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Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Best Detroit Lions Team Ever Part 2: The Quarterfinals

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Don Drysdale
I am a fan of all Detroit sports and LOVE to write about them!

Welcome back Detroit Lions fans! Are you ready for some playoff football featuring only Lions teams? Well, you have come to the right place.  First of all, if you did not notice in the title, this is Part 2 of a 4 part series that places the top 8 Lions teams of the Super Bowl era into a bracket-style playoff; in the end, it will determine which team is the greatest Lions team ever!  Here is a link to Part 1 of the series in case you missed it. It includes a breakdown of what exactly this concept is all about, along with the revealing of the 8 teams that I chose for the playoff, and their respective seeds.

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So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the first round match-ups and then reveal the winner of each game.  Who do you think will win it all? Do you agree with the results? Let me know!

#1 – 1991 Lions (12-4) vs. #8 – 1993 Lions (10-6) @ Pontiac Silverdome

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#4 – 1997 Lions (9-7) vs. #5 – 2011 Lions (10-6) @ Pontiac Silverdome

#2 – 1970 Lions (10-4) vs. #7 – 2014 Lions (11-5) @ Tiger Stadium

#3 – 1995 Lions (10-6) vs. #6 – 1983 Lions (9-7) @ Pontiac Silverdome


#1 – 1991 Lions (12-4) vs. #8 – 1993 Lions (10-6) @ Pontiac Silverdome

In a matchup between 2 teams that almost looked identical if it were not for the different color jerseys, Barry Sanders stole the show, as he rushed for 211 yards for the 1991 team and 181 yards for the 1993 team. But in the end, it was the kickers who made all the difference in the world, as veteran Eddie Murray kicked 4 field goals for the 1991 team, and 2nd-year kicker Jason Hanson missed what would have been a game-winning field goal as time expired. When the game was finished, Wayne Fontes was seen shaking hands with Wayne Fontes, as both smiled on from midfield.  What an awkward experience that must have been for both coaches.  1991 Lions 23 – 1993 Lions 21


#4 – 1997 Lions (9-7) vs. #5 – 2011 Lions (10-6) @ Pontiac Silverdome 

This battle between the Lions leading rusher of all time, Barry Sanders, and the Lions Leading passer of all time, Matthew Stafford is one that will not soon be forgotten.  Sanders, from the 1997 team, was able to run rampant in the first half against the 2011 defense, as he carried the ball 17 times for 230 yards and 4 touchdowns to give his team a 28-0 halftime lead.  The 2nd half though was a different story as Sanders never even came out of the tunnel and Captain Comeback, Matthew Stafford rallied the 2011 team for 5 fourth-quarter touchdowns; including the game-winner to Calvin Johnson, with :05 seconds left on the clock.  Reports are that Sanders tweeted out that he was retiring immediately but then took it down. This has not yet been confirmed.  2011 Lions 35 – 1997 Lions 31


#2 – 1970 Lions (10-4) vs. #7 – 2014 Lions (11-5) @ Tiger Stadium

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In a game played at Tiger Stadium, in 9-degree weather, the 1970 team, led by Greg Landry was only able to score 1 touchdown against the 2014 defense, but that was enough.  The 2014 team, led by Ndamukong Suh, knew that they had their work cut out for them when they found out the game would be played outdoors, in cold weather, against a team with a winning record.  Matthew Stafford, quarterback for the 2014 team completed only 13 of 26 passes and threw 3 interceptions, all to cornerback, Dick LeBeau, as Stafford’s streak of losing games against winning teams on the road continues.  1970 Lions 7 – 2014 Lions 0


#3 – 1995 Lions (10-6) vs. #6 – 1983 Lions (9-7) @ Pontiac Silverdome

The final game of the 1st round of the playoffs featured the unstoppable 1995 Lions offense against the 1983 2nd ranked Lions defense, in what was sure to be a great game.  Unfortunately for the 1983 team, Barry Sanders, Herman Moore, and Brett Perriman were just too much to handle, as the 1995 Lions scored 21 points in each half to cruise to victory.  Sanders rushed 26 times for 221 yards and two touchdowns while Moore and Perriman each caught a pair of long touchdowns.  One bright spot for the 1983 team was Billy Sims, as he carried the ball 20 times for 174 yards, but only 34 of those yards came in the 2nd half. Eric Hipple and the 1983 team had to start throwing the ball to attempt a comeback, and just couldn’t keep up with the potent scoring of their counterparts from 1995. The comeback never came close to happening.  1995 Lions 42 – 1983 Lions 17

Whew, what a first day of the playoffs! Did things go as you expected or were you surprised by the results?

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