Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 12/26/12
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:
Who should perform at Super Bowl 51?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

U.S. Soccer hands Solo six month suspension for Olympic comments

Report: Josh Gordon will be restricted free agent after 2016

Chargers release statement on Joey Bosa situation

Yoenis Cespedes says he will not opt out of Mets contract

Zach Johnson unloads on Olympic golf

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Drew Brees says players do not trust league office, Goodell

Lawsuit over Hall of Fame Game refiled after McAfee comments

Report: Griffin plans to re-sign with Clippers, won't be traded

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron's 'Cleveland Hustles'

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

Revisiting the 10 biggest mistakes of the NFL offseason

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

Ranking the MLB divisional races

NFL 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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron James' 'Cleveland Hustles'

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker