For the first time since before Matt Millen took over the team, the Detroit Lions have clinched a winning record. And they have the best player Millen ever drafted to thank for it.
Lions receiver Calvin Johnson turned in a sensational game, catching nine passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns, as the Lions rallied from a 27-14 fourth-quarter deficit to win 28-27.
Ndamukong Suh, back from his two-game suspension, blocked a Sebastian Janikowski 65-yard field goal attempt on the last play of the game to seal the win for the Lions.
It’s the Lions’ first nine-win season since 1997, and it’s a huge step toward the playoffs for Detroit: The Lions now need to win just once, either at home against the Chargers next week or at Green Bay (with the Packers likely having nothing to play for) in two weeks, to clinch a wild-card berth.
It wasn’t easy for the Lions, whose injury-riddled secondary allowed Carson Palmer to complete 32 of 40 passes for 367 yards, with a touchdown and no interceptions. The Raiders knew this was an important game for their own playoff hopes, and they came out motivated and playing hard. Oakland dominated the first three-plus quarters of this game.
But when the chips were down, the best player on the field was Megatron. Johnson was the difference, and he’s their most valuable player as they appear poised to reach the playoffs.