First up in the 2014 POD Awards is the category for the Detroit Lions' Moment of the Year. Here are the nominees:
Lions open the season with a 67-yard TD pass to Megatron (Week 1 vs. Giants)
The Lions couldn't have asked for a much better start to the regular season. On the fourth play of their season-opening game against the Giants on Monday Night Football, Matthew Stafford scrambled and heaved a pass downfield to a wide open Calvin Johnson, who ran into the end zone untouched for a 67-yard touchdown. The Lions never looked back and went on to win by a score of 35-14.
Lions shut down Aaron Rodgers (Week 3 vs. Packers)
Why did Aaron Rodgers feel the need to tell Packers fans to relax? Quite simply, there was a lot of panic amongst Packers fans after Rodgers was shut down by the Lions. In the first true sign that the Lions defense was suddenly among the very best in the NFL, Rodgers went only 16-for-27 for 162 yards and one touchdown against Detroit. What's more, his offense was held to seven measly points in a one-sided 19-7 loss to the Lions.
Lions rally with two TDs in the final four minutes (Week 7 vs. Saints)
Trailing 23-10 with under four minutes to play, the Lions needed something to spark a comeback. That spark came in the form of a 73-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate. The Lions followed that up with a Glover Quin interception, and Corey Fuller put them ahead with a 5-yard touchdown reception with 1:48 to go. The defense then took care of the rest by forcing incomplete pass after incomplete pass from Drew Brees to clinch the Lions' 24-23 victory.
Matt Prater wins it at the buzzer in London (Week 8 vs. Falcons)
After trailing 21-0 at halftime, the Lions put together an amazing comeback in the final two quarters at Wembley Stadium. It looked like the comeback was going to come up short with them trailing 21-19, but the Falcons failed to run out the clock thanks to some seriously poor coaching, and the Lions got the ball back with 1:38 left in regulation. Matthew Stafford drove the offense down the field, setting up a 43-yard field goal attempt from Matt Prater, who only joined the team a few weeks earlier. Prater's kick went wide right, but the miss didn't count because of a delay of game penalty. On his second attempt, this time from 48 yards out, Prater sent the ball through the uprights, giving the Lions a shocking 22-21 win.
Matthew Stafford finds Theo Riddick to beat Miami (Week 10 vs. Dolphins)
The Lions continued their string of comeback victories with another one fresh out of the bye week. This time, the Lions won by a score of 20-16 on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Theo Riddick with 29 seconds left in the game. Stafford put together an outstanding 11-play, 74-yard drive that led to the go-ahead score, and the Lions improved to 7-2 thanks to yet another come-from-behind victory.
Jason Jones turns the tide with a blocked field goal (Week 15 vs. Vikings)
Already up 14-13, the Vikings had a 26-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter that would have extended their lead. The field goal attempt came after a ridiculous 18-play drive that ran 11:02 off the clock. It took numerous attempts for the Lions defense to finally get off the field, and holding Minnesota to a field goal after all that seemed like a pretty good outcome. As it turns out, though, there was an even better outcome: Jason Jones blocked Blair Walsh's kick. The Lions kept this a one-point game as a result, and they responded by going down the field and taking the lead with a 33-yard field goal from Matt Prater. The kick put the Lions on top 16-14, and that's what the final score ended up being.
"They picked up the flag!" (Wild-card round at Cowboys)
The only reason a negative moment like this is among the nominees is because it was really a season-changing play. With a 20-17 lead in the playoffs at Dallas, the Lions were on the verge of potentially adding at least a field goal. On third-and-1 from the Dallas 46, Matthew Stafford threw a pass in the direction of Brandon Pettigrew and drew a flag. Pass interference on the defense was announced as the call, but the flag was suddenly picked up and no penalty was actually awarded. The bizarre turn of events led to the Lions punting after they took a delay of game on fourth-and-1, and it was all downhill from there. The punt went 10 yards, and the Cowboys took advantage by going 59 yards in 11 plays for the go-ahead touchdown. The Lions were unable to respond with points of their own, leading to a 24-20 loss and the end of their season.