It was Week 11 of the 2009 regular season in the NFL. The Detroit Lions were matched up against Brady Quinn and the visiting Cleveland Browns. The Lions were down 37-31 late in the game and after stooping the Browns on 4th and 5, they would need to drive 88 yards downfield to have a chance to pull out a comeback victory. They would drive downfield and get within scoring distance with only eight seconds left on the clock. Rookie quarterback, Matthew Stafford would rally the troops and look to blow the roof off Ford Field.
Stafford would get the snap, race out of the pocket to the left, stop, go back to the right, and chuck the ball into the end zone. The pass was picked off by Browns defender, Brodney Pool, and the game was over…
Or, so we thought.
After a Hank Poteat pass interference penalty, the Lions would have one more opportunity with triple zeros on the clock. But there was also something else going on at the time that we were not aware of until after the game. During the previous possession, while he was running out of the pocket, Stafford would take an extremely hard hit from Browns defensive lineman, C.J. Mosley that would ultimately end up separating his left shoulder. In obvious pain, Stafford made his way over to the sideline with assistance from teammates. Backup quarterback, Daunte Culpepper looked as though he would be coming into the game for the final play of the game, but that wasn’t the case.
Stafford would be heard saying “I can throw the ball if you need me to throw the ball.”
That was legit toughness from the young quarterback. So, it would all come down to one final play with Stafford, separated shoulder and all looking to lead the Lions to a dramatic comeback victory. He would take the snap, fake a hand-off, and toss the ball to tight end Brandon Pettigrew in the back of the end zone for six. The Ford Field crowd would come unglued in wake of what just occurred. Kicker, Jason Hanson would come out and notch the extra point, giving the Lions the 38-37 win over the Browns.
Stafford, at the time, would become the youngest quarterback to throw five touchdown passes since the NFL merged with the AFC back in 1970 and also set a record for most passing yards in a game (422) by a rookie. Pure grit, determination, and the will to win drove Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions to victory.
Here’s the dramatic ending to that football game, guaranteed to give you goosebumps. Enjoy everybody!
This has to be my favorite Stafford moment of all-time!