Originally written on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/29/14
Three very odd plays sum up the frustration that consumed the Detroit Lions in 2012: Sept. 23 at Tennessee: Trailing by three points in overtime, the Lions faced a fourth-and-1 at the Titans 7-yard line. The plan was to line up and try to draw the defense offsides. But center Dominic Raiola somehow didnt get the word and snapped the ball by mistake. Quarterback Shaun Hill failed to get the first down and the game was over. Instead of kicking a tying field goal to continue in overtime, the Lions lost, 44-41. Thanksgiving Day vs. Houston: With the Lions leading by 10 points midway through the third quarter, coach Jim Schwartz illegally challenged an 81-yard touchdown run when officials failed to notice that the Houston running back should have been ruled down after a short gain before popping up and running to the end zone. A strange rule, which is soon to be changed, punishes coaches for challenging scoring plays, which are automatically reviewed in the replay booth. The rules intent was to keep coaches from wasting officials time in those situations. Schwartz threw the flag out of anger for the missed call, and he paid for it. His decision negated the opportunity for the play to be officially reviewed, giving Houston the game-turning touchdown en route to a 34-31 overtime victory. Dec. 22 vs. Atlanta: After the Lions defense forced a safety, the Falcons made a free kick from their 20-yard line. Return specialist Stefan Logan caught the ball at the Lions 4-yard line and inexplicably took a knee even though there was no Atlanta player anywhere close to him. Logan apparently thought he was in the end zone and was downing the ball a touchback. Instead, the Lions took over at their 4. Detroit was trailing 31-18 with 1:21 remaining, so, realistically, it didnt affect the outcome of the game. However, it was one more example of just how bad this season has gotten for the Lions. Brain cramps like these arent supposed to happen in the NFL. Its been a long year for the Lions, who had high expectations coming off a 10-win, playoff season in 2011. Other than Calvin Johnson, nothing went right in 2012. It started Jan. 7 with a 45-28 loss at New Orleans in the playoffs and really never stopped. Even the offseason was an embarrassment for the franchise with four players getting arrested a total of seven times. That led to increasing criticism that there isnt enough discipline from the coaches and leadership among the players on this team. While it seemed obvious to most that to take the next step the Lions needed to improve their suspect defense, general manager Martin Mayhew and company decided to select offensive players -- lineman Riley Reiff and receiver Ryan Broyles -- in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. Reiff and Broyles are quality players, but they became controversial picks because the Lions so desperately needed help on defense. Still, with quarterback Matthew Stafford, Johnson and the rest of the offense back, there was reason to believe the Lions would be playoff bound for a second straight year. They opened the season with a last-second comeback victory over St. Louis, but then lost their next three games. That included becoming the first team in NFL history to give up both a punt return and a kick return for touchdowns in back-to-back games. The Lions bounced back to win three of four to even their record at 4-4 midway through the season following a victory at Jacksonville on Nov. 4. No one could have imagined at the time that it would be the Lions last win heading into Sundays season finale against Chicago. Seven straight losses, including three in a row at home against playoff-bound teams Green Bay, Houston and Indianapolis by a combined total of nine points, have turned this into another season from hell for the Detroit Lions. Injuries have depleted the club at receiver, in the secondary and on the defensive line. Kicker Jason Hanson has made 31 of 35 field-goal attempts, but he missed a 47-yarder off the right upright that could have won the Houston game in overtime. Stafford (17 touchdowns, 16 interceptions) has been terribly inconsistent and taken a step back in his fourth NFL season. The defense overachieved early on considering the injuries and lack of talent in the secondary, but when the Lions really needed a stop, they couldnt make it. Indianapolis scored on a 14-yard pass play on the games final play to win 35-33 on Dec. 2. Offense, defense, special teams somehow, someway the Lions always found a way to lose. The lowest point came 10 days ago when they were humiliated 38-10 at Arizona, which had lost nine straight and was blown out 58-0 by Seattle a week earlier. In the end, Johnsons record-breaking year has been the only significant highlight. Megatron surpassed Hall of Famer Jerry Rice for the most receiving yards in a season with 1,892 through 15 games. But even his standout season wasn't totally fulfilling because Johnson has only five touchdown catches. With a 4-11 record and one game to go, Schwartz and Mayhew find themselves on the hot seat -- perhaps not internally, but certainly from a public-opinion standpoint. Who would have predicted that a year ago at this time when the club was celebrating its first playoff berth in more than a decade?
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Curt Schilling: Bumgarner's postseason is the best ever

Phil Jackson: Knicks ‘not ready for showtime’

Titans WR: Mettenberger better than Big Ben at same stage

Michael Vick: Starting at QB again is a dream come true

Red Sox to reportedly target Pablo Sandoval in offseason

Alex Rodriguez's season-long MLB ban comes to an end

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Madison Bumgarner pitches Giants to World Series title

Giants fans get rowdy celebrating World Series win

Roy Williams' response to criticism over academic scandal

Jerry Jones challenging Tony Romo to play Sunday?

Wizards make rapper Wale new 'creative liaison' for team

Report: Joe Maddon to become Cubs manager

State Farm has hilarious response to recent NFL injuries

WATCH: Michael Jordan trashes President Obama's golf game

GALLERY: Best of sports-themed pumpkins

WATCH: The LeBron Nike spot we've been waiting for

Kobe Bryant’s Wikipedia page listed him with 0-1 MMA record

WATCH: Amar'e sings with Swift for in-arena video bit

WATCH: Randle offers money for massage in jailhouse video

Top storyline for each Week 9 NFL game

WATCH: Chevy guy bombs World Series presentation

WATCH: James Ennis throws down dunk of the season

Kris Humphries shares nasty photo of gruesome finger injury

WATCH: Joe Panik makes play of the game in Game 7

Lions News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Curt Schilling praises Bumgarner

GALLERY: Best of sports pumpkins

Top storyline for each Week 9 game

Williams' response to criticism

WATCH: Chevy guy totally bombs

Bumgarner pitches Giants to title

Report: Cubs to hire Maddon as manager

Tom Brady talks Peyton Manning

Best Game 7s in World Series history

NFL, MLB spend on mid-term elections

Gurley suspended four games

Gordie Howe suffered stroke

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.