To begin the 2011 season, running back, Kevin Smith wasn’t even a member of the Detroit Lions. On November 7, 2011, Smith was signed by the Lions. The move came after running back, Jahvid Best‘s season came to an end due to a concussion. It was the second concussion of the year for Best. On November 20, 2011, in a game between the Lions and the Carolina Panthers, Smith would have the best game of his NFL career. He rushed for 140 yards on 16 carries and found the end zone twice, while also hauling in four receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown.
The Lions ended up winning the game by a score of 45-39 and became the first team in NFL history to win three games in a season, when trailing by at least 17 points. Smith’s performance in the game carried the Lions the entire game and seemed to give them quite a boost in their comeback effort.
After the game, then Lions head coach, Jim Schwartz spoke very highly of the performance just put in the Smith.
Here’s what Schwartz said post-game…
“There’s a lot of great stories in the NFL and I’m sure there’s a lot of storylines today, but I think the NFL would be hard-pressed to find a better story than Kevin Smith,” head coach Jim Schwartz said after the game. “He’s a guy that obviously has a lot of talent, but early on in his career was set back with a lot of major injuries. With the lockout this year and short training camps and things like that, it was really a terrible situation for him in trying to come back.
“Credit to Kevin; he never lost faith, he persevered. His talent never went away and when he was able to get healthy and get another opportunity, he took advantage of it. I think it’s a great story. He looks a little different in that No. 30, but we’ll keep that on him for a while.”
Kevin Smith didn’t necessarily have the most productive NFL career. He burst onto the scene during his rookie campaign in 2008 when he rushed for nearly 1,000 yards, 976 to be exact and eight touchdowns. That season was followed by a 747 rushing yard season with four touchdowns. The three seasons after, Smith was extremely sporadic on the football field, whether it be injuries or just overall performance, he surely wasn’t performing at the level he was in his first two seasons in the league.
Regardless if he’s remembered by just one game, it was one heck of a performance, in a comeback effort, for the University of Central Florida product.