The play that changed history
The kick that ended the streak. This play was the best of the season last year. Why? Because the long streak of 24 years where we couldn’t beat Green Bay at their own stadium is finally over. For the past two decades, it was a guaranteed loss every time we stepped on that field. Last season that ended with a 52 yard field goal that Mason Crosby missed. While last year wasn’t memorable, and a huge let down after making the playoffs in 2014, this is something that team can look back on and go “hey, we finally beat them at their own house.” Now sure, they came in to our house and beat us, but they got very lucky with a phantom facemask call and we didn’t have a streak against them so it wasn’t anything special.
Watching this game with my brother was suspenseful as we both watched the Lions not really dominate, but clearly they were the better team all game. Abdullah had that kick return go all the way to the one, and the team struggled to get that extra yard to score finally. With 32 seconds left, Green Bay gets a touchdown and they tried for the two point conversion only for Crezdon Butler to break up the pass. Calvin botched the onside kick and Green Bay had a shot. With that Green Bay had the chance to win a game they didn’t deserve to win. Detroit was the better team on defense and had a bad play with the onside kick. Luckily for Detroit, Mason Crosby would botch the kick, miss it and the streak would die.
Going into next season now Detroit doesn’t have that cloud hanging over their head, they don’t have to hear the media talk about the streak, the distractions about the game are over. They can come in, go to work and get ready for battle. Now it would be nice to start a streak in Green Bay, but let’s not get carried away with ourselves here.
The punt that wasn’t
Weeks one through five last year were pretty damn awful. The Lions suffered loss after loss, from the week one Chargers game where they fell behind having taken a commanding lead, to the thorough shafting administered by the Cardinals in week five. It was not a good start to their 2015 campaign, to say the least. Fans had watched through their hands as Stafford took hit after hit behind an o-line that leaked like a sieve, coming up bloodied and bruised but somehow staying fit enough to remain on the field. Anyone watching the Seahawks game would have heard Tyrunn Walker’s fibula snap spelling the end of his season in a game that also saw Haloti Ngata injured and out for the next two games. In short, the team was battered, and so was the morale of fans, some of whom had taken to booing the Lions on home turf and burning their jerseys.
Week six saw the Lions travel to play at Soldier Field, home of Smokin’ Jay Cutler and the Bears, where they were looking for a much-needed win against a divisional rival. After a tense three quarters, and well into the fourth with less than three minutes left on the game clock and trailing by seven points on 4th and 2 on their own 38, the Lions broke character. Isa Abdul-Quddus had the opportunity to take a direct snap and went for it, turning a fake punt into a 30 yard gain. Prater went on to score a field goal, cutting Chicago’s lead to four points; a Johnson touchdown followed by a Bears field goal brought the scores level at 34-34. Detroit went on to win the game, 37-34 in overtime, the first win of the 2015 season.
In the moment of that snap, where the ball angled away to IAQ, I saw a flash of what I knew the Lions could be, what I’d wanted to see for the past five weeks; that ballsy attitude that said “We can beat you. Watch us.” After a respectable 2014 season, the disastrous start to 2015 was frustrating and barely comprehensible – but that play gave me hope that the losing streak was behind us, and the final scoreline was exactly what I – and countless other Lions fans – had been hoping for all season. Especially against Chicago. I took it as a sign of things to come, the turning of a corner and a promise of things slotting into place for the team I love. Unfortunately they went on to lose week seven at Minnesota and then got bent over by the Chiefs before my very eyes at Wembley, so it turns out I was wrong. I still grin like a loon when I think of that run though.
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