Tony Ortiz: Overheard From The Lions After The Win Over The Vikings
Sports Fan Insider
Center Dominic Raiola, on where this win ranks for him since he was drafted by the Lions back in 2001: “It’s probably my best win, ever. It’s bigger than Cleveland at home [2009, a game the Lions won 38 - 37]…..in fact, there’s no other big win……not bigger than this.”
Head Coach Jim Schwartz – at his Monday press conference in Allen Park – on if he agreed with Raiola, and thought that this was the biggest win since he came to the Lions: “It means a little bit more, because it’s a divisional game and a road game……..but it’s hard to……[pause]. I think I said a couple of years ago that we didn’t need to throw ticker tape parades over regular season wins, and I think I still feel that way.”
Here’s my opinion of 4 other big wins for the Lions since 2001:
9/12/2004: Lions 20, Chicago 16. This win snapped a 24-game road losing streak, and – at the time – signalled what seemed like the beginning of a turnaround under then-Head Coach Steve Mariucci and then-starting quarterback Joey Harrington. In fact, Detroit got off to a 4 and 2 start that year, winning road games against Atlanta and the New York Giants, before devastating close losses to Minnesota, Jacksonville and Green Bay – plus a Thanksgiving Day blowout by Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts – sped the Lions to eight losses over the season’s final 10 games.
11/04/2007: Lions 44, Denver 7. A dominating performance by the Lions defense [including Shawn Rogers and DeWayne White] was key in beating a Broncos team that had gone 9 and 7 the previous year. It improved Detroit’s record to 6 and 2, and had players – and fans – thinking playoffs. A 1 and 7 finish to the season, however, crushed those dreams.
11/22/2009: Lions 38, Cleveland 37. Forever remembered – thanks to NFL Films – as the Stafford game, as Matthew Stafford – with an injured shoulder – threw a 1 yard touchdown pass to Brandon Pettigrew to win the game for the Lions. It cemented Stafford’s status as one of the leaders in Detroit’s locker room – a role he holds to this day. It was also just one of two wins by the Lions in Jim Schwartz’s first year as Head Coach.
12/19/2010: Lions 23, Tampa Bay 20. This win broke a 26-game road losing streak for the Lions, and triggered a road winning streak that’s still going to this day. Since this win, Detroit has won at Miami, at Tampa Bay [again] and now at Minnesota. It also was a loss that kept the Bucs from making the playoffs, which opened the door for the team that eventually won the Super Bowl, the Green Bay Packers [a team the Lions had beaten just one week earlier].