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Detroit Lions Unsung Hero of the Week: Saved by the whistle

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An offsides penalty on the Chiefs on Sunday played a critical role in keeping the Lions’ hopes alive.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions put up quite the fight against the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend, but came up just short. It was still a valiant effort and an entertaining, albeit frustrating game, to say the least. The most frustrating part came when Kerryon Johnson fumbled the ball about a hair’s length from the goal line, and while everyone and their mother thought the play was over, Bashaud Breeland scooped up the fumble and returned it 100 yards for the sketchiest touchdown I’ve ever seen.

That deflated a Ford Field crowd that had been equally valiant all day in harassing the Chiefs offense, and how the Lions responded on the field was critical to the rest of the game.

Unsung hero of the week: Sam Martin — or whoever got the Chiefs to jump offsides

The Lions marched down the field, and while they couldn’t get in the end zone, they lined up for a 58-yard field goal. Sam Martin tried a hard count on the snap, and the second or third time around a Chiefs defender jumped the snap, making it a much more manageable try for Matt Prater and the Lions.

Now in all fairness, Prater sent the ball to the moon—his 53-yarder make probably would’ve been good from at least 63 yards out. However, lining up from five yards further changes the kicker’s approach, and you never know what the outcome would have been without that extra penalty.

It was essential for the Lions to keep their hopes alive. In years past, a play like the fumble return touchdown would’ve deflated the team and caused them to stagnate. This time around, however, making the field goal was critical to them keeping pace with the Chiefs’ high-octane attack.

It may not have been enough to win the game at the end of the day, but making that field goal was a sign of life as the entire audience waited to see how the Lions would respond to a punch in the gut, and those extra five yards let everyone breathe a whole lot easier — Matt Prater included.