Next up for the 2015 POD Awards is the category for the Detroit Lions' Moment of the Year. Here are the nominees:
The Batted Ball in Seattle
The Lions earned each of their first three losses of the season. They played horribly and rightfully landed at 0-3 after three weeks. But after a hard fought battle in Seattle, it looked they may have salvaged the season. Matthew Stafford had driven the team from their own 9-yard line and was just yards away from taking the first lead of the night. But after Calvin Johnson fumbled the ball just short of the endzone, controversy followed. K.J. Wright very clearly batted the ball out of the endzone, preventing the Lions from any chance at recovering the ball.
The little known rule became the only thing Lions fans talked about for the next few days. The referees scurried together and presented their excuse that the ref -- who clearly had a perfect view of the play -- believed the batting was not intentional. That excuse was hard to believe, but that, and a brief apology, was all that was offered to Lions fans as a consolation.
The Lions fire Joe Lombardi
Chief among complaints through seven weeks of Lions football was the lack of any progress on offense. Detroit was averaging less than 20 points per game, and Matthew Stafford seemed to have regressed significantly. The Monday following the Lions' sixth loss in just seven weeks, Jim Caldwell stood behind the podium and proclaimed no changes would be made. Just two hours later, he was behind the same podium announcing the Lions had fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
After a rough week in London, the offense almost immediately rebounded at the hands of Jim Bob Cooter. The offense scored 26.1 points per game in the final eight weeks of the season and Stafford threw for 19 touchdowns and just two interceptions during that span.
Just a week after firing Joe Lombardi, Martha Ford took the stage and made an even more drastic move to fix the failing organization. President Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew were relieved of their duties, promising a huge turnover of staff once the season ended. The move came after the Lions were embarassed on a global stage and fell to 1-7 on the season.
While the move itself didn't change a lot within the organization immediately, it set the wheels in motion for a tumultuous offseason, which we are finally seeing the effects of now. The Lions are going to be a much different organization going forward, and -- for better or for worse -- we can thank Martha Ford for that.
Lions end Lambeau drought
With the fanbase still in depression mode over a wasted 2015 season, no one gave the Lions much of a chance to beat the Packers, even though Green Bay was dealing with plenty of struggles of their own. The Packers entered the game as 11-point favorites, and I picked them to win by even more than that. But the Lions defense finally seemed to turn things around, and the offense did just enough with a little special teams help from Ameer Abdullah.
As the Lions slowly let their lead slip away in true #LIONSFOOTBALL fashion, all hope of one silver lining from the 2015 season seemed loss. But a strange-looking shank from Mason Crosby left the Lions with a win that nobody would soon forget; their first in Green Bay since 1991.
Hail Mary 1.0
With the Packers, you have to take the good with the bad. Because if Aaron Rodgers is still behind center, there is going to be some bad. In this case, it came in the form of a devastating 61-yard Hail Mary that won the game for the Packers and ended any hope of a miracle season for the Lions. For a season marred by disappointment and anger, the preceding "phantom" face mask call and the ensuing Hail Mary encapsulate the 2015 Detroit Lions season perfectly.