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Prater’s Thanksgiving Heroics Shouldn’t Shock Lions

Once Sam Bradford and the Vikings took a fourth quarter lead in their Thanksgiving Day clash with the Lions, their fate was sealed. After an up and down day on offense, Detroit closed out the win and outright lead in the division by mounting another fourth quarter comeback, this time on the back of clutch kicker Matt Prater.

The Lions are now the first team in NFL history to win seven of their first eleven games in a season after trailing in the fourth quarter of each victory. The accomplishment speaks volumes about the team’s persistence and unwillingness to concede; an attitude that likely stems from even-keeled head coach Jim Caldwell.

But where it’s usually Stafford and the big play offense dragging Detroit back into the contest, yesterday’s hero was Matt Prater (with a slight assist from the defense). He converted two field goal attempts in the fourth: a 48-yarder to tie the game with two minutes to play, and a decidedly easier 40-yarder to win it on the last play of regulation.

The game winner was set up by DB Darius Slay, who jumped a Bradford pass on third down deep in Vikings territory. Sam was a picture of accuracy all day, but his stats were puffed by many a short pass and screen that didn’t demand he test Detroit’s deep coverage. When the game rested solely on his arm, the Lions pounced at the most opportune moment.

So how exactly do you measure Prater’s clutchitude? He’s now a phenomenal 25-of-25 in his career on game-tying or go-ahead FGs in the fourth quarter or overtime. Talk about having faith in your kicker.

Only a couple of seasons ago, the Lions’ campaign was derailed before it even got started when the special teams situation got progressively worse in Motown. Now, in its hunt for the division crown and a home playoff game, Detroit boasts arguably the most reliable kicker in the league.

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