Leading by eight points and facing a 3rd and 9 at the Miami 33-yard line with 2:07 left in the game, the Lions handed the ball off to running back Kerryon Johnson and played for the field goal. That's how much confidence Lions head coach Matt Patricia had in veteran kicker Matt Prater. And why shouldn't he? Prater has been one of the best clutch kickers in the league for years now.
After a lengthy break for the two-minute warning, Prater calmly stepped up and nailed the 50-yarder to put the final touches on Detroit's 32-21 victory.
Prater was a perfect 4-for-4 kicking field goals Sunday, hitting from 29, 28, 35 and 50 yards. He also made all three of his extra point attempts.
"He's obviously outstanding at what he does, and he's one of the best in the league and [I] fully trust him to tell me where he's at and what he feels he can execute," Patricia said of Prater.
"We're just going to go out a and take that and go from there. Obviously huge play for us in the game with him, and at the end there, obviously, that's a big one and helps us out. Proud of him for being able to go out and execute that."
In the current climate of kicking in the NFL, the Lions are in a good spot to have a good one in Prater around.
BEATING THE HEAT
The Florida sun didn't bother the Lions too much Sunday, or at least it didn't appear that way.
The Lions were very good about their hydration and getting extra rest this week. Tight end Michael Roberts said after the game that players ran laps in between drills this week to get their heart rate and body temperature up.
The Lions also brought in giant screens to hold over the benches when the players were between series. Lions staffers were literally holding those screens up all game, an obviously taxing job for three hours, that didn't go unnoticed by the players.
"I felt a notable difference when you were – as far as temperature-wise – when you were underneath them," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "I think I'm going to get those guys some treats or something. That's a tough job right there. That's some shoulder workouts from hell. So I was happy they were there, but we'll have to get something nice for them."
GOING FOR TWO
Patricia opted to go for two points instead of kicking the extra point late in the third quarter after Roberts caught a 4-yard touchdown pass to give the Lions a 26-14 lead. Patricia obviously wanted to bump the lead up to 14 points, but the rushing attempt by LeGarrette Blount failed to get into the end zone.
"Standard operation there with the points," Patricia said after the game. "That's what it is. That's what you should do in that situation."
After seven weeks of football, the four teams in the NFC North are separated by just a single game in the win column.
Minnesota beat the Jets Sunday (37-17) to improve to 4-2-1 on the year.
Green Bay is on their bye week and currently sit at 3-2-1.
The Lions beat the Dolphins (32-21) to improve to 3-3 on the season.
Chicago lost to New England (38-31) to fall to 3-3.
The division is wide open heading into the midway point of the season. The Lions still play the Vikings and Bears twice, and close out the season in Green Bay Week 17.
- We wondered this week who the Lions would task with filling in for injured All-Pro punt returner Jamal Agnew, who was placed on IR this week with a knee injury. The Lions used both Golden Tate and TJ Jones against Miami. Tate got an opportunity to return two punts for 15 yards (7.5 average). He had a long of nine yards.
- The team moved Nevin Lawson inside and played Teez Tabor outside to fill Agnew's slot cornerback role.
- The Lions recorded four more sacks Sunday to improve their season total to 21.0. Ricky Jean Francois (2), Jarrad Davis and Romeo Okwara got to Dolphins quarterback Brock Osweiler in this contest.
- Eight different Lions receivers caught a pass, but none of them had more than 50 receiving yards. They didn't need to, as the team rushed for 248 yards on the ground.