Miracle at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saves Season
There was no way that the Lions' Week 7 contest with the Atlanta Falcons was going to be a low-scoring affair. Right?
The Lions and Falcons were both averaging over 26 points a game going into the matchup, with Matthew Stafford & Co. averaging 26.6 points per contest and Matt Ryan & Co. averaging 27 points per game.
They were both also allowing more than 28 points a contest -- 28.6 a game for Detroit and 30.7 for Atlanta.
Subsequently, the week leading up to the game saw a variety of pundits, including yours truly, predicting each team to score at least 30 points -- many of them picking the Falcons to win, too.
Boy, were these prognosticators horribly wrong.
A week after Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan threw for four touchdowns en route to a 40-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, he was limited to just one touchdown throw in Detroit's 23-22 win Sunday.
It marked the second straight week in which the Lions failed to permit more than one touchdown pass from the opposition -- a credit to Matt Patricia's defense playing a faster, more aggressive style of football since the Week 5 bye.
And most importantly, it's led to two consecutive victories for the franchise, which a myriad of fans and analysts alike deemed to be impossible just a few short weeks ago.
This outcome was more than just a result of the defense playing well, however.
The reason why: Matthew Stafford's play in crunch time.
The 12th-year passer spearheaded Detroit's eight-play, 75-yard game-winning drive, which came to be after a Todd Gurley go-ahead rushing touchdown left an ample amount of time in the fourth quarter -- 1:04, to be exact -- for Stafford to work his late-game magic.
The drive was eventually capped off by an 11-yard TD pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson as time expired.
It not only represented the 36th game-winning drive of Stafford's career but also his 30th career fourth-quarter comeback.
It was vintage Stafford, as he threw for 75 of his 340 total yards -- a season-high -- on the final possession.
What would have been a devastating defeat was staring Stafford smackdab in the face, and he failed to accept it.
He refused to fold, and instead, went into the wayback machine and found the element of his game that has made him one of the best passers of the last decade: the clutch gene.
In doing so, he saved the Lions' season, and gave the organization's fanbase its best moment of the 2020 campaign: The Miracle at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
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