Our 2020 Pride of Detroit Awards, or Pridies, kick off today with a review of the best individual moments from last season. It may be surprising to remember that there were actually some entertaining and emotional moments from a 5-11 season, but when the Lions were still competing early in the year (they were 3-3 at one point), there was some classic Lions drama.
Even outside of the drama, some players managed to add a highlight or two to their reel after some impressive feats in 2020.
So without further ado, here are your five nominees for Detroit Lions Play of the Year.
Matt Prater from 59 for the win (and free beer) vs. Washington
As the season was slipping away from the Detroit Lions, it looked like the final nail in the coffin would come from the 2-6 Washington football Team. Detroit managed to completely throw away a 24-10 lead going into the fourth quarter, as Washington tied the game with just 16 seconds left.
With most teams, that would almost guarantee overtime. But for Matthew Stafford and Matt Prater, they’ve overcome those odds before. One completion and a roughing the passer call was all it took to get the Lions in field goal position, and Prater did the rest. That 59 yarder was also good enough to win free beer for the city of Detroit.
Todd Gurley blunder TD gives Lions opportunity to win
A Pridies first: An opponent’s touchdown gets a nomination.
Todd Gurley’s failure to stop before the end zone would end up costing the Atlanta Falcons the game here. Fall short of the goal line, and Atlanta can run the remainder of the clock off and win with a chip-shot field goal.
Instead, Gurley kept it a one-score game, and gave Detroit over a minute left to orchestrate a game-winning drive. Not only was it a huge play for the Lions, but it led to some amazingly ridiculous images from the moment:
What came next was…
Matthew Stafford to T.J. Hockenson game-winner vs. Falcons
After being gifted the opportunity to win the game, Stafford, once again, displayed his late-game magic. Thanks to a couple of huge catches from Kenny Golladay—who just barely missed a nomination this year—Stafford had one more shot to win the game.
Stafford does an incredible job managing the pocket and buying room with a well-timed pump fake. Hockenson, though originally not open, keeps fighting for space, and eventually finds it at the perfect time. Prater’s extra point gave Detroit the win and moved the team to a 3-3 record.
Romeo Okwara strip sack turns tide vs. Bears
The Detroit Lions were staring down the barrel of yet another sweep at the hands of the Chicago Bears. Just one first down by Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense, and they would walk away with a much-needed win to pull them back to .500.
Romeo Okwara had different plans, though. He wrestled through left tackle Charles Leno Jr. and attacked Trubisky’s throwing arm just as it was cocking back.
Two plays later, the Lions would score the game-winning touchdown, giving the team its first lead of the game, which they would ultimately hold after a fourth-down stop.
Stafford no-look pass vs. Titans
This play was so impressive, we wrote an entire article on it, breaking down just how successful Stafford was at moving the defender with his eyes, then firing a ball in an extremely tight window without even looking.
The touchdown didn’t end up meaning much in terms of the overall game, as Detroit would end up losing by 21, but it was an impressive play that kept the game close early.
What was the Lions’ Play of the Year?
Matt Prater’s 59-yard game winner vs. Was
Todd Gurley’s TD blunder
Stafford-to-Hock for the win vs. Falcons
Romeo Okwara strip sack vs. Bears
Stafford no-look vs. Titans
528 votes total