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Matthew Stafford's Top 5 Moments with the Lions

SI All Lions counts down Matthew Stafford's top five moments with the Detroit Lions.

For the first time in his career, Matthew Stafford will play against the Detroit Lions.

Stafford spent the first 12 seasons of his career in Detroit, throwing for 45,109 yards and 294 touchdowns. Now, he’ll get the chance to take on his former team in his first year with the Los Angeles Rams.

On Sunday, Oct. 24, Stafford and his new team will play the winless Lions at 4:05 p.m. (EST) at SoFi Stadium. In honor of this matchup, let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of his best moments as a Lion.

Honorable mention: Sept. 18, 2016 – Stafford drops the truck stick

Forced out of the pocket, Stafford tucked the ball, and ran toward the first-down marker.

Standing in his way was Tennessee Titans defensive back Perrish Cox. Rather than try to juke, Stafford simply lowered his shoulder, and bowled over the defender on his way to a first down.

5.) Oct. 25, 2020 – Last-second TD to Hockenson

Stafford and the Lions were given a gift when Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley fell into the end zone with 1:04 to play. Had Gurley stopped short, the Lions would’ve been unable to stop the clock and would've lost the game.

Instead, Stafford and company got another chance. He hit T.J. Hockenson for 13 yards, Danny Amendola for 22 yards and Kenny Golladay for 29, to give Detroit a first-and-10 from Atlanta’s 11-yard line.

Stafford spiked the ball on first down, then hit Hockenson for the game-winning touchdown as time expired.

4.) Oct. 20, 2013 – Triple-coverage touchdown to Calvin Johnson

Down a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, Stafford took a snap from midfield. As the heat came from the Cincinnati Bengals' defense, Stafford evaded the rush, and stepped up in the pocket.

Trusting his now Hall of Fame wideout in Calvin Johnson, Stafford simply heaved the ball to the end zone. He put it in the perfect spot, and Johnson skied over three defenders to haul in the score.


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3.) Nov. 16, 2016 - Overtime game-winner to Golden Tate

Minnesota’s Rhett Ellison scored a one-yard touchdown, with 23 seconds left, to put the Vikings up three. The time left was minimal for Stafford and the Lions' offense, but it was all they needed.

Stafford hit Golden Tate for 40 yards on first down, then Andre Roberts for 27 yards. After a spike, kicker Matt Prater hit a 58-yard field goal to send the game to overtime. The Lions won the toss, and took the ball to start the extra session.

The Lions converted three third downs on the drive, and faced a fourth -- this time a third-and-8 from Minnesota’s 28-yard line. Stafford took the snap and hit Tate, who did the rest and gave the Lions a memorable road win over a division rival.

2.) Oct. 27, 2013 - Fake spike, quarterback sneak to beat Dallas

Down 30-24 with less than 1:00 left, the Lions’ comeback king hit Calvin Johnson for two long gains, to set up the Lions with a first-and-goal on the 1-yard line. Without a timeout, Detroit had to hurry and spike the ball to stop the clock.

Stafford had other ideas. 

After his team got set on the line, Stafford took the snap, and faked spiking the ball. After the fake, he quickly leaped over the line of scrimmage, and stuck the ball over the goal line.

The result was a game-winning touchdown. The Lions won, 31-30.

1.) Nov. 22, 2009 - Comeback against Cleveland Browns and last-second touchdown

The first time Stafford endeared himself to the city of Detroit and won over the fans came in his rookie year. After falling behind 24-10 at the end of the first quarter, Stafford kickstarted a comeback to give his team a four-point lead.

After Cleveland retook the lead, Stafford and company got one last chance to score. On the final timed down of regulation, the then-rookie quarterback launched a Hail Mary to the end zone. The pass drew a pass interference call, but Stafford took a crushing hit from linebacker C.J. Mosley

Rather than miss the game’s final play, Stafford jogged back on to the field after a timeout, and threw the game-winning touchdown through the pain.