Detroit Lions Review: 5 Season-Defining Moments from 2010

Kyle Gibbons@@FI2ANCHISEAnalyst IIIJune 17, 2011

Detroit Lions Review: 5 Season-Defining Moments from 2010

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    Robin Buckson / The Detroit News
    Robin Buckson / The Detroit News

    The 2010 Detroit Lions regular season was one of greatness and despair. At times Detroit looked like a team ready to contend in the talent heavy NFC North Division.

    They broke a 19-game divisional losing streak against Green Bay in Week 14, but only managed two divisional wins all season.

    They snapped the 26-game road losing streak with a 23-20 win at Tampa Bay, but still lost six out of eight away games.

    Detroit’s all-world defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh won the National Football League’s Rookie of The Year Award, but the Lions lost starting quarterback Matthew Stafford in Week One for the majority of the season.

    The Lions did send Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh to the 2011 Pro Bowl, but Suh had to miss the Pro Bowl, electing instead to undergo corrective shoulder surgery in preparation for the 2011 season.

    Just like any other Detroit Lions season, it was one of give and take.

    Here are five season defining moments from Detroit’s 2010 regular season.

Ndamukong Suh Is Flagged for the Annihilation of Jay Cutler in Week 13

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    DETROIT - DECEMBER 05: Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz argues an Unnecessary Roughness call on Ndamukong Suh #90 by NFL referee Ed Hochuli #85 during the fourth quarter of the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on December 5, 2010 in Detro
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Ndamukong Suh’s legal hit on Jay Cutler in Week 13 was so violent in nature that it looked criminal. Suh absolutely crushed a scrambling Cutler, and to Jay’s credit he hopped right up. It was unbelievable.

    NFL official Ed Hochuli inappropriately flagged Suh for an unnecessary roughness penalty that day, which resulted in the Bears going on to score what would be the game winning touchdown.

    Even so, that hit resonated throughout the entire league. Detroit had finally established an identity, an identity that said win or lose you’re going to know that you were in a fight.

Landon Johnson’s Violent Hit Takes out Green Bay Quarterback Aaron Rodgers

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    DETROIT - DECEMBER 12:  Aaron Rogers #12 of the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 12, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    In Week 14, the Detroit Lions hosted a rematch against division rival, and eventual Super Bowl Champions Green Bay Packers.

    Aaron Rodgers and company were coming in strong having won five of their last six Regular Season games, but the young Detroit Lions defense stood resolute.

    With just under three and a half minutes remaining in the first half, Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers had only completed seven passes for 47 yards. 

    He was also picked off by rookie defensive back Amari Spievey, and sacked twice. For the entire first half Detroit's defense had completely shut done Rodgers, who some thought should have been selected the NFL's Most Valuable Player.

    With only 3:18 left in the second quarter, it happened.

    As the line collapsed around him, Rodgers scrambled out of the pocket and looked to pick up the first down with his legs. Ignoring the opportunity to safely slide to the ground after a lengthy gain, Rodgers attempted to pick up a few more yards.

    Rodgers was then crushed by Lions linebacker Landon Johnson ultimately resulting in Rodgers’ head violently impacting the ground.

Stafford Returns with a Vengeance in Week Eight Versus Washington

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    Daniel Mears / The Detroit News
    Daniel Mears / The Detroit News

    By Week 8 team doctor’s believed that Stafford had physically prepared himself to return to the team after suffering a shoulder injury in Week One at Chicago.

    The game at Ford Field, would pit the McNabb led (4-3) Washington Redskins against the struggling (1-5) Detroit Lions.

    It's a game in which Stafford would return with a vengeance.

    The young Detroit gunslinger showed great poise in completing 26 passes for 212 yards for four touchdowns. 

    Stafford had finally displayed the ability and promise that Detroit was looking for out of the former #1 overall draft selection.

    It was the first time since 2007 that the team has won back-to-back home games, having defeated the St. Louis Rams at Ford Field in Week 5.

    It should be noted that actor Tom Cruise was on hand for Detroit's 37-25 victory over the Redskins at Ford Field. He was in town visiting his son Conner who had been in Detroit filming the remake of Red Dawn.

Calvin Johnson’s Touchdown Reception Against Chicago in Week 1 Overturned

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    I need only say two things about this debauchery and I will lay it to rest, never to speak of it again.

    Calvin Johnson’s reception against Chicago in closing moments of the Week 1 contest was legit. In what is now known as ‘The Calvin Johnson Rule” it dictates possession by means of referee interpretation. Johnson’s catch over Bears defensive back Zackery Bowman was immediately signaled a touchdown by the referee closest to the play.

    Johnson secured the ball throughout the completion of the entire process. Both of Johnson’s feet, his butt, his left knee and hand all come down in bounds with the ball tightly secured in his right hand.

    By rule the ball impacting the ground as Calvin got up to celebrate should have been considered a second move.

    Though the NFL stands by its determination of overturning Calvin Johnson’s apparent game winning touchdown reception, it is widely considered by most to be a blown call.

    Had the touchdown stood and the Lions defeated the Bears in Week 1, it is possible that the Lions could have enjoyed a totally different outcome in the 2010 season.

Matthew Stafford Blindsided by Julius Peppers in Week One

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    In my opinion Matthew Stafford’s injury in Week 1 was the worst thing that could have happened to the Detroit Lions in 2010. I had such high aspirations for Stafford.

    Julius Peppers came off the edge and absolutely blindsided the oblivious Matthew Stafford resulting in a serious right shoulder injury.

    I knew that Chicago’s free agent acquisition of perennial Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers would have horrible implications in the rest of the NFC North.

    When it comes to the hit, there are some that blame Detroit Lions starting left tackle Jeff Backus for missing his assignment. Some analyst’s say that its Stafford’s inability to effectively step up in the pocket that made him subject to the hit.

    Regardless of who or what is at fault Detroit needs the Stafford project to be successful.

    The Lions have built around a young quarterback that has only played in 13 games in two years.

    At this point Detroit is all in.