The 2017 Detroit Lions season wasn’t quite as thrilling as the previous year. Matthew Stafford didn’t lead comebacks on a weekly basis, and Detroit, for the most part, didn’t live on the razor’s edge between a win and a loss every week.
That being said, there were certainly some entertaining games along the way. Here are your 2017 nominees for Detroit Lions Game of the Year.
Week 1 vs. Cardinals (35-23 win)
The season got off to a thrilling start for the Lions. Though Matthew Stafford threw an interception on his first pass of the year, and Kasey Redfern botched a punt shortly thereafter, the Lions rebounded in a big way.
Thanks to three interceptions from the defense and two big touchdown throws to Kenny Golladay, the Lions pulled away late. Miles Killebrew sealed the game with a pick-six and Detroit was off to the races.
Week 3 vs. Falcons (26-30 loss)
It’s not about how you start, but how you finish. Matt Ryan and the Falcons were wiping the floor with the Lions early in this game. Minutes away from the half, the Falcons jumped out to a 17-6 lead and were looking to tack on more. That’s when Glover Quin made one of the best plays of the season and picked off Ryan for a pick-six, drawing the game to a one possession before the end of the second quarter.
From there the Lions managed to keep it close for the entire second half. The defense forced a big three-and-out late in the game to give Matthew Stafford one more chance to take the lead late.
Then this happened:
No game in NFL history has ever finished like that, and now every Lions fan is an expert in the 10-second runoff rules. Not the fondest memory, but certainly one of the most memorable games of 2017.
Week 4 vs. Vikings (14-7 win)
It was an ugly game with both offenses struggling to cross midfield for the majority of the game. Stafford could get on track with a blanketing Vikings secondary, while Minnesota couldn’t stop themselves from turning the ball over.
Ameer Abdullah had his best career game, rushing for 94 yards and the game-winning score. But it wasn’t the game itself that was memorable, it was what it represented. After picking up this huge road divisional win, the Lions were 3-1, and many fans believed they should’ve been 4-0. That week, some power rankings had the Lions as high as No. 2 in the league. There is no doubt that Week 4’s win over the Vikings was the optimistic peak of the year.
Week 15 vs. Bears (20-10 win)
The Lions’ playoff hopes were hanging by the thinnest margins, and the Chicago Bears always seem to give the Lions some trouble, even if #WeOwnTheBears. That wasn’t the case for this odd Saturday evening game. The Detroit Lions dominated the Bears from front to finish.
Jumping out to a 13-0 lead, thanks in part to this crazy third-and-18 play, the Lions never relented. The Lions defense did their part, picking off Mitchell Trubisky three times, including two from the eventual season-leader Darius Slay.
Week 17 vs. Packers (35-11 win)
It always feels good to beat the Packers. It doesn’t matter if the game was essentially meaningless. It doesn’t matter if Aaron Rodgers wasn’t playing. The Detroit Lions swept the Green Bay Packers for the first time since 1991, and they did it with some flash and flare.
Stafford threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns on the way to the Lions’ biggest blowout of the year. But it wasn’t Stafford’s passing ability that drew the most attention in the season finale, it was this catch of his:
It may not have matter at all, but it turned out to be a pretty nice sendoff to Jim Caldwell, who was fired on the next day.
What was the Lions’ 2017 Game of the Year?
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Week 1 vs. Cardinals
Week 3 vs. Falcons
Week 4 vs. Vikings
Week 15 vs. Bears
Week 17 vs. Packers