Sunday, November 22, 2009

Did You See That???

The end of the Lions game today was epic.

Down 24-3 in the FIRST QUARTER, Matt Stafford brought the Lions back. They had the lead at the end of the 3rd quarter, 31-29. But these are the Lions, so you knew that it wouldn't be enough. And sure enough it wasn't.

Cleveland scored with about 6 minutes left and got the 2 point conversion to take a 37-31 lead. Stafford threw an interception with 3:40 seconds remaining, and the Lions defense went back on the field. After one first down the Lions stopped the Browns and forced a punt.

They took over at their own 12 yard line with 1:46 left to play and no timeouts. Enter the rookie, Stafford.

Stafford connected on three straight passes to get the Lions to their own 46 and then spiked the ball. He then completed another 11 yard pass to the Cleveland 43 and spiked it again. One more 11 yard completion led to what would be an amazing end to the game.

Stafford stopped the clock with about 8 seconds to play on the Cleveland 32 yard line, setting up one last ditch effort for the Lions.

Stafford took the snap from the shotgun and runs to his left. Nothing. He eludes a sack like a guy that's been in the league for years and crosses back to his right. At the right hash mark he slows up just enough to elude another sack. The eight seconds that were on the clock are now gone. He then backed up, and KNEW that C.J. Mosley was going to bury he delivered a pass deep into the end zone. Stafford got absolutely planted by Mosley. He lay motionless on the field as the rest of the play unfolded.

Brodney Pool picked off the pass in the end zone that was intended for Calvin Johnson. But it was all for nothing, because Hank Poteat had pushed Bryant Johnson out of the back of the end zone while the ball was in the air...the flags flew, pass interference. No time on the clock. That's one free play from the one yard line.

Stafford got up and hobbled to the sideline clutching his shoulder. He was in obvious pain. Cleveland took a timeout and Daunte Culpepper trotted out onto the field. At this point in time Stafford is trying to convince the team doctor that he can go in for one last play. Culpepper lines up and then Cleveland calls their last timeout, I'm sure because they needed to get play information in for dealing with Culpepper. But as this timeout is called, Stafford is successful in talking the doctor into letting him go in for the final play.

Stafford lines up under center, obviously still in pain, and takes the snap. With no time left and no chances after this he delivers a perfect pass to the Lions OTHER first round pick, Brandon Pettigrew, for a touchdown. Hanson adds the extra point. Game over. The Lions have now won two games.

You learned a few things about Matt Stafford today. First off, the guy doesn't quit. Down by 21 with about 3 minutes to go in the first quarter he went to work. All he did today was complete 26 of 43 passes for a Lion rookie record of 422 yards. He also threw FIVE touchdown passes this afternoon, and only two picks. That, in my opinion, is a good day for ANY quarterback in the league...let alone a rookie. Did I mention that today he became the youngest player in the history of the NFL to throw five TD passes?

Second of all, you learned exactly how tough this kid is and how much he wants to win. It would have been easy for him to just sit on the sideline for that final play, but he begged and pleaded to get back in. He WANTED to win. He KNEW he could win. This is an attitude that has been absent from the Lions for a LONG time. He was fired up, and the fact that he went back in there in a condition that many players in the league would just sit on the bench shows how tough this kid is and how much heart he has.

There will be good days and bad days in this young quarterback's career...but today was a good day...and a day that Lions fans should be proud of. Matt Stafford played an excellent game and delivered when the game was on the line. Amazing.

1 comment:

Doug said...

I think I owe Stafford a thank you note for keeping me alive (though with a few more grey hairs) in my elimination league.