Five greatest Lions games on Thanksgiving: The coin flip, Barry Sanders’ big day and more

The Detroit Lions are nearly as synonymous with Thanksgiving as turkey and pumpkin pie. Thursday’s game against the Houston Texans will mark the 82nd time the Lions have played on Thanksgiving. And while their record on Thanksgiving is a mediocre 37-42-2, Detroit has been able to pull off some improbable wins in front of nationally televised audiences. 

Before D’Andre Swift and his teammates face the Chicago Bears Thursday, here are the top five Lions Thanksgiving Day games ever. The list includes several memorable individual performances as well as some notable wins that Lions fans who watched the games won’t soon forget. 

5. Lions silence talkative Packers

Before the 2013 Thanksgiving game between the Lions and Packers, former Packers guard Josh Sitton had some choice things to say about the Lions’ defense during an appearance on a Green Bay radio station. The Lions, who used Sitton’s words as motivation, had no issues beating their longtime division foe, 40-10. Matt Stafford threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns that included a third-quarter touchdown pass to receiver Calvin Johnson, who caught six passes for 101 yards. Running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell combined to amass 310 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. 

The Lions’ defense, led by Ndamukong Suh, feasted on a Packers offense that did not have Aaron Rodgers, who missed the game with an injury. With Rodgers out, the Lions sacked Matt Flynn seven times while allowing just 126 total yards. The win not only ended a five-game losing streak against the Packers, it marked the Lions’ biggest margin of victory over Green Bay since 1973. 

4. Barry scorches the Bears 

Led by Barry Sanders’ 167 rushing yards and three touchdowns, the Lions rolled up nearly 500 total yards in a 55-20 Thanksgiving win over the Bears in 1997. After their lead was cut to seven points in the third quarter, touchdown runs of 25 and 15 yards…


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