Editor's note: "Detroit Lions fan fiction" is exactly that: a fictional tale of how the game may have played out in an alternate dimension in which the Lions were winning right now. Week-to-week fan fiction is noncanonical. Also, my apologies for missing last week. This week will try to mend the wounds from two consecutive games.
A week ago, the Detroit Lions' playoff hopes seemed dashed. The Packers had erased a 20-0 deficit and had all the momentum heading into overtime. It seemed the Lions were destined to have a losing season despite turning a 1-7 start into three straight wins and a big lead over a division rival. Then Aaron Rodgers made a mistake. Instead of just ending regulation with a kneel-down, Rodgers' hubris got the better of him and a desperation heave from midfield was intercepted by Darius Slay and returned for a touchdown. All week, we heard Rodgers complain about a missed facemask call, but replay clearly shows it was his own teammate who grabbed and twisted Rodgers' helmet for the boneheaded throw.
Despite the replays, NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino came out the following Monday and apologized to the Green Bay Packers for the blown call, "We at the NFL strive to better serve Sir Rodgers....uh...ahem...sriracha. We aim to better serve sriracha to our players. It's very tasty."
After the smoke had cleared, the Lions were 5-7 and had a clear path to the postseason: win out, and with a little help from a struggling NFC conference, they could make an extremely unlikely playoff run.
But it all started in St. Louis on Sunday. The Rams, losers of five straight, weren't thought to be much of a road block in the Lions' course to the postseason. But Aaron Donald opened the game with a strip sack and returned the ball for a touchdown, putting the Lions in a quick 7-0 hole before two minutes had expired.
The Lions' second possession was no better. The Lions quickly went three-and-out after three straight incomplete passes to TJ Jones.
The season was quickly falling apart. Detroit need to do something and do something drastic. So Teryl Austin dialed up the most unlikely personnel change in team history. As the Lions took the field on defense for the first time in the game, No. 85 lined up at defensive end. That's right, Eric Ebron lined up on the opposite side of Ezekiel Ansah and the two proceeded to terrorize Case Keenum for the next 55 minutes.
In all, the two combined for 13.0 sacks, seven forced fumbles and three defensive touchdowns. "I probably would have had 13 sacks on my own if the refs could spot a holding penalty," Ebron said with a grin after the game.
As the Lions took a 52-10 lead into the fourth quarter, the Rams tried a desperate gimmick to get back into the game. Donald took the field on offense and lined up at tight end. He immediately jumped offside, ran off the field crying in embarrassment, and promptly retired from the NFL, making him one of the biggest busts of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Detroit now sits at 6-7, just one game out of the final wild card spot currently being held by the Saints. Those two teams face off this week on Monday Night Football in what promises to be the biggest game of the week.