Backup quarterback Tobin Rote (pictured with Bobby Layne) rallied the Lions, who trailed 27-7 at halftime, for 24 unanswered points in the second half to knock off the 49ers 31-27 to win the 1957 Western Conference Championship Game.
2 of 6George Gelatly/WireImage.com
Trailing the Cleveland Browns 16-10 in the 1953 NFL Championship, Lions' quarterback Bobby Layne was driving the Lions up the field with only two minutes remaining. After a series of short passes, Layne hung a long pass up to wide receiver Jim Doran, who was wide open behind the Browns' secondary and sprinted for the game-winning touchdown.
3 of 6Marvin E. Newman/SI
Dec. 29, 1957
Making a strong case as the team of the 1950s, the Lions demolished the Browns 59-14 in the NFL Championship Game, winning their third NFL title of the decade and improving to 3-1 vs. Cleveland in the playoffs. Tobin Rote passed for 280 yards and four TDs.
4 of 6Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The Lions drafted Barry Sanders, who would become the most the electrifying running back in pro football over 10 seasons in Detroit. Sanders finished his career with 15,269 rushing yards, second to all-time leader Walter Payton, even though Sanders retired abruptly at age 30.
5 of 6Betsy Peabody Rowe/WireImage.com
The Lions won their first postseason game since 1957, obliterating the Cowboys 38-6. The Lions clinched a postseason berth after losing guard Mike Utley to paralysis earlier in the season, and used for inspiration the thumbs up that Utley flashed as he was carted off the field.
6 of 6David Bergman/SI
After a series of failed wide receiver draft picks (Charles Rogers, Mike Williams), the Lions selected Calvin Johnson out of Georgia Tech with the second pick in the NFL Draft. Unlike his predecessors, Johnson almost immediately emerged as one of the best receivers in the NFL and is widely considered to be the best in the game today.
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