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  1. #1
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    Lions Turkey day highlights & lowlights

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.fre.../amp/878312001


    DAVE BIRKETT | DETROIT FREE PRESS
    12:00 am EST November 22, 2017
    G.A. Richards started the Detroit Lions’ Thanksgiving tradition when the team moved to Detroit in 1934; in the 83 years since, there have been many memorable games.


    The Lions, who will play the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday at Ford Field, won five straight in the 1950s, when they were a league power, and lost nine straight in the 2000s, when they were among the worst teams in the NFL.

    With that in mind, here are 10 of the most memorable games in Lions’ Thanksgiving history.

    The best
    5. Big day for Barry
    Barry Sanders rushed for 167 yards and three touchdowns against the Bears on Thanksgiving in 1997.
    Barry Sanders rushed for 167 yards and three touchdowns against the Bears on Thanksgiving in 1997.
    JULIAN H. GONZALEZ/DETROIT FREE PRESS
    Barry Sanders played in 10 Thanksgiving games and averaged 93.1 yards rushing. His most memorable performance came during his 2,000-yard season in 1997 when he ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Lions to a 55-20 win over the Chicago Bears. Sanders scored on runs of 40, 25 and 15 yards as the Lions scored 45 straight points to end the game and rally from a two-touchdown deficit.

    4. 'Scumbags' unite
    Josh Sitton picked the wrong time to rile up the Lions. Two days before the Packers visited Ford Field on Thanksgiving in 2013, Sitton went on a Green Bay radio station and called the Lions defense “a bunch of dirtbags or scumbags,” and had choice words for then-Lions coach Jim Schwartz, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham and defensive line coach Kris Kocurek.


    The Lions, naturally, used Sitton’s comments as bulletin-board material, and with Aaron Rodgers out with a broken collarbone, manhandled the Packers in a 40-10 win. They sacked backup quarterback Matt Flynn seven times, and Ndamukong Suh had a safety.

    Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson dunks the ball over the goal post after his third quarter touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in their football game in Detroit on Thursday, November 28, 2013.
    Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson dunks the ball over the goal post after his third quarter touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in their football game in Detroit on Thursday, November 28, 2013.
    JULIAN H. GONZALEZ, JULIAN H. GONZALEZ
    “It was one of those games where you just like were looking at the clock waiting for it to be over,” said Lions offensive guard T.J. Lang, who played for the Packers in that game. “And I think the thing that I came away with was, just weird, was all the stuff that he said, he called out the head coach, he called out Kocurek, he called out Suh and (Nick Fairley) at the time.

    "We went out there kind of getting ready for a war. I mean, we thought it was just going to be a dirty, punches thrown, and I remember Detroit, just the poise that they had. It kind of threw us off cause we were expecting them to come out just chirping at us, and they were just dead silent and just whipped our *** silently and that was probably the worst feeling in the world.”

    3. Shootout at the Silverdome
    The Lions had some dominant Thanksgiving performances over the years, but it’s hard to find a better day offensively than Nov. 23, 1995, when the Lions rallied from a third-quarter deficit to beat the Minnesota Vikings, 44-38.


    Victory never tasted better for the Detroit Lions on Nov. 23, 1995. Star offensive standouts, from left, Herman Moore, Brett Perriman, Scott Mitchell and Johnnie Morton celebrated their Thanksgiving win over the Minnesota Vikings by taking a bite out of the John Madden-inspired eight-legged turkey.
    Victory never tasted better for the Detroit Lions on Nov. 23, 1995. Star offensive standouts, from left, Herman Moore, Brett Perriman, Scott Mitchell and Johnnie Morton celebrated their Thanksgiving win over the Minnesota Vikings by taking a bite out of the John Madden-inspired eight-legged turkey.
    JULIAN H. GONZALEZ, DETROIT FREE PRESS
    Barry Sanders rushed for 138 yards and scored on a 50-yard run, and three different Lions topped 100 yards receiving. Brett Perriman had 12 catches for 153 yards and scored the first two touchdowns of the game. Herman Moore added eight catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. And Johnnie Morton caught seven passes for 102 yards and a TD.

    2. Seeing Starrs
    Nov. 22, 1962 is fondly remembered as the "Thanksgiving Day Massacre” by Lions fans who saw their team beat the Green Bay Packers at Tiger Stadium, 26-14. The Lions avenged an early season 9-7 loss to the Packers in a game that was much more lopsided than the final score indicated. Sacks were not an official stat at the time, but NFL historians credit the Lions with 11 sacks in the game, and Roger Brown with six sacks himself, including a safety on Bart Starr.

    The Detroit Lions practically feasted on Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr, right, during their Thanksgiving game on Nov. 23, 1962. Sacks were not an official stat at the time, but NFL historians credit the Lions with 11 sacks in the game, including this one by Darris McCord and Roger Brown.
    The Detroit Lions practically feasted on Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr, right, during their Thanksgiving game on Nov. 23, 1962. Sacks were not an official stat at the time, but NFL historians credit the Lions with 11 sacks in the game, including this one by Darris McCord and Roger Brown.
    RICK SCHEINWALD, AP
    The Packers were the best team in football that year and went on to win the world championship. Brown still has vivid memories of that day.

    “I don’t think in that particular game we could have done anything wrong,” Brown said. “We were just bound and determined to beat the Packers. And also, that was the only game on TV back then. There was no college games, no other NFL games. We were about the only game on television, so we knew the Pro Bowl selections and all of that would come from that game.”



    1. Tails never fails
    Detroit native Jerome Bettis is responsible for the most infamous moment in the 83-year history of the Lions’ Thanksgiving tradition. Bettis’ Steelers tied the 1998 game on a Norm Johnson field goal with 4 seconds left in regulation. When the Hall of Fame running back went to midfield to call the overtime coin toss, he appeared to call tails, but referee Phil Luckett heard heads. The flip landed on tails, and the Lions got the ball to start overtime and went on to win on a Jason Hanson field goal, 19-16.

    Luckett said after the game that Bettis started to call heads before saying tails. Robert Porcher, one of the of Lions’ captains that day, said Bettis still is “salty” over that game, though the two occasionally share a laugh about what happened.

    Detroit Lions defenders Greg Jeffries and Robert Porcher tackle Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis in the second quarter of their Thanksgiving game on Thursday, Nov, 26, 1998 at the Pontiac Silverdome. The Lions beat the Steelers, 19-16, in overtime after referee Phil Luckett heard Bettis call "heads" during the overtime coin toss. Bettis, to this day, says he called "tails."
    Detroit Lions defenders Greg Jeffries and Robert Porcher tackle Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis in the second quarter of their Thanksgiving game on Thursday, Nov, 26, 1998 at the Pontiac Silverdome. The Lions beat the Steelers, 19-16, in overtime after referee Phil Luckett heard Bettis call "heads" during the overtime coin toss. Bettis, to this day, says he called "tails."
    JULIAN H. GONZALEZ, DETROIT FREE PRESS
    “Ray Roberts and I, we were the two captains, and going out there, when the coin was flipped, thrown up, and when it hit the ground and the ref said what he said, Ray and I looked at each other right away and my mouth opened and I was like, ‘We’ll take the ball,’ ” Porcher recalled. “And I just remember Jerome saying, ‘What is going on ref? I called tails. What are you talking about? I called tails.’ He’s like, ‘No, you called heads’. And I just remember backing up, and Jerome is like, ‘What is going on, man?’ And I just laughed and shook my head and ran back to the sideline.”

    [Growing up in Detroit helped make Jerome Bettis a Hall of Famer]

    The worst
    5. Turkey takeaway
    The Lions suffered their worst ever Thanksgiving loss in their 0-16 season of 2008, when the Tennessee Titans (with Schwartz as defensive coordinator) curb-stomped them, 47-10.


    Tennessee Titans running backs LenDale White, left, and Chris Johnson enjoy some Thanksgiving food after the Titans' 47-10 rout of the Detroit Lions on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008 at Ford Field in Detroit. The Lions finished 0-16 that season.
    Tennessee Titans running backs LenDale White, left, and Chris Johnson enjoy some Thanksgiving food after the Titans' 47-10 rout of the Detroit Lions on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008 at Ford Field in Detroit. The Lions finished 0-16 that season.
    RASHAUN RUCKER, DETROIT FREE PRESS
    Chris Johnson and LenDale White both topped 100 yards rushing and had two touchdowns, the fifth of nine straight turkey-day losses for the Lions. The performance was so bad it renewed calls for the NFL to strip the Lions of their Thanksgiving tradition, but the organization resisted and on Thursday the Lions will play their 78th Thanksgiving game.

    4. The Piano Man plays
    Joey Harrington never quite cut it as Lions quarterback, but four years after the team made him the No. 3 pick of the 2002 draft, Harrington returned to Ford Field with the Miami Dolphins and handed the Lions a decisive 27-10 loss. Harrington, who threw five interceptions and no touchdowns over his four Thanksgiving starts for the Lions – he went 1-3 in those games, completed 19 of 29 passes for 213 yards and three TDs against his old team.

    It was a triumphant return for Joey Harrington at Ford Field in 2006. The Lions' former first-round pick, pictured shaking hands with former Lions coach Rod Marinelli, threw three touchdown passes and to beat his former team, 27-10, on Nov. 23, 2006. Harrington, was 1-3 in four Thanksgiving starts while with the Lions, throwing five interceptions.
    It was a triumphant return for Joey Harrington at Ford Field in 2006. The Lions' former first-round pick, pictured shaking hands with former Lions coach Rod Marinelli, threw three touchdown passes and to beat his former team, 27-10, on Nov. 23, 2006. Harrington, was 1-3 in four Thanksgiving starts while with the Lions, throwing five interceptions.
    RASHAUN RUCKER, DETROIT FREE PRESS
    “It's nice to have that feeling in this building," Harrington said after the game. "As much as I tried to downplay it and needed to downplay it for the sake of this team, there was still a lot of emotion coming here.”

    3. Unhappy returns
    The Lions have played three overtime games on Thanksgiving: The Schwartz challenge game, the Bettis coin flip game, and in 1980, when Dave Williams returned a kickoff 95 yards on the first play of overtime to lead the Bears to an improbable 23-17 victory.


    Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton helped the Chicago Bears beat the Lions, 31-14, with this 75-yard touchdown run at the Pontiac Silverdome on Nov. 24, 1977. Three years later, he rushed for 123 yards as the Bears rallied from a 17-3 deficit to stun the Lions on Thanksgiving.
    Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton helped the Chicago Bears beat the Lions, 31-14, with this 75-yard touchdown run at the Pontiac Silverdome on Nov. 24, 1977. Three years later, he rushed for 123 yards as the Bears rallied from a 17-3 deficit to stun the Lions on Thanksgiving.
    DETROIT FREE PRESS FILE PHOTO
    The Lions appeared to be in control of the game with a 17-3 lead in the fourth quarter, but Walter Payton rushed for 110 of his 123 yards in the second half and the Bears tied the game on Vince Evans’ 4-yard scramble for a touchdown as time expired in regulation.

    2. Challenge accepted
    Ndamukong Suh got himself in hot water on Thanksgiving 2012, with his Matrix-like kick to Matt Schaub’s groin area. But the Houston Texans’ 34-31 overtime win always will be remembered for something else.

    Justin Forsett scored on an 81-yard run in the third quarter, though the touchdown never should have counted. Forsett’s elbow and knee hit the ground short of a first down, but Lions coach Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag on the play, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (since all scoring plays already were subject to review) and thereby negating the official booth review that would have wiped out the score.

    Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz throws a challenge flag during the Detroit Lions' Thanksgiving Day game against the Houston Texans on Nov. 22, 2012.
    Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz throws a challenge flag during the Detroit Lions' Thanksgiving Day game against the Houston Texans on Nov. 22, 2012.
    JULIAN H. GONZALEZ, DETROIT FREE PRESS
    The touchdown stood, the Texans rallied to win after Jason Hanson hit the upright on an overtime field-goal attempt. Forsett, after signing with the Lions last year, admitted, “I was definitely down.”


    1. Suh stomp
    Suh cemented his reputation as one of the NFL’s dirtiest players on Nov. 24, 2011, when he was ejected from a 27-15 Thanksgiving loss to the Packers after he stomped on the right arm of Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. Suh was suspended two games for the incident, which happened on the first possession of the third quarter with the Packers clinging to a 7-0 lead.

    Ndamukong Suh's infamous stomp on Evan Dietrich-Smith happened on Thanksgiving in 2011.
    Ndamukong Suh's infamous stomp on Evan Dietrich-Smith happened on Thanksgiving in 2011.
    ANDREW WEBER, USA TODAY SPORTS
    Suh offered a bizarre denial of the nationally televised stomp after the game, saying his actions were “misinterpreted.”

    “What I did was remove myself from the situation the best way I felt, with me being held down in the situation that I was in,” Suh said at the time. “My intentions were not to kick anybody as I did not.”

    As Lang recalled last week, “I think the biggest thing was just everything that came out of that, with I think ‘trying to remove myself from the situation’ and all those things, and all of us being like, ‘What? It’s the total opposite. You jumped back in there.’ Obviously it was an illegal action, but nobody got hurt from it. If it was something where it really caused some injury I think guys would have been a little more riled up about it.”
    Last edited by Lionsfanfromsac; 11-22-2017 at 10:47 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Sadly I vividly remember the Schwartz challenge game because he was without a doubt down. I thought it was the worst rule ever!!!
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  3. #3
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    I'll never forget that Barry Sanders game. It was 2-3 days after my grandma passed away and I was so distraught. It gave me happiness for a few hours. Sitting around with my entire family watching the game as well. Was the last time I did that.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionsfanfromsac View Post
    Sadly I vividly remember the Schwartz challenge game because he was without a doubt down. I thought it was the worst rule ever!!!
    Me too. It was one of the most frustrating moments in Lions history IMO.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahoda View Post
    I'll never forget that Barry Sanders game. It was 2-3 days after my grandma passed away and I was so distraught. It gave me happiness for a few hours. Sitting around with my entire family watching the game as well. Was the last time I did that.
    I remember that game because we were visiting family n stuff and for the first time there was no tension. Everyone was relaxed and cordial lol, it's crazy how a friggin' football game can make everyone get along

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