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The student news site of Fenton High School

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The student news site of Fenton High School

Fenton InPrint Online

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From the Bleachers: Lions go to NFL playoffs

PHOTO Kavaun Gregory

If someone a few years ago were talking about the Lions, the first thing that would come to many people’s minds would be “losers.” Coming into this season the Lions were on a drought of not hosting a playoff game in 30 years. They also haven’t won 10 or more games in one season since 2014 when their team cruised to a 11-5 record just to lose their first game in the playoffs. This team was different. Not only did the Lions home season tickets sell out for the first time in Ford Field history since it opened back in 2001, but the Lions were coming off their first winning season in years. It couldn’t have been more exciting last season when the Lions ended the season 8-2 to give fans hope that a new Detroit Lions team was on the rise. This year the Lions defied the odds of many and finished with one of the best years they have ever had. 

It all started when the Lions announced that they were going to open their 2023 season by playing the previous Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, who were led by their star quarterback Patrick Mahomes and star tight end Travis Kelce. In a back-and-forth game, the Lions shocked the NFL world and beat the previous Super Bowl champs in a comeback 21-20 win. And it was only the very beginning. After beating the Chiefs, the Lions ended up winning four of their next five games, including games against the Packers and Buccaneers who both made the NFL playoffs this year. Just like that, the Lions were 5-1 and had one of the best records in the NFL. A new challenge was on the rise as the Lions had to travel to Baltimore and face the Ravens. The Ravens were coming into the game 4-2 and were also favored to beat the Lions by around three points. The Ravens would go on to score the first 35 points of the game and never look back as the Lions would end up losing 38-6 in their worst loss of the season.

According to AP News the Lions were brought back from reliaty after getting crushed by Baltimore 38-6 to go to 5-2. But the Lions decided otherwise and kept fighting to continue their push to the playoffs. 

The next challenge for the Lions would be the Raiders on Monday Night Football, meaning the Lions would be playing on ESPN. It was also the first time the Lions were playing on Monday Night Football in two years. The Lions ended up cruising to victory over the Raiders 26-14 and also would win their next two games over the Chargers and Bears to start the season 8-2. After a tough Thanksgiving day loss, the Lions would see themselves at 8-3 and hoping to host their first playoff game in 30 years. The next few games for the Lions would be pretty expected. Besides a tough loss to the Bears on the road, the Lions were able to beat the Saints, Broncos and Vikings, and set up a primetime game against the Cowboys on Saturday night. 

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In the Lions and Cowboys game, it was a back-and-forth game with both teams retaking leads. But late in the fourth quarter, a late touchdown by the Cowboys, and then a 43-yard field goal, gave them a 20-13 lead over the Lions. With 1:41 left in the game, Jared Goff led the Lions on a huge drive which ended on a touchdown with 23 seconds left to cut the Cowboys lead to 20-19 late in the game. Instead of deciding to kick the extra point, the Lions went for two and ended up throwing the ball to their tackle Taylor Decker who made the catch and gave the Lions the lead. After everyone celebrated, a late flag came on the field which stated that Decker did not report as eligible since he had to at his position. The Lions would end up going for two twice more but failed both times and would end up losing the game. After the game was over many people were mad, including Lions fans who thought that the Lions should have won the game. 

After such a heartbreaking loss, the Lions came back and won their next game at home against the Vikings to end their season at 12-5 and finish as the NFC’s three seeds in the NFL Playoffs. Later that day the Lions would announce they were playing the Rams who were led by former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. It was a huge game for both teams—especially for Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff—who were both number one picks and used to play for the team they were now going up against. In the game, the Lions came out and took a 14-3 lead and were able to keep their lead the whole game to beat the Rams 24-23 and advance to the divisional round of the playoffs. 

The next challenge for the Lions would be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were led by quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Buccaneers finished their season 9-8 and also won their division. Even though the Lions were favored to win the game, the Buccaneers kept it close until the very end when Jared Goff threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to his top wide receiver Amon-Ra-St. Brown, which gave the Lions a 31-17 lead with 6:22 remaining in the fourth quarter. Eventually, the Lions would win the game 31-23 to advance to the NFC championship game to face the 49ers. 

Leading up to the Lions and 49ers game, many people were surprised to see the Lions so far. The Lions until this year haven’t won a playoff game in more than 30 years and surprised many by making it to the NFC Championship Game. 

In the game, the Lions jumped out to a 24-7 lead at halftime, looking like the Lions were going to do the impossible and make it to their first Super Bowl in the team’s history. But sometimes miracles don’t exist. The 49ers would end up scoring the next 27 points in the game to take a 34-24 lead. The Lions scored one more touchdown late in the game to get within three but it was just too late. After one last onside kick attempt, the Lions would go on to lose the game 34-31 and end their run in the playoffs.

Even after an amazing run for the Lions and such a sad way to end the season, there are many things to take away from this season. The Lions not only made their first playoff appearance since 2016, but they also hosted their first playoff game since 1994 when they lost to the Packers. The Lions also broke their playoff losing streak at nine and won their first playoff game since the 1991 NFL season. As sad as it was to see the Lions season end the way it did, at least this season let Lions fans know that the Lions are back on the rise. And just like what I said at the beginning of the season—this team is not the same old Lions. 

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