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#pounditFriday, January 21, 2022

Articles tagged: Detroit Lions

Calvin Johnson appears to have buried hatchet with Lions

Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson and his former team, the Detroit Lions, finally appear to be on good terms again.

The retired wide receiver took to Twitter on Wednesday to proudly share that he had returned to Ford Field.

“Back in the Lions Den,” Johnson wrote. “#Megatron #Lions #Detroit”

Johnson, now 36, was one of the greatest players in Lions history. In just nine seasons with the team, he racked up six Pro Bowl appearances and four All-Pro selections. Johnson also led the league in receptions once, receiving touchdowns once, and receiving yards twice (including an NFL-record 1,964 receiving yards in 2012, a mark that still stands today).

But Johnson surprisingly decided to retire at the age of 30 in 2016, sparking a feud with the Lions. The team forced him to pay back a part of his signing bonus after his retirement. They also refused to relinquish Johnson’s rights, making it so Johnson could not play for another team if he ever unretired. Johnson responded with a number of public criticisms of the organization over the years, including making some unsavory revelations about them.

Johnson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame just a few months ago, and the signs of bad blood with the Lions were still evident at the time. Though Johnson had already been back to Ford Field since his retirement, this kind of public acknowledgement of the Lions certainly makes it seem like tensions have now cooled a bit.

Photo: Dec 27, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Lions reportedly leaning towards 1 particular player with top overall pick

Dan Campbell in his Lions hat

The 1-11-1 Detroit Lions are the favorites to land the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NFL draft, and they may already know how they want to use it.

Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported on Wednesday that the Lions’ “current mindset” is to select Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux with the top overall pick if they get it.

The 6-foot-5 junior Thibodeaux was selected as a unanimous First-team All-American this season. He has anchored a strong Ducks defense, leading the team with 7.0 sacks and 12.0 tackles for loss.

The Lions are in need at every position, so they should probably just go with the best player available. But the draft is not for another four-plus months, which gives Detroit plenty of time to change their mind. If they do cool on Thibodeaux, another top prospect recently showed interest in being a Lion.

Photo: Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell on the field before action against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2021, at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Potential No. 1 pick shares thoughts on possibly playing for Lions

Aidan Hutchinson in gear

Aidan Hutchinson has easily been the best defensive player in college football this season, and there is a growing belief that he could be the top overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. That means Hutchinson may have to play for one of the worst franchises in the league, but he clearly is not going to turn down the opportunity.

If the NFL season ended now, the 1-11 Detroit Lions would hold the top overall pick. Hutchinson, of course, is a star defensive end at Michigan. He has ties to the area, but some have wondered if he would prefer to play for a team with a better history of success. The Heisman Trophy finalist had nothing but positive things to say about the Lions during an appearance on “The Adam Schefter Podcast” this week.

Unlike last year, the upcoming draft is not loaded with promising quarterback prospects. That is why Hutchinson has a strong chance of being the top overall pick. The senior has 14 sacks and two forced fumbles this season and has been virtually unstoppable.

There is often talk about players trying to avoid being drafted by poor teams, but that is rarely ever a wise business decision. Hutchinson is smart to keep his options open and try to make Jim Harbaugh’s bold prediction come true.

Photo: Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) warms up before the game against the Michigan State Spartans, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021

Lions OC takes brutal shot at Vikings over walk-off win

Anthony Lynn

Everyone seems to be piling on the Minnesota Vikings over how they lost Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions. Even the Lions themselves are no exception.

Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn could not help but voice his surprise at how the Vikings defended the final play of Sunday’s game. The Lions scored on a walk-off touchdown, with pretty much every Vikings defender playing well behind the goal line despite Detroit being just 11 yards from the end zone. Second-year defensive back Cam Dantzler has largely been scapegoated for the defensive breakdown.

Lynn shaded Dantzler a bit Thursday when pointing out that veteran Patrick Peterson probably would have played the ball better.

Peterson missed Sunday’s game after landing on the COVID list during the week.

The fact that the Vikings blew the play and the game isn’t just down to inexperience or not having Peterson. The entire defense was in a rather bizarre setup, and it looked like more than one breakdown happened on the play. No wonder the team appears to be losing faith in the head coach after outcomes like that.

Former Vikings head coach takes shot at team for their loss to Lions

Lions walk off

One ex-Minnesota Vikings coach is kicking the team while they are down.

Mike Tice, who was the head coach of the Vikings from 2002 to 2005, took a shot at the team on Twitter after Sunday’s loss to the hapless Detroit Lions.

“Really. F-ing Detroit,” wrote Tice. “Even my sorry a– NEVER lost to Detroit” (profanity edited by LBS).

The receipts check out for Tice as well. In each of Tice’s four full seasons as head coach of the Vikings, the team went 2-0 against the division rival Lions. That adds up to a career 8-0 record for Tice against Detroit.

The Vikings definitely deserve the roast. The Lions had not won a game all season and entered play Sunday nursing a 15-game, 364-day winless streak dating back to last season. As a double whammy, Minnesota also lost ground in the NFC playoff race to Philadelphia and Washington, both of whom won on Sunday while the Vikings lost.

True, current Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer might not have the talents of Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss at his disposal like Tice did. But at least Zimmer wins regardless of what happens on the field.

H/T NFL Reddit

No, refs did not botch PAT situation at end of Vikings-Lions game

Lions walk off

The Detroit Lions picked up their first win of the season in dramatic fashion on Sunday, and there were some questions about whether the officiating crew mishandled the ending of the game. They did not.

Detroit defeated the Minnesota Vikings 29-27 with a Jared Goff touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown as time expired (video here). That led to a wild scene at Ford Field, and many were wondering why the Lions were not forced to line up for an extra point or two-point conversion. The touchdown gave them a 2-point lead, which means the Vikings could have, in theory, done something like block a PAT and return it the other way for two points. So why wasn’t Minnesota given the opportunity?

The NFL implemented a rule change in 2018 that made it so a PAT is not always mandatory. Some people incorrectly thought the PAT or 2-point conversion attempt is necessary whenever time expires and the deficit is two points or less. However, that is not the case if the team that scores has the lead.

The rule does not allow for the team that takes the lead to lose it due to a botched PAT or 2-point attempt. Whether the rule is a good one or not is another conversation, but it was applied correctly in the Vikings-Lions game.

Video: Lions score walk-off touchdown for first win of season

Lions walk off

The Detroit Lions will not go winless in 2021. They made sure of it in dramatic fashion, too.

The Lions beat the Minnesota Vikings 29-27 on Sunday, and they did so with a walk-off touchdown pass to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown as time expired. It prompted a pretty wild scene of celebration at Ford Field.

How much did it mean to the Lions? Quarterback Jared Goff went absolutely nuts in celebration after the catch.

One has to ask what the Vikings are doing defensively here. The Lions are only 11 yards from the end zone and they’re essentially playing a prevent defense. Yes, if the Lions are tackled short of the goal line, they lose. Minnesota made that outcome virtually impossible, though, and every Detroit receiver was able to get an unimpeded running start for the end zone. St. Brown did not even have to outrun any defenders — he just ran a curl route and easily stayed in front of the two Vikings near him.

It looked like the Lions had lost this game just minutes before this. Considering how some of their losses have played out, though, they were probably owed one.

Jared Goff had ugly turnover after questionable Dan Campbell decision

Jared Goff strip sack

If you wanted to encapsulate the Detroit Lions’ season into one play, the decision they made late in Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings would be a good place to start.

The Lions had actually jumped out to a 20-6 halftime lead over the Minnesota Vikings, but Minnesota cut away at that lead in the second half. Detroit still held a 23-21 lead with 4:08 to go in the fourth quarter, at which point coach Dan Campbell faced a big decision. The Lions had 4th and 1 from their own 28 yard line, and instead of punting and playing field position, Campbell made the bold decision to go for it.

The Lions tried to fool the Vikings with a playaction pass, but it didn’t work. Not only did it not work, but quarterback Jared Goff found himself under pressure and wound up getting strip-sacked.

The Lions are 0-10-1. It’s not as if they have much to lose. If anything, they look very gutsy if they manage to get the first down there. However, if the goal is to maximize your chances of winning the game, the punt is the way to go in that spot. Goff deserves plenty of blame as well — there’s no way he can hold onto the ball that long under duress and expect to get away with it.

Campbell has won praise for his uniquely emotional personality. With more experience, he may become a solid playcaller and decision-maker as well.

Predictably, Minnesota went on to score a go-ahead touchdown with the extremely short field and went ahead 27-23. Amazingly, however, the Lions executed the two-minute drill and scored a walkoff touchdown for a 29-27 win.

Video: Joe Buck roasts Lions with zinger after penalty

Joe Buck

The Detroit Lions are 0-10-1 this season, and Joe Buck did not really attempt to hide that fact on Thursday.

The Lions lost 16-14 to the Chicago Bears to remain winless. They claimed a 14-13 lead in the third quarter and held that lead until the final second when Chicago made a field goal to win it.

After scoring a touchdown to tie the game at 13, the Lions got a penalty for having too many men on the field. Buck, who was announcing the game for FOX, roasted Detroit.

“I guess they’re just not used to scoring touchdowns,” Buck quipped.

That hurts.

Detroit eventually kicked and made the extra point to take the 14-13 lead. But they blew it in the end, just like they have with all their games this season.

Buck often likes to play things straight, but sometimes he can’t resist slipping in a joke here or there.

Photo: Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; FOX analyst Joe Buck before the NFC Divisional Playoff football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Video: Chicago Bears butchered coin toss before win over Lions

The coin toss between the Bears and Lions

The football world wasn’t exactly excited for Thursday’s game that kicked off Thanksgiving in the NFL. The matchup featured the winless Lions against the struggling Bears. Perhaps nothing foreshadowed what was to come better than the opening coin toss.

The Detroit Lions won the coin toss and deferred. That gave the Bears the choice of kicking, receiving, or defending one of the two end zones. But guess what? Christian Jones tried to defer too!

What nonsense.

The Bears ended up receiving the opening kick and punted on their first possession. They won the game 16-14 on a field goal by Cairo Santos as time expired.

It’s amazing that a professional player could butcher that basic situation so badly. It’s amazing that the coin toss actually causes some confusion.