For Part 1 of the first round, you can check it out in this post.
#8 Stafford helmetless sack vs. #9 Tate blows kiss
In the Week 5 home win against the Philadelphia Eagles, Matthew Stafford dropped back to pass on third-and-9 and got walloped with a huge hit that thankfully did not injure him. Threatening in the red zone at the Philadelphia 18 yard line, Stafford took the shotgun snap and looked to his right for Anquan Boldin and Marvin Jones, but neither was open. Then things began to break down in the pocket.
Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham locked up with right tackle Riley Reiff, but was bumped free from the inside by defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Stafford ducked under Graham’s arm but not Cox, who also went high and got a fistful of helmet. That’s when Connor Barwin swooped in for the big hit, creating an “internet sensation.”
The next GIF for consideration comes to us from that merry-making machine known as Golden Tate. How awesome a source of GIF-able moments is Tate? How about two GIFs in the tournament from the same play? Right before going to the sidelines to wave some pom poms with the Lions Cheerleaders (our #3 seeded GIF in the tournament) in Week 6 against the Rams, Tate ran up to the end zone camera and sent some love to the fans at home:
#5 Sam Martin DAFUQ? vs. #12 Stafford fist pump down the field
Near the end of the early season setback Week 4 in Chicago, down 17-6 with a hair over two minutes remaining in the game, Andre Roberts fielded a punt at his own 15 yard line and showed everyone why he’d been given the return job this season. Roberts’ 85-yard punt return touchdown brought the Lions within one score of their hosts.
Holding no timeouts, the Lions were forced to go for an onside kick recovery. Special teams coordinator Joe Marciano went with the trickeration “overload the right side and loop back to squib left” call, but the Bears called a timeout JUST as Sam Martin was about to make contact with his foot. Martin was not pleased:
Like Martin, that GIF is #WorthEveryPenny. The first round opponent for this graphic? Matthew Stafford upbeat about a huge strike to Marvin Jones midway through the third quarter in Week 7 against Washington at home:
Going deep off play action with good protection for the quarterback, Marvin made a tremendous grab in close coverage by Washington’s No. 1 cornerback Josh Norman who was 1) called for pass interference and 2) injured on the play. Great throw, great catch: what’s not to like?
#4 Stafford Get Out! vs. #13 JAX 4Q Fans with Hats
We now come to a graphic that many Lions fans have used as a reaction GIF to tell trolls from other fanbases to go back to whence they came. In Week 1 on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, the Lions found themselves down 34-35 with just 37 seconds left in the game after blowing an 18 point lead. Still in possession of three timeouts, this was 28 more seconds than Stafford and the Detroit offense needed to set up a game winning kick by Matt Prater.
The final drive consisted of a 19-yard dump-off to Theo Riddick in the middle of the field, a nine-yard completion to Eric Ebron down the left side and then a 22-yard corner route to Marvin Jones. Now, for whatever reason, Marvin caught the ball with a five-yard cushion and turned straight upfield instead of out of bounds to stop the clock. With just 12 seconds remaining, the Lions were forced to burn their third and final timeout.
Stafford liked the effort on the route and catch, but was somewhat displeased with his new wideout’s lack of situational awareness near the sideline at the end of the game:
On the other side of this matchup is an idyllic scene from the stands at Ford Field in the Week 11 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Midway through the fourth quarter, a pair of Lions faithful captured the fan experience of the 2016 season on camera perfectly.
The guy on the left has a nice adult beverage in hand, drinking furiously from it during the fourth quarter of YET ANOTHER one-score nailbiter (4 point lead here). I’m not going to lie—the infinite drink sip is something I have watched for minutes at a time looping over and over. Is the guy on the right mesmerized by the train wreck on the field? Is he numb to the rollercoaster season and unable to generate emotion due to the overload of so many close games, both triumphs and heartbreaks? Is he contemplating the meaning of existence and his place in the universe?
#1 Tate Buttflip vs. #16 Tate Flex
This time we are going to go in reverse order with this Tate versus himself matchup. Also from the Week 7 home win against Washington, with 12:28 to go in the second quarter, the Lions offense lined up in an empty gun set with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones to the right side. A nice block by Jones on the outside corner and diving lead block by Riley Reiff on the safety later, Tate was 27 yards downfield for a huge gain on the WR screen.
If you still haven’t had enough of Golden Tate GIFs, there is one more that needs to be a part of this tournament. Following Matt Prater’s 58-yard field goal to tie the game at the end of regulation (see our #10 GIF in the tournament) in Week 9, the Lions came out on offense to start the overtime period and drove down to the 28 yard line before stalling out to face third-and-8. Take it away Dan Miller:
Whether you want to call it a spinning heel kick or something else, it is a phenomenal effort by Tate to shake two defenders while staying in-bounds.
These four polls are set to close after 11:59 pm Eastern time on Friday the 10th of February. Once everything closes, we will put the round 2 quarterfinals match-ups up for your enjoyment. Thanks for voting, and please share your take on these 2016 GIF-able moments in the comments section below!