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A to Z: The 2016 Detroit Lions

A: Ansah, Ziggy

The fourth-year defensive end may not have had the season he was hoping for after suffering an ankle injury Week 2, but he's still someone who keeps opposing offensive linemen up at night. In his last three games, Ansah has two sacks and seven solo tackles.

B: Big Play Slay

They don't call him Big Play Slay for nothing. Look no further than Week 5 at home vs. Philadelphia. The Lions needed a win in the worst way, and needed a couple big plays to get there. Enter cornerback Darius Slay. Slay forced a fumble late and notched the game-winning interception.

C: Comebacks

Potentially the best descriptor for the 2016 regular season. The Lions won eight of their games in comeback fashion, with all three phases playing a key role late in games.

D: Detroit


E: End zone

Finding the end zone on offense is always the goal, but especially this year with the return of the blue end zones to Ford Field.

F: Ford Field

The Lions' home in Detroit. Their 6-2 record at Ford Field this season helped them earn a trip to the playoffs.

G: Glove

After injuring the middle finger on his throwing hand Week 14 vs. the Bears, quarterback Matthew Stafford donned a glove for the rest of the season, making it (probably) the most talked about clothing item in Detroit during that span. Still healing, Stafford said the glove is staying for the playoffs.

H: Head coach Jim Caldwell

Caldwell joins Buddy Parker & Bobby Ross as the only coaches in Lions' history to lead the team to the playoffs twice in their first three seasons.

I: Interception

The Lions may have only notched 10 interceptions, but they always seemed to come at clutch times.

J: Jim Bob Cooter for president

Never forget when one fan decided to add their own canididate to the presidential election mix by painting Jim Bob Cooter for president on their vehicle. Maybe in four years?


K: Kicker Matt Prater

Prater continued his role as Mr. Clutch for the Lions the season, earning three NFC player of the week awards and one NFC player of the month award along the way. He now has 12 career game-winning kicks with less than 2:00 to play in the fourth quarter or overtime. He's 25 for 25 on game-tying or game-winning field goal attempts in the fourth quarter or overtime.

L: Lions

I thought this one would be obvious. What else would L be for?

M: Muhlbach, Don

Death, taxes and long snapper Don Muhlbach. If Prater is Mr. Clutch, Muhlbach is Mr. Reliable. By playing in his 13th season for the Lions, Muhlbach became the ninth player in franchise history to play at least 13 seasons with the team. He's fourth on the all-time Lions games played list.

N: NFC North

After a slow start to the season, the Lions put themselves in position to win the NFC North title this year, but couldn't get it done in the final week. They finished second to the Packers, and ahead of the Vikings and Bears.

O: Overtime flips

Wide receiver Golden Tate took winning in dramatic fashion one step further with his flip into the end zone in Minnesota.

P: Punter Sam Martin

In the battle of field position, there's one person you want on your side, and that's Martin. He finished the season fourth in gross punting average (48.5) and second in net punting average (44.2).

Q: Quinn, Bob

In his first year as general manager, Quinn's 10-player draft class ended up playing a key role in the team's success this season. (See below). He also signed several new starters and key contributors in free agency.

R: Rookies

First-round draft pick Taylor Decker started all 16 regular-season games at left tackle. Graham Glasgow started 11 games at guard and center, stepping up when injuries hit the offensive line. Defesive tackle A'Shawn Robinson worked his way into a starting role after adjusting to Teryl Austin's scheme.

Safety Miles Killebrew, linebacker Antwione Williams, defensive lineman Anthony Zettel, offensive lineman Joe Dahl and running back Dwayne Washington have all stepped in and played a role this year.

S: Stafford, Matthew

That's our quarterback. In addition to orchestrating eight comeback wins (most in the NFL since the merger), Stafford finished the year 6th in passing with 4,327 yards. He completed 388 of his 594 passing attempts (65.3%) with 24 touchdowns and a passer rating of 93.3. Stafford also upped his ground game this season, rushing for 207 yards on 37 attempts with two touchdowns.

T: Thanksgiving

Detroit is one of two teams regularly scheduled to play on Thanksgiving. This year, the Lions feasted on the Vikings, winning the division matchup, 16-13.

U: Uniforms

Gotta wear something on gameday, right? The Lions unveiled sleek Color Rush uniforms in 2016, but didn't have any Thursday Night games on the schedule to wear them.

V: Victory

That's the name of the game. The Lions got nine of them this season, enough to get them to the ...

W: Wild Card

Playoffs?! Yep. The Lions qualified for the postseason after going 9-7 and grabbing the the 6th seed as a Wild Card in the NFC. They head to Seattle to take on the Seahawks this Saturday.

X: X-tra point

This may be a bit of a cop out for 'x,' but the extra point is not to be overlooked, especially since they moved back to the 15-yard line in 2015. Prater made 31 of his 33 extra-point attempts this year.

Y: Yards

The offense finished the season 21st in yards per game with 338.8. The defense ranked 18th allowing 354.8 yards per game.

Z: Zenner, Zach

Zenner was called upon the last two weeks to carry the load for the running game. He responded with 32 carries for 136 yards (4.2 avg) with three touchdowns and six receptions for 66 yards (11 avg). Zenner's 202 scrimmage yards ranked 8th among NFL running backs over that span. His 3 touchdowns tied for the league lead.

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