Wed, 12 Aug 2020

O'HARA: Top 10 Lions plays from the past 10 years

Detroit Lions
07 Jul 2020, 20:25 GMT+10

The Detroit Lions played more than 20,000 plays on offense and defense combined in the last 10 seasons from 2010-2019. Throw in a few thousand more on special teams, and it's difficult to pick the top 10 plays of the last 10 years.

There are some obvious candidates - quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson among them - but most others aren't so obvious.

Here is one man's pick of the Detroit Lions' top 10 plays of the last 10 years. All three units -- offense, defense and special teams -- are represented.

There are sure to be some surprises. As always, feel free to disagree.

1. 2013: Matthew Stafford -- over the top.

He caught the Dallas Cowboys' defense on its heels, expecting him to spike the ball on first and goal at the one.

Instead, Stafford took the snap and jumped through a gap to extend the ball over the goal line for a touchdown with 12 seconds left and a 31-30 win for the Lions.

Stafford drove the Lions 80 yards in six plays, with completions of 40 yards to Kris Durham and 22 to Calvin Johnson on the two plays before his memorable TD.

2. 2013: Calvin Johnson - record day.

In the same game that Stafford won with his leap, Megatron had an 87-yard reception that was part of his record total for regulation time.

Johnson had 13 catches for 329 yards, the most ever by a receiver in regulation time.

A half dozen of his catches that day were sheer brilliance. As a writer friend of mine once wrote, picking one would be "like trying to catch soap bubbles with chopsticks."

3. 2011: Jahvid Best -- at his best.

Best made an impact after being drafted late in the first round in 2010, and never more than in a 24-13 win over the Bears that gave the Lions a 5-0 won-loss record to start the 2011 season.

Best rushed for 163 yards, with an 88-yarder in the third quarter for the Lions' last TD.

Unfortunately, Best's career didn't last long. A concussion sustained in Game 6 of 2011, his second season, proved to be career ending.

4. 2016: Matt Prater -- long distance.

Prater is one of the NFL's best kickers from long range and in the clutch, and he was money on both with one kick in a 22-16 overtime road win over the Vikings.

Prater's 58-yard field goal split the uprights with yards to spare as time expired to make it 16-16 and send the game into overtime.

The Lions won it on wide receiver Golden Tate's 28-yard TD catch on the first possession of overtime.

The Lions got the ball back with 23 seconds left after the Vikings had taken a 16-13 lead with a TD.

Completions of eight yards to Tate, 27 to Andre Roberts and a spike put Prater in position to make his tying kick.

Where are they now: Jason Hanson By the numbers: Lions 2020 Roster Lions offseason questions: 2020 Expectations

5. 2014: Glover Quin - smart old hand.

The Saints were marching to a win with a 23-10 fourth-quarter lead when the Lions turned it around with two TDs in the last 3:38.

After Tate's 73-yard TD cut the deficit to it 23-17, Quin used his veteran savvy to trick Saints quarterback Drew Brees into making a throw over the middle that Quin was in position to intercept and put the Lions in position to score the winning TD.

Stafford's five-yard pass to wide receiver Corey Fuller in the end zone gave the Lions a 24-23 lead that stood up as the winning margin.

It was one of many big plays by Quin in 2014. He led the league with seven interceptions and made the Pro Bowl.

6. 2019: David Blough, Hollywood beginning.

It didn't end the way Blough and the Lions would have liked, but he could not have had a better beginning in his first pro game.

On Thanksgiving Day against the Bears, Blough connected with wide receiver Kenny Golladay for a 75-yard touchdown on the second pass of his first career start. Blough connected with wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. on another TD pass in the second quarter for a 14-3 Lions lead.

The Bears eventually rallied for a 24-20 win on a TD pass in the fourth quarter.

The loss spoiled the day for Blough and the Lions, but nothing could spoil the way he started.

7. 2018: Da'Shawn Hand -- a grip on Rodgers.

It was Hand's fifth NFL game, but he already had shown more than could be expected from a rookie drafted in the fourth round.

Up against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Hand played like a veteran.

The Packers had second and one at their 35 in the second quarter when Hand shot a gap to sack Rodgers, force a fumble and recover it himself at the Packers' 29 with 51 seconds left in the half.

The Lions converted the turnover into a touchdown on Stafford's eight-yard pass to Jones. That extended the Lions' lead to 24-0. They held on for a 31-23 win.

8. 2018: Quandre Diggs -- picking on a rookie.

Matt Patricia could not have had a better beginning to his first game as head coach, and Diggs supplied it in dramatic fashion against the Jets on Monday Night Football at Ford Field.

On the first play, Diggs returned an interception off rookie quarterback Sam Darnold 37 yards for a TD and a 7-0 Lions lead.

Only 20 seconds were elapsed. The Lions eventually lost, but it was a spectacular beginning to a season and Patricia's tenure as head coach.

9. 2017: Kenny Golladay -- no waiting.

How long does a rookie receiver have to wait to show what he can do? Not long if you're Golladay, especially playing with Stafford, who'll throw to whoever gets open.

With the Lions trailing the Cardinals most of the way in the opening game, Stafford went to Golladay for two TD catches in the fourth quarter.

The first was a 10-yard catch that gave the Lions a 21-17 lead with 9:27 left.

The second catch was special - a diving 45-yarder as Golladay reached the end zone for his second TD in a little more than five minutes that iced a 28-17 win.

10. 2017: Jamal Agnew -- big return.

Agnew played in front of small crowds at the University of San Diego, but he wasn't fazed the first time he stepped out under the big lights of Monday Night Football. In Game 2 of his rookie season, Agnew returned a fourth-quarter punt 88 yards for the clinching TD in a 24-10 road win over the Giants.

Agnew made good plays on both ends of the return - first getting in position to catch a 60-yard punt with his hands extended, and then running through traffic to reach the end zone.

Jon Gruden was impressed with how Agnew handled that return.

"It's a great catch," Gruden said on ESPN. "Unbelievable return."

More Raleigh News

Access More

Sign up for Raleigh News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!