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Memory Lane: Matthew Stafford Makes Detroit Lions Debut 11 Years Ago

Exactly 11 years ago, on Aug. 15, 2009, Matthew Stafford played in his first preseason game for the Detroit Lions.

The 2008 Detroit Lions season ended with the organization joining a group of franchises that have played a complete season without winning a single football game.

As a result, Detroit secured the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

After a thorough evaluation of potential draft prospects, Matthew Stafford was selected to aid in restoring Detroit to respectability in the NFL. 

“It was a no-brainer, 100 percent, and I’m not just saying that in hindsight, looking back,” former Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said via The Athletic. "We watched every throw he made in his sophomore and junior years, researched his high school background -- it was really obvious to us as an organization that was the guy."

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On Aug. 15, 2009, Stafford suited up for Detroit for the first time against the Atlanta Falcons.

Jason Hanson secured a 27-26 victory for Detroit with a field goal as the clock expired.

Stafford went 7-of-14 for 114 yards, and threw for one touchdown and one interception in the preseason debut for both teams that season.

Detroit's No. 1 overall pick threw a 25-yard touchdown to rookie Derrick Williams, and unfortunately, threw an interception that the Falcons' Tony Gilbert returned for a touchdown.

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The Detroit Lions could have scored an easy third-quarter touchdown, but were forced to settle for a field goal.

"I should have thrown it away. I'm going to throw interceptions, it's going to happen," Stafford said via the Oakland Press. "Every quarterback does, and I understand that. It never really got to me, and don't plan on it happening any time soon. The best way to make up for that was to go down and score a touchdown."

The drive immediately following the interception resulted in Stafford leading the offense on an 80-yard touchdown drive.

"The thing I liked about it is he bounced right back with an 80-yard touchdown drive and took a hit, which you have to do in the National Football League, and made a perfect pass and Derrick made a great catch," then-Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz said following the victory.

Stafford went on to start 10 games his rookie season, and secured 2,267 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. 

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