Although it might not seem possible, Thanksgiving is already upon us. Ahhh yes. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries, family, and of course, Lions football. In honor of the holiday, let’s take a stroll down memory lane as we look at the top five Thanksgiving day games in the history of the Detroit Lions.
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3) @ Detroit Lions (6-6) — 1983
Running back Billy Sims ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions defense got the job done with five interceptions, and Detroit secured the win at the Pontiac Silverdome by a final score of 45-3. The Steelers, who came into the game with a record of 9-3, and were heavily favored to beat the 6-6 Lions. This was the Lions first victory over the Steelers since 1962, a 21-year gap. It would also be the largest defeat for the Steelers since a 49-7 beatdown by the Chicago Bears in 1947.
Minnesota Vikings (6-5) @ Detroit Lions (5-6) — 1995
Quarterback Scott Mitchell set a Lions team record for passing yards in a game with 410, to go with his four touchdown passes. Also, for the first time in team history, three players topped 100 receiving yards in a single game: Brett Perriman (12 catches for 153 yards, two touchdowns), Johnnie Morton (seven catches for 102 yards and a touchdown) and Herman Moore (eight catches for 127 yards and a touchdown) in the Lions 44-38 victory at the Pontiac Silverdome.
New England Patriots (3-8) @ Detroit Lions (7-4) — 2000
The Lions won their third straight game under new head coach Gary Moeller, who had replaced Bobby Ross three weeks prior. A 6-6 game at halftime, the Lions scored 28 second-half points, highlighted by Bryant Westbrook‘s 101-yard interception return for a touchdown. The Lions won the game by a score of 34-9.
Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) @ Detroit Lions (6-5) — 2013
Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns in the Lions 40-10 victory at Ford Field. Running back Reggie Bush ran for 117 yards and a touchdown, and Joique Bell had 94 yards and a score. Calvin Johnson went for 101 receiving yards and a score, as well. The Lions defense played a big role in this game, holding the Packers to only 126 total yards. The Lions came into this game having lost their last 10 games on Thanksgiving.
Chicago Bears (2-10) @ Detroit Lions (6-6) — 1997
Running back Barry Sanders ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns in the Lions 55-20 win at the Silverdome. The big day for Sanders moved him into second place on the league’s all-time rushing list. The 55 points allowed by the Bears still stand as the most allowed by the team in their history, as well as the most scored by the Lions in a regular season game. Scott Mitchell threw for 282 yards and two scores, one to Herman Moore, and the other to Johnnie Morton.