The 0-16 Season: The Detroit Lions’ Struggled for Redemption

The 2008 Detroit Lions 0-16 season, may have led to their potential success in 2023.

The Detroit Lions 2023 regular season is only 13 days away; we take a look back at the 2008 season in which the Lions finished 0-16, but that season has led to where they are now entering 2023. For instance, if the Lions didn't get the first overall pick in 2009 due to their rough season in 2008, they wouldn't have gotten Quarterback Matthew Stafford, who they were able to trade to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff and draft picks which those picks turned into Ifeatu Melifonwu, Jameson Williams, Josh Paschal, Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta, and Brodric Martin which could all be a big part of the success of the Detroit Lions this season.

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2008 The Detroit Lions Season to Forget

Week 1: Detroit Lions 21 @ Atlanta Falcons 34

The Detroit Lions season started with Jon Kitna under center, and he faced a rookie quarterback in Matt Ryan for Atlanta Ryan got it going early for Atlanta as he connected with Michael Jenkins for a 62-yard touchdown pass; Michael Turner also added a 66-yard and a five-yard rushing touchdown for a 21-0 lead after the first quarter. The Lions made it enjoyable before halftime with a three-yard touchdown run by Kevin Smith, and then Kitna connected with Roy Williams for a 21-yard touchdown pass. The Falcons took control in the second half outscoring the Lions 13-7.

Week 2: Detroit Lions 25 vs. Green Bay Packers 48

The Lions got their home opener against the Packers, but Aaron Rodgers was too much as he threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with Greg Jennings for six catches and 167 yards as the Lion's secondary couldn't stop the Packer's passing game.

Week 3: Detroit Lions 13 @ San Francisco 49ers 31

This matchup saw former Lions quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan take it to his former team throwing for 189 yards and two touchdowns, but it was 49ers running back Frank Gore who took it to the Lions, rushing for 130 yards and a touchdown. Kitna couldn't get anything going on offense, throwing for 146 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Week 4: Bye Week

The Detroit Lions, now 0-3 to start the season, decided to fire their President and CEO, Matt Millen, who was hired in 2001.

Week 5: Detroit Lions 7 vs. Chicago Bears 34

After the bye week, the Lions came out flat, getting blown out by their division rival. Kitna would be benched after the first half, and Dan Orlovsky took over in the second half, but the game was out of reach late in the second half. Kitna and Orlovsky were hurt in that game, but Orlovsky still finished it.

Week 6: Detroit Lions 10 @ Minnesota Vikings 12

The Lions stuck with Orlovsky under center, leading the game until Ryan Longwell hit a 26-yard field goal with nine seconds left to give the Vikings the lead, which ultimately was the winning kick. After the game, the Lions traded wide receiver Roy Williams to Dallas for a first, third, and sixth-round pick in 2009, and Kitna was placed on injured reserve for the rest of the season.

Week 7: Detroit Lions 21 @ Houston Texas 28

The Lions fought back in this one as they were down 28-10 entering the fourth quarter and scored 11 points, but it wasn't enough to get them back to solidify that first win of the season. Calvin Johnson had a big day hauling in just two passes, but he totaled 154 yards receiving.

Week 8: Detroit Lions 17 vs. Washington Redskins 25

It was another tough loss in week eight for the Lions as they cut the Redskins lead to five with just under seven minutes left but with under two minutes went, the Redskins got a field goal to make the lead eight. The Lions had a chance, but their drive stalled on their 45-yard line, and Redskins took a knee to drop the Lions to 0-7.

Week 9: Detroit Lions 23 @ Chicago Bears 27

The Lions led this one at halftime 23-13, but the Bears came out in the second half and scored a touchdown in the third and fourth quarters to give the Lions their eighth loss. The Lions did have a chance to win the game with a final drive, but time ran out as Orlovsky couldn't connect with Calvin Johnson while they had the ball at the Bears' 32-yard line. The next day the Lions went out and signed Daunte Culpepper.

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Week 10: Detroit Lions 14 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 38

The Lions gave the start to Daunte Culpepper making his Lions debut, and he went five of ten for 104 yards, and he threw an interception. Drew Stanton made his NFL debut, and he picked up his first career touchdown on his first career pass with a one-yard pass to Lions tight end John Owens.

Week 11: Detroit Lions 22 @ Carolina Panthers 31

Daunte Culpepper got the start once again for the Lions, but the Panther took a 21-16 lead into the half and never looked back as they outscored the Lions 10-6 in the second half to drop them to 0-10.

Week 12: Detroit Lions 20 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38

In Week 12, the Lions' offense came out ready to roll, putting up 17 points, but the Buccaneers' offense fought back in the second quarter, putting up 21 unanswered points of their own. Lion's offense couldn't get anything going in the second half as they only managed to put in three points while Tampa Bay put up 17.

Week 13: Detroit Lions 10 vs. Tennessee Titans 47

The annual Thanksgiving game was challenging that season as they took on an 11-1 Titans team coming off their first loss. The Lions couldn't slow the Tennessee rushing attack as Chris Johnson and LenDale White combined for 231 yards on 39 carries.

Week 14: Detroit Lions 16 vs. Minnesota Vikings 20

The Lions couldn't stop the run game once against as they allowed Adrian Peterson to rush for 105 yards. Detroit did have a chance in the fourth quarter as Jason Hanson hit a 39-yard field goal with just under six minutes left to make it a one-point game, but the Vikings ran the clock out and kicked a field goal with 22 seconds left to secure the win.

Week 15: Detroit Lions 21 @ Indianapolis Colts 31

In Week 15, when the Lions went to Indianapolis, it wasn't the running game that caused problems for them but the passing game, as Peyton Manning threw for 318 yards. The Lions tied the game with 13 minutes left, but the Colts would ultimately get a touchdown from Dominic Rhodes on a one-yard rush and a 31-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri to put the game out of reach.

Week 16: Detroit Lions 7 vs. New Orleans Saints 42

For a second straight week, the Lions faced another top quarterback in the league Drew Brees, and he threw for 351 yards in that game and had two touchdowns. The Saints also got four rushing touchdowns from Pierre Thomas, Deuce McAllister, Mike Bell, and Robert Meachem.

Week 17: Detroit Lions 21 @ Green Bay Packers 31

To finish off the season, the Lions faced their division rival, the Packers, and they had a chance at getting that first win when they made it a three-point game after a Kevin Smith nine-yard touchdown run, but 16 seconds later, Aaron Rodgers hit Donald Driver for a 71-yard touchdown pass that made it 31-21 and would be the final as the Lions would end the 2008 season without a win.

The Lions scored 268 points in the 2008 season, averaging 16.75 points per game, while their opponents scored 517 points against them, averaging 32.31 points per game. It was a quarterback carousel all season as they played with five quarterbacks that season Orlovsky, Kitna, Culpepper, Stanton, and Henson.

TL;DR (too long didn't read)

  1. The Detroit Lions 2023 season is 13 days away.
  2. The Detroit Lions went 0-16 in 2008.
  3. The 2008 season has led the Detroit Lions to possible success in 2023.
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Bottom Line: 2023 Detroit Lions Season Excites

If the 2023 Detroit Lions perform to expectations this year then it should make that 2008 season all the more worth it because Lions' fans would get to see their team do something it hasn't done since 1991 and that's win the division.