As the 2013 NFL regular season came to an end, the Detroit Lions were on the outside of the playoff picture once again. 2013 was a year full of ups and downs; here are the five moments Lions fans will remember most.
#5. “Snow Bowl”
On December 8th the Lions played the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in blizzard-like conditions. It was the type of game that kids would love to play in. The conditions were so bad that neither team attempted a field goal and the Lions attempted the only PAT of the game. There were reports that the snow on the field had reached depths up to eight inches, but it did not slow down the Eagles’ ground attack. LeSean McCoy set a franchise record with 217 rushing yards as the Eagles rushed for 303 yards as a team.
Philadelphia scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to beat Detroit 34-20.
#4. Megatron breaks another record
In just 14 games this season, Calvin Johnson recorded 1,492 receiving yards. Johnson’s 5,137 receiving yards since 2011 is the new record for the most receiving yards over a three-year span. The previous record was 4,850, set by Jerry Rice in 1995.
In week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys, Megatron nearly broke the single-game record for most receiving yards. Johnson caught 14 balls for 329 yards, falling just eight yards short of breaking the record.
#3. Impossible comeback
With just 1:24 left on the clock after Matthew Stafford was intercepted on fourth down by the Cowboys, it looked like the Lions were going to come up a bit short in week 8. The Cowboys took over in Lions’ territory and began to chew up as much of the clock as possible. After a 44-yard field goal gave Dallas a 30-24 lead, the Lions got the ball back with 1:02 to play and no timeouts. Stafford displayed outstanding poise and leadership as he led his team down the field.
As the Lions approached the redzone, Stafford connected with Megatron on a 22-yard pass that placed the ball on the 1-yard line. The clock continued to run as the Lions’ quarterback hurried his team to the line while signaling to spike the ball. Then, the unthinkable happened; just as the line was set, Stafford calls for the snap and leaps over the top of the pile to cross the goal line. Detroit went on to win the game 31-30.
#2. The collapse
In 2013 the NFC North consisted of only one team to have the same starting quarterback for all 16 games; that team was the Detroit Lions. The Lions surged to a 6-3 start to the season and had the outright lead of the division. Although Detroit had a fourth quarter lead in six of the final seven games, they only managed to win one of those games. Their 7-9 record kept the Lions out of the playoffs as they finished third in their division; a division won by the 8-7-1 Green Bay Packers.
#1. Head coaching change
The Lions fired head coach Jim Schwartz just one day after the regular season came to an end. Detroit’s inability to reach the playoffs was the main reason for the firing but the way the team carried out their business in the last few weeks of the season made it clear that the team was in need of a change.
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