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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lions Congregation: Reflections

Welcome once again to the Lions Congregation! Bloggers from across the Savanna congregate to bring you their thoughts on the Lions. Have a question? Email lionscongregation@yahoo.com

Al at The Wayne Fontes Experience

1. What was your favorite game of the season to watch?

I could say it was the win over the Chiefs, as I realized I was watching a playoff contender destroy a 2010 playoff team. I was tempted to say the victory over the Broncos in Denver, just because of the destruction of TEBOW. I could go with one of the ridiculous comeback wins over the Vikings, Cowboys, Panthers and Raiders, and it wouldn't raise anyone's eyebrows. 

But I have to go with the victory over the Chargers, for one reason only. The win clinched a spot in the playoffs for the first time in 12 years (though it felt more like 12 decades). The Lions were at home, the offense was clicking, Matthew Stafford was playing the elite QB we all hoped he'd become, the defense had turned things around (for a couple of weeks, anyway) and no one wanted to see them have to win in Green Bay in order to make the playoffs. So going into the game it just felt as if the result was fait accompli. The Lions were going to win.

Despite the Chargers having a talented team, the game wasn't really in question and the team got to celebrate with a formerly suffering, now deliriously happy, fan base. All was well in the world for a few hours. 

You cannot ask from more than that from a victory.

2. What were your 3 favorite plays of the season?

3.  Late in the Chargers win, Cliff Avril picked off Phillip Rivers and strolled into the end zone from 4 yards out for spectacular pick 6. The leaping, one-handed interception set off a huge celebration, as the score essentially cliched a playoff spot.

2.  My favorite offensive play of the season was Calvin Johnson catching a 6-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford with 39 seconds left against the Raiders, finishing off a beyond clutch 98-yard drive. The hopes and dreams of a playoff season were on the line, and the Lions came through in a way we couldn't have imagined a few years ago. All I could do was channel Vin Scully and say, "I can't believe what I just saw!"

1. This is my favorite play of the season, period. The Lions are in Oakland, up by one with under0:20 left. The Raiders are driving, kicker Sebastian Janikowski is warming up his All-Pro leg on the sidelines. Carson Palmer drops back to pass, and every fan on the planet thinks the Raiders will drive deep enough into Lions' territory to give Janikowski a very reasonable shot at a game winning field goal. In Jankowski's case, anything within 55 yards can be considered reasonable. 

But Avril roars in from left end, drops an axe handle on the quarterback (nearly forcing a fumble) and sacks Palmer with 0:13 on the clock. The Raiders run one more play (an incomplete pass) and ultimately settle for a 65 yard field goal attempt, which Ndamukong Suh blocks. Lions win, have a 9-5 record and get an inside track on a playoff spot! 

If Avril doesn't sack Palmer, all sort of bad things happen. Janikowski is likely trying a kick that's at least 10 yards shorter. He doesn't have to drill the ball low to get max distance, making it that much harder to block. With that in mind, odds are he makes the kick, beating the Lions. How does the season plays out if the Lions don't win the game? I'm thinking the season just may have ended badly. But it didn't, much in thanks Avril's game saving sack

NetRat at NetRat Detroit Lions Blog

1. What was your favorite game of the season to watch?

1.  I enjoyed all the Lions games this year.  My favorite though has to be Christmas Eve against the Chargers when they sealed their playoff spot.  Good opponent, pressures on, and the Lions win the game playing hard.  Bodes well for the future.
 
2. What were your 3 favorite plays of the season?

2.  My 3 favorite plays?  Holy cow, that's not an easy question.  Avril's TD was definitely one of them.  Suh just barely getting a piece of the attempted field goal at the end of the Oakland game to save the win (and prevent a record setting field goal for distance) is another.  The rest are all a blur... so many to choose from.  Stafford shattered the TD record by any Lions QB ever, CJ and Pettigrew broke records too, then there's the comebacks and the total destruction of the Bronco's... my 3rd favorite play then has to be a tie between roughly 231 other plays.

Blades Boyd, ROTL Contributor

1. What was your favorite game of the season to watch?

With so many great games this, I'm going to go out of the box here a little and say it was the second Vikings-Lions matchup played at Ford Field. This game had everything from int's returned for TD's, sacks and big plays. But the real reason I choose this game is because it was when I finally began to accept this isn't the "same old lions."  Everything about this game was hinting the lions would blow the big lead and when the Vikes were marching at the end of the game, I was 100% sure the Lions would blow it. When the Lions stopped them and won that game, I had this immense feeling of relief and joy. I was finally able to say, "maybe these aren't the same old Lions!!!" 

2. What were your 3 favorite plays of the season?

2. #3- Bobby Carpenter's pick 6 vs Dallas. Just an unreal play. 

   #2- Titus Young diving grab against the Chiefs. A play that most people might overlook but it was on a 3rd and 24, and Stafford threw a rope to Young who made a diving catch in double coverage for the first down. In only his second game, you could see the potential. I can't wait to see this kid in another two years. He's going to be a good one if he keeps his head on straight.

 #1. Calvin Johnson's catch against Dallas. Don't think I need to say much else.

Joshua, DetFan1979 of ROTL

1. What was your favorite game of the season to watch?

There were so many outstanding games this season that I had a very hard time deciding. There was more exceptional Detroit Lions Football played this season than in the last decade!  I guess, in the end I'll have to go with the Chiefs game early in the season.  

Thinking back to the end of the infamous 0-16 season (0-whatever according to Leslie Frazier) many fans, myself included were calling for Scott Pioli to "save" the franchise.  It was sweet, then, to see the Lions rip apart an inferior opponent -- and knowing that it was the Lions on the path to a future of sustained playoff appearances while the Chiefs were heading back to the drawing board.  How many times had I seen this before -- only it was always the Lions on the losing end.  Not. Any. More. 

It was a great feeling. 

2. What were your 3 favorite plays of the season?

Three? Just three? After this season? Talk about Herculean.  

#3.  Jahvid Best 88 yard touchdown run versus Chicago.  After how many times I've seen plays like that break open a game against the Lions it was beyond satisfying to see the Lions do it for a change. 

#2.  Bobby Carpenter pick-6 versus Dallas.  It was an amazing play just to get the pick, but what was just as impressive was how the rest of the defense suddenly came alive and blocked down on the offense, opening the lane into the end zone.  It was my favorite comeback win of the season (and there were plenty)

#1.  Calvin Johnson's final second TD catch in the Oakland game.  It wasn't so much the play itself as what it embodied. A surgical, determined comeback with time speeding away on the play clock - and closing the deal.  This was no Marcus Pollard slide for a non-TD and yet another moral victory. It was Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson for the win -- and a preview of the bright future of the best WR in football catching passes from one of the best young QB's in the game.  And they are both Detroit Lions!

Conclusion

Thank you once again for joining the Lions Congregation! Normally appearing every Friday this week was late because someone forgot to hit the publish button. See you again on Friday!!