoulder injury the Bears, would claw their way back into the game, taking a 19-14 lead with 1:32 left in the game. The Lions would answer back as Shaun Hill appeared to have connected with Calvin Johnson in the endzone with 31 seconds left. John had gotten both feet down in the back of the endzone before going to the ground and losing the ball. After a review the touchdown was wiped off, because of a new NFL rule that a receiver had to maintain possession after landing on the ground. The controversial call helped the Bears hold on to win 19-14. In their home opener the Lions, with Shaun Hill starting for Stafford again jumped out early leading 17-7 in the 2nd Quarter. However, the Eagles soared back and took a 35-17 late in the 4th Quarter. The Lions would make a comeback late, but again fell short, losing 35-31 as Rookie RB Jahvid Best had a break out game with three Touchdowns. After a lackluster 24-10 loss on the road to the Minnesota Vikings, the Lions again showed the ability to compete, as they played the Green Bay Packers tough in Lambeau Field. However, Shaun Hill had a pass intercepted and returned for a Touchdown by Charles Woodson as the Packers won 28-26. After losing their first four games, the Lions hard work finally paid off as they beat up the St. Louis Rams 44-6 at Ford Field, with Shaun Hill passing for 227 yards, with three touchdowns, helping to bring a charge to the crowd was a 105 yard kickoff return from Stefan Logan at the start of the 2nd Quarter. A week leader on the road, the Lions again played well and came up short losing to the New York Giants 28-20 as third string QB Drew Stanton was forced into action after Shaun Hill broke his left arm. After entering the bye week with a 1-5 record, the Lions were happy to see the return of Matthew Stafford as they hosted the Washington Redskins. Leading 14-13 entering the 4th Quarter, the Lions again saw a lead slip away as the Redskins took a 19-14 lead on a Keiland Williams TD run. The Lions would answer back on a Calvin Johnson Touchdown reception, but the Skins again took the lead 25-20 on Brandon Banks kick return. Another Calvin Johnson Touchdown catch would give the Lions the lead for good as Jason Hanson added a field goal and Ndamukong Suh fumble return. A week later the Lions would suffer their most frustrating loss to date, as they blew a late 20-10 lead in the 4th Quarter to the New York Jets at Ford Field, losing in overtime 23-20. Making matters worse the Lions lost both Kicker Jason Hanson, and QB Matthew Stafford, who reinjured his shoulder for the remainder of the season. Against the Buffalo Bills a late rally would fall short as they lost 14-12. The loss was their 25th straight road defeat breaking their own dubious record. The next two games saw the Lions tease their fans again as close games against the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots on Thanksgiving became blowouts in the 4th Quarter. With Drew Stanton taking over at Quarterback, the Lions lost another heartbreaker at home to the Bears 24-20. The loss dropped them to 2-10, insuring the tenth 10 loss season in 11 years. The Lions defense was beginning to take shape as December arrived as they stunned the Packers 7-3, knocking out QB Aaron Rodgers along the way. The Lions who suffered heartbreaking losses throughout the year, final dished out some ajita of their own as they stunned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-20 to end their 26 game road losing streak. The big hero was Kicker Dave Rayner who tied the game as regulation ended and won the game with a 34 yard kick in overtime. A week later the Sun would shine on the Lions again in Florida, as they overcame a 27-17 4th Quarter deficit to beat the Miami Dolphins 34-27, with DeAndre Levy’s 30 yard interception return with 2:11 left providing the winning score. The Lions would return home and beat the Vikings 20-13 to finish the year with a 6-10 record. However, their four game winning streak to close the season helped set up hope in Detroit for the first time in years, as Ndamukong Suh was named Defensive Rookie of the Year.
2011: After ending the2010 season with a four game winning streak, there was a sense of renewed optimism and enthusiasm surrounding the Detroit Lions. Starting the year on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Lions got off to a strong start, as they won on opening day for the first time since, beating the Buccaneers 27-20 as Matthew Stafford passed for 305 yards with three touchdowns. Stafford and the Lions were even stronger in their home opener as they crushed the Kansas City Chiefs 48-7. In the game Matthew Stafford passed for 294 yard, with four touchdowns. In Week 3 the Lions demonstrated the ability to comeback as they rallied from down 20-0 at halftime to beat the Minnesota Vikings on the road 26-23 in overtime. Once again, Matthew Stafford had a strong game, passing for 378 yards, with two touchdown passes to Calvin Johnson. It marked the third straight game that the Megatron had two TD catches. Also playing a key role in the comeback was the Lions ageless Kicker Jason Hanson in his 20th season with the Lions had three Field Goals including the game winning 32 yarder in overtime. A week later against the Dallas Cowboys, the Lions would make an even bigger comeback as they trailed on the road 27-3, early in the third quarter. The game’s momentum swung, when the Lions had two interceptions return for touchdowns in the third quarter. The first one by Bobby Carpenter was run back 34 yards, while Chris Houston ran one back 56 yards. From there it was up to Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson who again combined for two touchdowns as the Lions improved to 4-0 with a 34-30 win. The Lions would return home for Week 4, for their first Monday Night appearance since 2001. A record crowd of nearly 68,000 was on hand as the Lions faced the Chicago Bears. The crowd would play a big role as they forced the Bears to commit nine false start penalties. The Lions would win the game 24-13, with the big play coming in the third quarter as RB Jahvid Best had a career high 88 yard Touchdown run. With the win the Lions posted their first 5-0 start since 1956. The Lions nine game winning streak would come to an end a week later, as they were beaten by the San Francisco 49ers 25-19 at Ford Field. During the game, the Lions suffered a big loss as Jahvid Best suffered a season ending concussion. Following the game, Lions Coach Jim Schwartz got in an altercation with 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh over a perceived slight in the postgame handshake. The Lions would suffer a second straight home loss the following week, as they were beaten by the Atlanta Falcons 23-16, despite a 57 yard Touchdown reception by Calvin Johnson. The Lions would recover to maul the Denver Broncos in Week 8 as they made life miserable for Broncos QB Tim Tebow, with Cliff Avril returning a Tebow fumble 24 yards for a Touchdown, and Chris Houston going 100 yards with an interception return. After going into the bye week with a record of 6-2, the Lions played their worst game of the season, committing six turnovers as they lost to the Chicago Bears 37-13. The Lions continued to struggle the following week as they trailed the Carolina Panthers 24-7 in the second quarter at Ford Field. However, the Lions would come roaring back as Running Back Kevin Smith, who was re-signed after Best’s injury rushed for 140 yards with two touchdowns, as Stafford had five touchdowns to lead the Lions to 49-35 win over the Panthers. At 7-3, the Lions would head into a showdown with the unbeaten Green Bay Packers, in the most anticipated Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit in years. The Lions would put forth a good defensive effort, but could not get their offense going as they trailed 7-0 at the half. In the third quarter, the Lions would begin to unravel as Ndamukong Suh stepped on Evan Dietrich-Smith’s arm. Suh would get ejected as the Packers pulled away to win the game 27-15. Suh would be suspended the next two games for his actions. Playing on Sunday Night the following week, the Lions would lose again, 35-21 to the New Orleans Saints. Coming home the Lions would finally get back in track with a solid 34-28 win over the Vikings. The Lions took control early, with three touchdowns in the first quarter, as Stephen Tulloch recovered a fumble by Vikings QB Christian Ponder in the endzone to get the Lions started. Alphonso Smith would return an interception 30 yards. However, things would get tight at the end, as the Vikings drove down the field late in the game, as DeAndre Levy got away with a facemask on the final play of the game that would have given the ball to the Vikings near the goal line. Ndamukong Suh would return as the Lions faced the Oakland Raiders on the road. Down 27-14 in the fourth quarter, the Lions would rally with two Matthew Stafford Touchdowns, with a six yard pass to Calvin Johnson giving them a 28-27 lead with 43 seconds left. The Raiders would quickly scamper down the field, but Suh would block Sebastien Janikowski’s attempt at a record 65 yard field goal. The following week was Christmas Eve, and against the San Diego Chgargers at Ford Field the Lions unwrapped the present of a playoff spot, beating the Chargers 38-10, as Matthew Stafford had another solid game with 373 yards three touchdown passes. The Lions would finish the season with a 45-41 shootout loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field. Despite the loss Calvin Johnson had a big day, with 244 receiving yards, as Matthew Stafford passed for a career best 520 yards. With the loss the Lions finished 10-6, earning the sixth seed in the playoffs. At season’s end Calvin Johnson led the NFL with 1,681 yards while Stafford finished third in passing with 5,038 yards.
2011 Playoffs: With the sixth seed, the Lions again would head down to the Superdome for a game against the high powered New Orleans Saints offense. The Lions would play solid football early, as they grabbed a 14-10 lead at the half. However, in the second half the Saints offense would begin to role, as they scored five touchdowns on the way to a 45-28 win. Despite the loss Calvin Johnson was impressive in his first postseason game, with 211 yards and two touchdowns.
2012: Coming off their first playoff appearance since 1999, the Lions opened the season against the St. Louis Rams at Ford Field. It would be a rough day for Matthew Stafford, who was picked off three times. However, he would lead an 80 yard drive in final minutes to give the Lions a 27-23 win as he connected with Kevin Smith on a five yard screen pass with 1:45 left. Following two road losses against the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans, the Lions hosted the Minnesota Vikings looking to get their season back on track. However, terrible special teams play doomed the Lions from the start as Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown. The Vikings would later get a 77 yard punt return for a TD by Marcus Sherels in the 3rd Quarter and would win the game 20-13. After hitting the bye week with a disappointing record of 1-3, the Lions faced a must win on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles and rallied from down 23-13 to tie the game at the end of regulation on a Field Goal by Jason Hanson. In overtime, Hanson in his 21st season with the Lions would a 45 yard Field Goal on the second possession of overtime. However, on Monday Night Football the Lions struggles in Soldier Field continued as they suffered a 13-7 loss to the Chicago Bears to stay trapped in last place. Returning home to Ford Field, the Lions season appeared to be on the brink as the Seattle Seahawks held a 24-21 lead late in the 4th Quarter. The Lions would drive down the field with time running out and win the game 28-24 as Titus Young caught a one yard pass from Matthew Stafford. With three touchdowns by Mikel Leshoure in the 2nd Quarter the Lions would get back to .500 by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road 31-14. However, the Lions struggles against NFC North rivals continued as they dropped their next two games against the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. The loss to the Packers was especially frustrating as Lions saw a 20-14 slip away in the final two minutes at Ford Field. Four days later the Packers would experience even more frustration in the Thanksgiving game against the Houston Texans. With the Lions leading 24-14, Justin Forsett scored on an 81 yard Touchdown run. Replays clearly showed Fosett was down after a short gain, and an automatic review would have reversed the call. However, Lions Coach Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag, which drew a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty. The penalty counted as a play and barred any review. The Texans would rally to tie the game at the end of the 3rd Quarter. The Lions regained the lead on a Joique Bell Touchdown run. The Texans tough would force overtime, and would win the game 34-31 on a Field Goal by Shayne Graham. A week later it would be even more heartache in Detroit as the Indianapolis Colts won 35-33 with two touchdowns in the final two minutes, including a game winning 14 yard pass from Andrew Luck to Donnie Avery as time expired. It marked the third straight week the Lions lost a game at Ford Field in which they led in the final two minutes. The Lions would not recover as they would lose their final four games, eight straight overall and finished the season with a disappointing record of 4-12. The losses including an embarrassing 0-6 record against the NFC North. Perhaps the only highlight of the season was the play of the Megatron Calvin Johnson, who set a NFL single season record with 1,964 total receiving yards.
2013: After a disappointing season, the Lions hoped to rebound and return to the playoffs. In Week 1, they took a big step forward beating the Minnesota Vikings 34-24, as Reggie Bush had an immediate impact in his Lions debut collecting 191 All-Purpose yards highlighted by a 77 yard touchdown reception. A week later the Lions would suffer a letdown losing a 25-21 to the Arizona Cardinals on the road. The Lions were in control most of the game, with Calvin Johnson scoring twice, including a 72 yard pass play from Matthew Stafford. Meanwhile DeAndre Levy gave the Lions a 21-13 lead with a 66 yard pick six. However, the Cardinals would score 12 unanswered points in the final 20 minutes to stun the Lions. In Week 3 the Lions would end one of the longest droughts in NFL history as they beat the Washington Redskins on the road 27-20. The last time the Lions won a road game against the Redskins was 1935 when they still called Boston home. For nearly 80 years the Lions made 21 trips into Washington and each time had lost. Leading the way in victory was Matthew Stafford who had 385 passing yards, with two touchdowns. Returning home to face the Chicago Bears, the Lions had a 27 point eruption in the second quarter and never looked back as they ran their record to 3-1 with a 40-32 win that was not nearly as close as the score suggested. The Lions defense was strong most of the game forcing four turnover as the Bears scored 16 points late in the game to make the game look closer. A week later the Lions other house of horrors continued its hold over them as they lost for the 21st straight time at Lambeau Field as the Green Bay Packers won the game 22-9. The Lions would rebound the following week with a solid 31-17 win over the Cleveland Browns as Matthew Stafford passed for 248 yards with four touchdowns. Stafford would have another strong game in Week 7, passing for 357 yards and three scores. However, the Lions would lose a heartbreaker to the Cincinnati Bengals 27-24 on a Mike Nugent Field Goal as time expired. Things looked bleak the following week as they trailed the Dallas Cowboys 27-17 late in the fourth quarter. The Lions would begin to claw their way back on a touchdown by Reggie Bush. However, on the next possession the Lions would turn it over on downs, all but ending their hopes of a comeback win. The Cowboys failed to run out the clock only taking 22 seconds as they added three points on a Field Goal by Dan Bailey. With 1:02 left and no timeouts, the Lions got a big chunk of yards on 40 yard pass from Stafford to Kris Durham down to the Dallas 23. On the next play, Matthew Stafford found Calvin Johnson and got the ball down to the one yard line. Time was still ticking and the Cowboys expected Matthew Stafford to clock the ball instead he ran a sneak up the middle and scored a touchdown that would win the game 31-30 on David Akers extra point. After entering the bye week with a record of 5-3, the Lions faced the Bears at Soldier Field looking to sweep their rivals from the Windy City for the first time in six years. The Lions would build a 21-13 lead as Calvin Johnson had 83 yards on six catches with two touchdowns, setting a new franchise record with 63 touchdowns. The Lions would eventually hold on to win the game 21-19 as they turned aside a game tying two point attempt with 40 seconds left to move into first place. In Week 11 the Lions started slowly trailing 14-0 to the Pittsburgh Steelers after the first quarter. The Lions would have another 27 point second quarter to turn the game in their favor. However, they would not add to it in the second half as the Steelers won the game 17 unanswered points 40-27 on a sloppy Sunday afternoon in Heinz Field. The Lions would suffer another letdown a week later as they lost at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-21 in a game in which they committed five turnovers. The Lions still were in control of the NFC North as they ended decade of Thanksgiving heartburn by feasting on the banged up Packers 40-10. Matthew Stafford had a big game with 330 yards and three touchdowns, with Calvin Johnson having 101 receiving yards and Reggie Bush having 117 rushing yards. At 7-5 the Lions were in the driver’s seat for their first division title in 20 years. However, in December the wheels would come off as the Lions lost their final four games. It all started in the snow in Philadelphia as the Lions lost to the Eagles 34-20 allowing four touchdowns in the fourth quarter. A week later they would lose on Monday Night at Ford Field to the Baltimore Ravens on six field goals by Justin Tucker including a 61 yard kick with 38 seconds left. A week later the Lions would see another game slip away when Will Hill returned a Matthew Stafford pass 38 yards for an touchdown tying the game 20-20 late in the fourth quarter the New York Giants would win the game in overtime 23-20 eliminating the Lions from playoff contention. The Lions would end the season with a 14-13 loss in Minnesota, finishing with a record of 7-9. The December collapse would lead to changes in Detroit as Jim Schwartz and his entire coaching staff was fired.
2014: The Detroit Lions opened the season on Monday Night, hosting the New York Giants in Jim Caldwell’s first game as coach. Coming off two disappointing seasons, the Lions were playing in honor of longtime Owner William Clay Ford, who died at the age of 88 in the off-season. The Lions would start the season with a bang as Calvin Johnson caught a 67 yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford on their first possession. Stafford would connect with Megatron twice in the first quarter and added a touchdown run as the Lions scored an impressive 35-14 win. However, the Lions would stumble a week later, as they managed just one score in a 24-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Returning home the Lions had a strong defensive effort against the Green Bay Packers, allowing just seven points, while holding Aaron Rodgers to 162 yards. The Lions defense even did their own scoring as Don Carey returned a fumble created by Nick Fairley 40 yards for an early first quarter touchdown. They also scored a safety when DeAndre Levy took down Eddie Lacy in the endzone. When the game was over the Lions were in first place with a 19-7 win. A week later in the Meadowlands the Lions continued their strong start building a 17-3 halftime lead against the New York Jets. Stafford once again had a strong game with two touchdown passes and a touchdown run, highlighted by a 59 yard score to Jeremy Ross. Returning home to face the Buffalo Bills the Lions got off to a good start, with a 14-0 lead as Rashean Mathis returned an interception 41 yards. However, the Lions were unable to score again, as Alex Henery missed three Field Goals including a 52 yarder with 26 seconds left after the Bills rallied to tie the game. Following Henery’s miss the Bills would quickly get down the field, and won the game 17-14 as time expired on 58 yard Field Goal by Dan Carpenter. The Lions defense would guide them to a win the following week, as they were without Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush who were injured and up able to play with injuries. The Lions would sack Rookie Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater eight times and forced three interceptions to defeat the Minnesota Vikings 17-3. Returning home for Week 7, the Lions still without Calvin Johnson trailed the New Orleans Saints all game including 23-10 late in the fourth quarter. However, the Lions would not go down quietly as Stafford connected with Golden Tate on a 73 yard touchdown pass with 3:38 left. On the next possession Glover Quin picked off Drew Brees setting Matthew Stafford and the Lions up at the Saints 14. The Lions would take the lead on a leaping grab by Corey Fuller in the endzone, as they went on to win the game 24-23. Traveling to London to face the Atlanta Falcons, the Lions appeared to be jet lagged with the 9:30 AM Detroit time start as the Falcons held a 21-0 halftime lead. Making matters worse Nick Fairley suffered a season ending knee injury celebrating a sack. Strange injuries were not new to the Lions as they were also without Tight End Joseph Fauria, who sprained an ankle attempting to stop is puppy from peeing on his rug. Fauria’s dog a Pomeranian Husky mix named Lil Ruffio would soon become an internet celebrity. The Lions would make up in the second half as Stafford and Tate connected on a 59 yard touchdown play. The Lions would continue to claw back in the game, with Theo Riddick catching a Stafford pass, but were unable to even the score as the two point attempt failed. Down 21-19 the Lions had one more chance to win the game with no time outs with the ball on their own six and 1:38 left. The Lions were able to get the ball down to the Falcons 25 yard line with four seconds left. Matt Prater who replaced Henery came on to win the game but missed a 43 year old Field Goal. However, a whistle had blown as the Lions had not gotten the snap off in time. A delay of game penalty would move the ball back five yards but gave them a second chance. This time Prater was good from 48 yards giving the Lions a 22-21 win. The Lions would have more late game magic following a bye week as they beat the Miami Dolphins 20-16 as Theo Riddick made a catch in the end zone with three seconds left on an 11 yard pass by Matthew Stafford. With three straight comeback wins the Lions were 7-2 for the first time since 1993. Week 10 would see a battle of the top two teams in the NFC, as the Lions faced the Arizona Cardinals. The game would see the Lions winning streak run dry in the desert as the Cardinals won the game 14-6. A week later in another battle of first place teams, the Lions would suffer a 34-9 loss to the New England Patriots in Foxboro. Things looked bad early four days later as they trailed the Chicago Bears 14-3 after the first quarter on Thanksgiving. The Lions would straighten out in the second quarter with three Matthew Stafford touchdown passes as they beat the Bears 34-17. That would also be the score a week later when the Lions beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to improve to 9-4. The Lions would need another comeback win in Week 15, as they trailed the Vikings 14-0 at Ford Field. However, the defense stiffened in the second half allowing the Lions to win the game 16-14. Rallying to beat the Bears in Soldier Field 20-14 the Lions would go into the final week with a playoff spot secure, needing a win to take the NFC North from the Packers at Lambeau Field. Unable to win in Green Bay since 1991, the Lions continued to struggle in Badger State, losing 30-20 to finish the year with a record of 11-5.
2014 Playoffs: Facing the Dallas Cowboys on the road in the Wild Card round, the Lions had to worry about the availability of Ndamukong Suh, who was initially suspended for stepping on Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. However, after reconsideration the Lions Defensive End was fined instead. Early on things looked good for the Lions as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead, with Golden Tate catching a 51 yard Touchdown Pass from Matthew Stafford and Reggie Bush scoring on an 18 yard run in the first quarter. The Cowboys would respond with a 76 yard reception by Terrance Williams, but for the first 40 minutes as the Lions held a 20-7 lead late in the third quarter. The Cowboys would crawl back in the game and cut the Lions lead to 20-17 with four minutes left. The Lions trying to put the game away appeared to be on the way to another score when Anthony Hitchens was called for pass inference on the Dallas 33 yard line. However, after the flag was announced the officials huddled and rescinded the penalty stopping the Lions drive cold. Replays showed that if not inference the play should have been defensive holding. Instead the Lions were forced to punt. Following a delay of game call the Lions appeared to be still confused when Sam Martin shanked to football for a ten yard punt. The Cowboys would then drive down the field and take the lead. The Lions would get the ball down to the Dallas 42 but would not go any further as Matthew Stafford was stripped and sacked to preserve a 24-20 win for the Cowboys.
2015: After their gut wrenching loss in the Wild Card round, the Detroit Lions losses continued in the off-season as they were unable to resigning Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Starting the season on the road against the San Diego Chargers, the Lions looked good early racing out to a 21-3 lead. The lead would not last as the Chargers would come roaring back and won the game 33-28 as Matthew Stafford had two costly interceptions. The Lions offense never could find any rhythm in 26-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The home opener on Sunday Night saw more pain for the Lions as they were doubled up by the Denver Broncos 24-12. A week later on Monday Night Football in Seattle the Lions had to feel as they were robbed, falling to 0-4 with a 13-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Late in the fourth quarter, Calvin Johnson caught a pass from Stafford and was heading into the endzone with a go-ahead score until Kam Chancellor punched the ball from his hands at the one yard line. The ball then bounded into the end zone, where K. J. Wright batted the ball across the end line. By NFL rules, the intentional guiding of the ball across the end line should have resulted in a penalty, giving the ball back to the Lions at the spot of the fumble. However, the back judge ruled that Wright’s act was not blatant, and Seattle was given the ball at their own 20-yard line on a touchback, allowing them to run out clock. In Week 5, Calvin Johnson made history by catching his 671st pass to break Herman Moore’s franchise record for receptions. It would be Detroit’s only highlight as Matthew Stafford is benched after throwing three interceptions during an ugly 42-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. In Week 6 Calvin Johnson has six catches for 166 yards, as the Lions finally earned their first win of the season by beating the Chicago Bears 37-34 at Ford Field, as his 57-yard catch in overtime set up Matt Prater for the game winning Field Goal from 27 yards. However, a week later the Lions would taste defeat again, falling to the Vikings 28-19. Following the game the Lions fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn and assistant offensive line coach Terry Heffernan. In London, the Lions first half came to an end with an ugly 45-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. After the bye week the Lions scored an 18-16 victory over the Green Bay Packers, winning their first game at Lambeau Field since 1991. After playing to a 3-3 stalemate in the first half the Lions got a jumpstart in the third quarter as Ameer Abdullah returned the second half kickoff out of the endzone all the way down to the Green Bay one setting up their first touchdown. Still the Lions had to sweat out another later Packers rally as Green Bay recovered an on-side kick, but missed a Field Goal as time expired. The win over the Packers would get the Lions back on track as they won their next two games, including a 45-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, as Matthew Stafford had superb game, passing for 337 yards with five touchdowns. A week later in a Thursday Night game against the Packers at Ford Field the Lions looked to be heading for a fourth straight win leading 23-20 in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter. The Lions appeared to have the game won as Aaron Rodgers was sacked by Devin Taylor, but Taylor was ruled to have brushed Rodgers facemask giving Green Bay one untimed down. Rodgers, would proceed to throw up a Hail Mary prayer that nearly hit the Ford Field rafters coming down in the arms of Richard Rodgers in the endzone to win the game for the Packers 27-23. Following their stinging loss on the Miracle in Motown the Lions were eliminated from playoff contention with a 21-14 loss to the St. Louis Rams. The Lions would recover and won their final three games, but again posted a losing record at 7-9.
2016: Expectations were not high for the Detroit Lions as the season began. The team had been stunned in the off-season when their leading playmaker Calvin Johnson decided to retire. Opening the season on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, the Lions got off to a good start taking a 21-3 lead in the second quarter. The Colts would battle back to tie the game in the fourth quarter, after the Lions regained the lead, as missed PAT nearly led to a loss as the Colts took a 35-34 lead with 37 seconds left. Matthew Stafford and Lions would not quit, as he quickly worked them into field goal range to set up Matt Prater for a 43-yard field goal with four seconds left. The Lions would add a safety on the final play of the game to leave Indianapolis with a surprise 39-35 victory. A week later in their home opener against the Tennessee Titans, the Lions would suffer a fourth quarter letdown, as the Titans scored 13-unanswered points to win the game 16-15. In Week 3, the Lions got a strong performance from Matthew Stafford who passed for 385 yards with three touchdowns but lost again as their struggles at Lambeau Field continued with a 34-27 loss to the Green Bay Packers. The Lions would suffer a third straight loss a week later, as their offense could not get anything going at Soldier Field in a 17-14 loss to the Chicago Bears. The Lions returned home for Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles and nearly saw a 21-10 halftime lead slip away, as the Eagles held a 23-21 lead late in the fourth quarter. However, Darius Slay saved the day first forcing a fumble by Ryan Matthews to set up Prater to give Detroit a 24-23 lead. He then preserved the win, by intercepting Carson Wentz. A week later against the Los Angeles Rams, the Lions rallied again in the fourth quarter, winning 31-28 as Stafford passed for 270 yards with four touchdowns. Fourth quarter wins would become the Lions specialty in 2016 as they completed a three-game home stand with a dramatic comeback against the Washington Redskins. The two teams battled back and forth in the fourth quarter with the Redskins taking a 17-13 lead with 1:05 left. Matthew Stafford would answer driving the Lions down the field 75 yards in six plays, hitting Anquan Bolding on an 18-yard pass to win the game 20-17 with 16 seconds left. Following a 20-13 loss to the Houston Texans, the Lions fourth quarter magic shined brightest in Minnesota against the Vikings. After holding a 13-9 lead, the Lions appeared to be heading for a gut wrenching loss as Rhett Ellison scored a go-ahead touchdown for the Vikings with 23 seconds left. The Lions would get down the field quickly and tie the game on a miracle 58-yard field goal by Matt Prater to force overtime. In overtime, the Lions would win the game 22-16 as Golden Tate scored on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford, performing a nasty stiff arm on Harrison Smith. Following the bye week, the Lions rallied again in the fourth quarter beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 26-19 to improve to 6-4 on the season and become the first team in NFL history to have their first ten games in a season decided by ten points or less. That trend would continue on Thanksgiving as Matt Prater kicked the Vikings to curb again, first tying the game on a 48-yard field goal with 1:48 left. After an interception by Darius Slay, the Lions would win the game 19-16 on a 40-yard kick as time expired. The Lions drive for the playoffs continued a week later, as they won on the road following Thanksgiving for the first time since 1974, beating the New Orleans Saints 28-13 as Stafford passed for 341 yards with two scores. Back home in Week 14, the Lions extended their winning streak to five games, as they stunned to the Bears 20-17. It was also their eighth fourth quarter comeback as Matthew Stafford scored the game winner with 3:16 left on a seven-yard quarterback sneak. The Lions magic would run out as they lost the next two games on the road, 17-6 to the New York Giants and 42-21 to the Dallas Cowboys. Despite those losses the Lions still had a playoff berth in their back pocket as they hosted the Packers in the final game of the regular season with the division title on the line. Unfortunately, the losses continued as the Packers with four touchdowns from Aaron Rodgers earned a 31-24 win as the Lions settled for the Wild Card at 9-7.
2016 Playoffs: The Detroit Lions would face a tough draw in the playoffs, facing the Seattle Seahawks on the road in the Wild Card Round. The Lions put up a strong defensive effort and had a chance to get the upset, trailing 10-6 entering the fourth quarter. However, Detroit seemed to run out of gas as the Seahawks scored 16 unanswered points to close out a 26-6 win. It was the ninth straight postseason loss for the Lions, setting a new NFL record.
2017: Hopes were high for the Detroit Lions in 2017 after getting a taste of the playoffs. Detroit re-signed Franchise Quarterback Matthew Stafford for five years, $135 million, making him the highest paid player in the league. Bob Quinn’s commitment to the offensive line and defense through Free Agency and the Draft gave the Lions a very promising young core of players, led by Linebacker Jarrad Davis. The Lions opened the season at home against the Arizona Cardinals where the loss of David Johnson killed Arizona’s offense. Rookie Kenny Golladay made his presence known with two Touchdowns in the game, with he and Stafford leading the Lions to a 35-23 victory. Week 2 saw the Lions visiting the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. Another solid outing from Matthew Stafford and veteran receiver Marvin Jones led the way, with rookie Jamal Agnew putting the game away in the fourth quarter with an 88-yard punt return touchdown for a 24-10 Lions victory. The Lions found themselves riding high with a 2-0 record heading into a Week 3 matchup at home against the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons. It was a hard-fought game until the end which saw some controversy when a Golden Tate touchdown was reversed to him being down before the end zone, a mandatory ten-second runoff took off the remaining clock in a controversial 30-26 loss. Week 4 was Detroit’s first divisional opponent, a visit to the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota’s run game was strong in the first half but an injury to Dalvin Cook stifled the Vikings offense allowing Detroit to score 11 unanswered points in the second half for a 14-7 victory. Week 5 brought the Carolina Panthers to Detroit where a strong third quarter had them leading 27-10 going into the final 15 minutes. Although Stafford threw for two touchdowns in the quarter it simply was not enough, as the Lions lost 27-24. Detroit’s Week 6 visit to the New Orleans Saints turned into a shootout at the Superdome with both defenses struggling throughout the game. Drew Brees was simply too much to handle for the Lions as the Saints took the game 52-38. Week 8 saw the Lions come off their bye week at 3-3 to host the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the Lions offense was able to move the ball, they couldn’t capitalize in the red zone ending the game with five Field Goals off the foot of Matt Prater, while a big game from Steeler’s rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster carried the Steelers to a 20-15 victory. Week 9 was a Monday Night matchup for the Lions visiting Lambeau Field. The Lions got a big game from Stafford and Marvin Jones who caught two touchdown passes as the Lions were able to take advantage of a Green Bay Packers offense without Aaron Rodgers winning the game 30-17. Detroit would then head back home to take on the winless Cleveland Browns who jumped out to an early 10-0 first quarter lead. From then on it was all about the Lions offense as Stafford would throw for three second-half touchdowns as the Lions won 38-24. The Lions would visit the Chicago Bears in week 11 and win the game 27-24 after Chicago kicker Connor Barth missed a game-tying field goal with eight seconds left making it the first time in franchise history the Lions had won every divisional road game. The Lions would then see their three-game winning streak with a tough 30-23 loss at home against the Vikings on Thanksgiving after a late defensive penalty nullified a Detroit pick six. Detroit’s Week 13 visit to the Baltimore Ravens would be their worst loss of the season as the defense struggled to contain Baltimore’s offense with a 44-20 loss. The Lions got a big game out of running back Theo Riddick in their Week 14 visit to Tampa Bay with two touchdowns and a late field goal from Matt Prater to give the Lions a 24-21 win. The Lions’ defense looked strong in Week 15 at home against the Bears with the offense giving just enough to give the Lions a 20-10 victory. The Lions played their final road game of the season in Week 16 at the Cincinnati Bengals, which saw a back and forth game eventually swing the Bengals’ way 26-17. The final game of the season saw the Lions host the Packers as the Lions offense put on a show putting up 35 points, including a two-point conversion pass from Tate to Stafford. The 35-11 victory would mark the first time since 1991 that the Lions had beaten the Packers in both matchups during the season. The victory would also give the Lions an overall record of 9-7 and just one game short of the Wildcard behind the Atlanta Falcons who had beaten the Lions off that controversial Week 3 reversed touchdown. As a result of missing the playoffs, the Lions made a change firing Coach Jim Caldwell.
Written by Cameron Pawl.