Ranking Detroit Lions’ 2013 Collapse Among 10 Worst In NFL History
The 2013 Detroit Lions' Place In NFL Lore
There are plenty of twists and turns that make for a historic NFL collapse. In some cases, an irreplaceable player gets lost for the season and all hope is lost. Other cases have seen teams playing a weak schedule at the beginning, then collapse when the going gets tough. In the most extreme of circumstances, collapses stem from a team's inability to get out of their own mistakes, combined with baffling coaching decisions that set the course for the rest of the season and the inability to capitalize on golden opportunities.
This is what the 2013 Detroit Lions suffered with their collapse. After starting 6-3 with all six wins against non-playoff teams, the Lions finished 1-6 to finish 7-9 overall and third in the NFC North. Most of this seven-game stretch came when both the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers played without star quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers respectively. The Lions' only win was a 40-10 blowout of the eventual 8-7-1 Packers playing with their fourth-string quarterback.
Jim Schwartz's fake punt call against the Pittsburgh Steelers started the tailspin in hindsight, and Schwartz would ultimately pay the price as he was fired and is now the Buffalo Bills' new defensive coordinator. In that stretch, Detroit also had an astounding 21 turnovers on offense.
New head coach Jim Caldwell comes in from the Baltimore Ravens and is asked to quickly turn around this franchise in order to not let this awful ending to a promising season linger for years to come. So here's the question: how bad was the 2013 Detroit Lions' collapse when it comes to NFL history? The answer may shock some of you.
10. 2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Late in the year, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin announced that he was leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to join new head coach Lane Kiffin at the University of Tennessee. In the four games after this announcement, the Buccaneers went 0-4, and lost the regular season finale to JaMarcus Russell and coach Jon Gruden's former team, the Oakland Raiders at home.
Both Gruden and GM Bruce Allen were fired, and the Bucs have not made the playoffs since 2007.
9. 2010 New York Giants
The New York Giants' collapse started in Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants held a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, but gave up 28 consecutive points, including a walk-off punt return to lose 38-31. The next week, the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers routed them 45-17 at Lambeau Field. The Giants then won their regular season finale against the Washington Redskins, but lost the wild card opportunity to the Packers.
8. 2008 New York Jets
After defeating both the hated New England Patriots and previously unbeaten Tennessee Titans on the road, the 2008 New York Jets crashed out of the playoff hunt. New quarterback Brett Favre played through injury during a 1-4 stretch to close out the year. In the final game of the season, former New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington led the Miami Dolphins to a road win over the Jets to claim the AFC East title.
After the season, Eric Mangini was fired and was replaced by Rex Ryan, while Favre retired, then came back to play with the Minnesota Vikings.
7. 2008 Dallas Cowboys
It all went bad for the Dallas Cowboys in the final two weeks of the 2008 regular season. In the final home game at Texas Stadium, the defense gave up 17 fourth-quarter points and 265 total rushing yards in a 33-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. In the season finale at Philadelphia, the Eagles crushed the Cowboys 44-6 to win the NFC East.
Wide receiver Terrell Owens never played another down for the Cowboys after that.
6. 1994 Philadelphia Eagles
After crushing the eventual Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers 40-8 and starting 7-2, the Eagles lost seven in a row to miss the postseason.
Head coach Rich Kotite benched quarterback Randall Cunningham for Bubby Brister and was fired after the season.
5. 2013 Detroit Lions
Only one loss in the Lions' final 1-6 stretch came to a team that was above .500. They lost any sign of the playoffs when Matthew Stafford threw a pick-six in the fourth quarter to the New York Giants and the team lost 23-20 in overtime in Week 16. Schwartz was fired, and Caldwell will now try to fix the mess.
4. 1995 Cleveland Browns
After their win over the rival Cincinnati Bengals in overtime at home, owner Art Modell announced that the Cleveland Browns were moving the Baltimore. Any chances that the 1995 Browns had died as they lost six out of seven to close out their first run, costing head coach Bill Belichick his job.
3. 2003 Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings became the first team to start 6-0 and not make the playoffs. The team went 4-2 against playoff teams and 5-5 to teams with losing records, blew a 17-6 fourth-quarter lead in the season finale to the then 3-12 Arizona Cardinals and gave up a fourth-and-25 touchdown pass to be eliminated from the playoffs.
2. 1993 Miami Dolphins
Although this was the year that Dan Marino was hurt as Scott Mitchell replaced him, it was the only time in NFL history that a team went from 9-2 to 9-7 and missed the postseason.
1. 2008 Denver Broncos
Needing just one win to win the division, Denver lost four straight and allowed the 4-8 Chargers to rout them in the regular season finale in San Diego to lose the AFC West.
In the following offseason, coach Mike Shanahan was fired and quarterback Jay Cutler was traded.