Over the next week, we are going to go through the 10 plays that shaped the 2014 season for the Detroit Lions.
The play: After missing two field goals against the Buffalo Bills, Alex Henery had a chance to make a potential game-winner for the Lions with 26 seconds left in Week 5. Henery missed the 50-yard attempt wide left.
The situation: The Lions had either been tied or led throughout the entire game against the Bills, even with Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush both hobbled with injuries. Henery had already missed a 44-yard attempt off the right upright and a 47-yard attempt short. Yet he still had a chance to win the game for the Lions. He missed the field goal, giving Buffalo a chance to make its own game-winner, a 58-yarder from Dan Carpenter, with four seconds remaining.
The reason it mattered: Henery’s three misses sent Detroit to a NFL-worst 4-of-12 field goals at that point in the season between him and rookie Nate Freese. It also became the moment that ended up stabilizing Detroit’s kicking situation for the rest of the season. The Lions released Henery a day later and ended up signing veteran Matt Prater, who made 21 of 26 field goals throughout the rest of the regular season and both his field goal attempts in the playoffs against Dallas. Oh, it also led former Lions coach Jim Schwartz to be hoisted on the shoulders of some of his Bills players after the win.
What Golden Tate said about the play: “It’s unfortunate. I know Henery feels extremely bad, but hopefully he turns that bad feeling into motivation to working hard and to find a way to make these kicks. Because, to me, that’s one game, when we’re up the whole game and moving the ball the way we are, that’s one game that I think we need to win. I just hope that doesn’t come back and bite us later in the season.”