The Detroit Lions did what? The Motor City is partying right now, as the Lions have won their 1st playoff game since the 1991 season!
For the first time in 30 years, the Detroit Lions clinched their division, securing the opportunity to host a playoff game in the Motor City. It also marked the very first NFL postseason in the 21-year history of Ford Field, which ironically would be played against former franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams. Following a shootout between the two teams, Detroit ultimately emerged victorious with a 24-23 win in front of the roaring fans of Detroit.
All eyes were on the health status of tight end Sam LaPorta, who was injured in Detroit's regular-season finale. Lions fans got good news, as LaPorta was listed as active for tonight's game.
The Lions asserted their authority in a big way right off the bat over the Los Angeles Rams, marching 75 yards down the field on a 10-play drive that was finished by a short touchdown run from David Montgomery, putting the Lions on the scoreboard first:
It was Stafford's turn to take his team down the field, fueled by a 21-yard completion to Puka Nacua. However, Detroit's defense would stand tall and prevent Los Angeles from reaching the end zone; they'd settle for a field goal from Brett Maher.
Not to be outdone, quarterback Jared Goff would fire a 33-yard dart to Josh Reynolds, setting the stage for an eventual 10-yard touchdown run from Jahmyr Gibbs:
The back and forth between the two teams was just getting started. Stafford completed a 19-yard pass to Demarcus Robinson before delivering an absolute 50-yard bomb of a touchdown pass to Nacua:
The Lions' offense maintained their strong start to the game, and Detroit fans were once again reminded of why head coach Dan Campbell is affectionately known sometimes as “Dan Gamble.” After once again leading the offense down the field, Goff connected with tight end Sam LaPorta on a fourth-and-goal attempt:
The Los Angeles Rams response was loud and clear, as Stafford connected with Tutu Atwell on a 38-yard touchdown pass:
Stafford did all of this while having suffered a cut on his throwing hand, resulting in a noticeable bloody mess that had to be taped up and bandaged:
While the Lions would fail to reach the red zone, they would add more points on the board thanks to a 54-yard field goal from Michael Badgley, tying the franchise mark for the longest field goal made during a postseason game.
Following Stafford's connections with Davis Allen and Ronnie Rivers, advancing the Rams down the field, he absorbed a big hit from both Aidan Hutchinson and Alim McNeill. As a result, Stafford had to make a brief visit to the blue medical tent; notably, backup quarterback Carson Wentz did not warm up. Stafford soon emerged and re-entered the game. The Rams would soon hit a field goal thanks to Maher, cutting into Detroit's lead.
The Rams would once again have to settle for a field goal after. throws from Stafford found both Nacua and Demarcus Robinson; Detroit's lead was cut to just a single point.
That's as far as the Los Angeles Rams would get. Detroit would halt them from any additional offense and would hold on for their first playoff victory since the 1991 season.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- The Detroit Lions hosted a playoff game for the first time in 30 years, taking on the Los Angeles Rams
- The storyline was focused on former Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford returning to town for a chance to ruin his former fans' hopes, but Detroit would ultimately prevail.
- The Detroit Lions won a shootout with the Los Angeles Rams, a 24-23 final score for their first playoff victory since the 1991 season.
Bottom Line: Bring on Philadelphia or Tampa Bay!
The demons have been exercised! The Detroit Lions are advancing in the postseason for the first time since the 1991 season. But the journey is far from complete.
They will now await the winner of tomorrow's game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, one of whom will be traveling to Ford Field next weekend.