American Football Database
2009 Detroit Lions season
Head Coach Jim Schwartz
General Manager Martin Mayhew
Home Field Ford Field
Record 2–14
Place 4th NFC North
Playoff Finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers none
Previous season Next season
2008 2010

The 2009 Detroit Lions season was the franchise’s eightieth season overall in the National Football League. It was the first season with the Lions for new head coach Jim Schwartz, and most of his new coaching staff. The Lions also introduced slightly new uniforms and logos. The Lions spent the whole season at the bottom of their division and finished at 2–14, the second-worst record during the 2009 season. Pro Football Reference has argued that, owing to a weaker programme featuring the NFC West and AFC North vis-à-vis their 2008 schedule against surprisingly strong NFC South and AFC South divisions, the 2009 Lions were actually a weaker team than the 0–16 2008 Lions.[1]


Repercussions of 2008 season

On December 29, 2008, the day after the last game of the 0–16 2008 season, Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford, Sr. announced head coach Rod Marinelli had been fired.[2] His record with the Lions was 10–38 in three seasons.

He also announced:

  • The promotion of Tom Lewand to Team President.
  • The promotion of Martin Mayhew to General Manager.
  • The following assistant coaches were not retained: Joe Barry (Defensive Coordinator), Mike Barry (Assistant Offensive Line) and Jimmy Lake (Secondary).
  • The contract of Joe Cullen (Defensive Line) will not be renewed.
  • The team also announced that Jim Colletto has been reassigned to offensive line coach. He ultimately left football altogether and would be replaced by George Yarno as offensive line coach.
  • Additionally, Dave Boller (Assistant Director of Pro Personnel) was not retained.

New coaching staff

  • On January 15, 2009, the Lions hired Jim Schwartz as head coach. He spent ten seasons with the Tennessee Titans, eight of them as defensive coordinator, helping them compile a 13–3 record and first place in the AFC South in 2008, before being eliminated in the AFC Divisional playoffs by the Baltimore Ravens.[3]
  • On January 21, 2009, the Lions hired veteran coach and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Cunningham worked with Schwartz on the Titans from 2001–2003, and has several years of coaching and defensive coordinating experience with the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders.[4]
  • On January 23, 2009, the Lions hired Scott Linehan as the offensive coordinator. Linehan held the head coaching position of the St. Louis Rams from 2006–2008 but was fired after losing the first four games of the 2008 season. This is the second time in three years the Lions have turned to a former Rams coach. He also served as the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and the Minnesota Vikings for three seasons (2002–2004).[5]
Detroit Lions 2009 staff
Front Office
  • Owner/Chairman – William Clay Ford, Sr.
  • Vice Chairman – William Clay Ford, Jr.
  • President – Tom Lewand
  • General Manager – Martin Mayhew
  • Senior Personnel Executive – James "Shack" Harris
  • Vice President of Football Operations – Cedric Saunders
  • Vice President of Pro Personnel – Sheldon White
  • Director of College Scouting – Scott McEwen
  • Assistant Director of College Scouting – Lance Newmark
  • Assistant Director of Pro Personnel – Miller McCalmon
  • Assistant Director of Pro Personnel – Charlie Sanders

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches


Defensive Coaches

  • Defensive Line – Bob Karmelowicz
  • Assistant Defensive Line – Kris Kocurek
  • Linebackers – Matt Burke
  • Secondary – Tim Walton
  • Assistant Secondary – Daron Roberts
  • Defensive Assistant – Don Clemons

Special Teams Coaches

  • Special Teams Coordinator – Stan Kwan
  • Assistant Special Teams – Bradford Banta

Strength and Conditioning

  • Coordinator of Physical Development – Jason Arapoff
  • Strength and Conditioning – Malcolm Blacken

New uniform and logo designs

The Lions officially unveiled a somewhat new logo design and uniforms on April 20, 2009 at a public press conference at a local Dunham's Sports store. The Lion on the helmet now has a flowing mane and fangs, and the font of “Lions” is more modern and stylish.[6]

The Lions’ throwback uniforms that were used in 2008 became their official third uniform, however they were not used in 2009. The black jerseys used from 2005–2007 were officially discontinued on February 9, 2009, according to Lions team president Tom Lewand.[7]


Key roster losses and trades

Key free agent signings

  • On May 7, 2009 the Lions signed Detroit native and former Michigan Wolverine linebacker Larry Foote.[10] He played on the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008.

Corey Smith disappearance

On March 1, 2009 it was reported that free agent defensive end Corey Smith (who played for the Lions from 2006–2008) boarded a fishing boat off the Gulf Coast of Florida with former teammate Marquis Cooper (most recently of the Oakland Raiders) and former University of South Florida players Nick Schuyler and William Blakely on February 28. Smith and Cooper played together on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004. They did not return as expected and the men and their boat were searched for by the U.S. Coast Guard for three days. The National Weather Service said waves were about two to four feet Saturday morning and increased to between three and five feet in the afternoon. Late Saturday night, a small craft advisory was issued, when winds were around twenty knots and waves were up to seven feet or more.[11] On March 2, at approximately 1:30 pm, Coast Guard Petty Official James Harless reported that Schuyler had been found alive "clinging to an overturned vessel". He was later diagnosed with hypothermia and dehydration.[12] On March 3, the Coast Guard called off the search.[13] Later that day, the Lions released this statement:[14]

Today’s news is a sobering reminder about how truly precious and fragile life can be. We will continue to pray for a miracle, though we fully understand and respect the decision of the Coast Guard.

We were thrilled yesterday with the news of Nick’s rescue, and it gave all of us hope that Corey, Will and Marquis would also be found alive.

While we still have that hope, we have begun to cope with the grim reality of this sad and tragic situation.

We cannot adequately express our heartfelt appreciation to the Coast Guard and all the Florida authorities involved in the rescue mission. Their heroic efforts saved at least one life, and we know they did everything possible for Corey, Will and Marquis.

We also want to thank everyone across the country for their expressions of support. We ask that you join us as we continue to pray for Corey, Will, Marquis and their families.

—Detroit Lions Press Release, March 3, 2009

A private search led by the families of the still missing men began on March 4.[13]

The Lions have also announced that Smith’s jersey number, 93, will not be issued for the 2009 season.[15] The Lions also wore a 93 on the back of their helmets.

2009 NFL Draft

With their league worst record in 2008, the Lions secured the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Detroit also had the No. 20 overall pick in the first round, which they received from the Dallas Cowboys as part of the Roy Williams trade in 2008. The trade also gave them additional picks in the 3rd and 6th rounds.

The Lions traded its 2009 fourth-round selection (101st overall) and its 2008 third-round selection (111th overall, which was traded to Cleveland) to Dallas for its 2008 third-round selection (92nd overall, used to select Cliff Avril).

The Lions selected University of Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford for the No. 1 overall pick. The six-year contract reportedly contains $41.7 million in guaranteed money (the most guaranteed to any player in NFL history) and carries a total value of up to $78 million.[16][17]

2009 Detroit Lions Draft Selections
Draft order Player Position Height Weight College
Round Choice
1 1 Matthew Stafford QB 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 223 lb (101 kg) Georgia
1 20[a] Brandon Pettigrew TE 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 263 lb (119 kg) Oklahoma State
2 33 Louis Delmas S 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 202 lb (92 kg) Western Michigan
3 76[b] DeAndre Levy OLB 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 236 lb (107 kg) Wisconsin
3 82[a] Derrick Williams WR 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 197 lb (89 kg) Penn State
4 115[c] Sammie Lee Hill DT 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 329 lb (149 kg) Stillman
6 192[a] Aaron Brown RB 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 196 lb (89 kg) Texas Christian
7 228[d] Lydon Murtha OT 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 315 lb (143 kg) Nebraska
7 235[e] Zack Follett OLB 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 238 lb (108 kg) California
7 255 Dan Gronkowski TE 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 255 lb (116 kg) Maryland

^a from Dallas[18]

^b from New Orleans via New York Jets

^c from Washington via New York Jets

^d from New York Jets

^e from Atlanta via Denver

Final roster

2009 Detroit Lions roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Jonathon Hall CB (Injured) Kansas State

Rookies in italics
53 Active, 14 Inactive, 9 Practice squad



Week Date Kickoff Opponent Results Game Site TV NFL Recap
Final score Team record
1 Saturday, Aug. 15 4pm EDT Atlanta Falcons W 27–26 1–0 Ford Field Detroit Lions Television Network / NFL Network[19] Recap
2 Saturday, Aug. 22 7:30 pm EDT at Cleveland Browns L 10–27 1–1 Cleveland Browns Stadium Detroit Lions Television Network Recap
3 Saturday, Aug. 29 1pm EDT Indianapolis Colts W 18–17 2–1 Ford Field Detroit Lions Television Network / NFL Network Recap
4 Thursday, Sept. 3 6:30 pm EDT at Buffalo Bills W 17–6 3–1 Ralph Wilson Stadium Detroit Lions Television Network Recap

Regular season

Week Date Kickoff Opponent Results Game Site TV NFL Recap
Final score Team record
1 September 13 1pm EDT at New Orleans Saints L 27–45 0–1 Louisiana Superdome Fox Recap
2 September 20 1pm EDT Minnesota Vikings L 13–27 0–2 Ford Field Fox Recap
3 September 27 1pm EDT Washington Redskins W 19–14 1–2 Ford Field Fox x Recap
4 October 4 1pm EDT at Chicago Bears L 24–48 1–3 Soldier Field Fox Recap
5 October 11 1pm EDT Pittsburgh Steelers L 20–28 1–4 Ford Field CBS Recap
6 October 18 1pm EDT at Green Bay Packers L 0–26 1–5 Lambeau Field Fox Recap
7 Bye
8 November 1 1pm EST St. Louis Rams L 10–17 1–6 Ford Field Fox x Recap
9 November 8 4:05 pm EST at Seattle Seahawks L 20–32 1–7 Qwest Field Fox Recap
10 November 15 1pm EST at Minnesota Vikings L 10–27 1–8 Mall of America Field Fox Recap
11 November 22 1pm EST Cleveland Browns W 38–37 2–8 Ford Field CBS x Recap
12 November 26 12:30 pm EST Green Bay Packers L 12–34 2–9 Ford Field Fox # Recap
13 December 6 1pm EST at Cincinnati Bengals L 13–23 2–10 Paul Brown Stadium Fox Recap
14 December 13 1pm EST at Baltimore Ravens L 3–48 2–11 M&T Bank Stadium Fox Recap
15 December 20 1pm EST Arizona Cardinals L 24–31 2–12 Ford Field Fox x Recap
16 December 27 4:05 pm EST at San Francisco 49ers L 6–20 2–13 Candlestick Park Fox Recap
17 January 3, 2010 1pm EST Chicago Bears L 23–37 2–14 Ford Field Fox Recap
NOTE: Division games are in bold text.


# Indicates that the game was nationally televised.
x Indicates the game was blacked out locally


NFC North
view · talk · edit W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
z (2) Minnesota Vikings 12 4 0 .750 5–1 9–3 470 312 W1
y (5) Green Bay Packers 11 5 0 .688 4–2 9–3 461 297 W2
Chicago Bears 7 9 0 .438 3–3 5–7 327 375 W2
Detroit Lions 2 14 0 .125 0–6 1–11 262 494 L6

Regular season results

Week 1: at New Orleans Saints

1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 3 7 17 0


Saints 14 14 10 7


at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Lions began their season down south, taking on the New Orleans Saints. The Saints struck first with just over 12 minutes left in the first quarter with a 9-yard TD catch by Marques Colston from Drew Brees. They made it 14–0 3 minutes later when Robert Meachem caught a 29-yard TD pass by Brees. The Lions got on the board with just over 5 minutes left in the first quarter with a 47-yard Jason Hanson field goal. They scored again just after the start of the second quarter when Kevin Smith ran in a TD from 4 yards out. The Saints responded 10 minutes later with 2 back to back touchdowns by Jeremy Shockey: from 1 yard and 15 yards respectively, putting the Saints up 28–10 at halftime. After the break, Lions QB Matthew Stafford ran a TD in himself from 1 yard out. The Saints responded a few minutes later with a 39-yard field goal by John Carney. The Lions countered with a 24-yard Jason Hanson field goal 3 minutes later. Less than 20 seconds later, the Saints’ Devery Henderson caught a 58 TD-yard pass. The Lions responded when Louis Delmas picked up a Saints fumble and ran it back 65 yards for a TD. The only score of the 4th quarter was a 13-yard TD catch by Heath Evans of the Saints. With this loss, the Lions began 2009 0–1 which brought their losing streak to eighteen consecutive regular season games.[20]

Week 2: vs. Minnesota Vikings

1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 0 7 10 10


Lions 3 7 0 3


at Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

For their home opener, the Lions hosted division rivals the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions struck first with a 30-yard Jason Hanson field goal in the first quarter. They went ahead 10–0 in the second quarter when Calvin Johnson caught an 8-yard TD pass from Matthew Stafford. The Vikings got on the board a few minutes later when Visanthe Shiancoe caught a 1-yard TD pass from Brett Favre. The third quarter was all Minnesota: first a 26-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell, then a 27-yard TD run by Adrian Peterson. The Vikings added to their lead in the fourth quarter with another field goal, this one from 46 yards out; then a 3-yard TD catch by Percy Harvin. The Lions got their only points of the second half with a 48-yard field goal. With their 19th straight regular season loss, the Lions fell to 0–2.[21]

Week 3: vs. Washington Redskins

1 2 3 4 Total
Redskins 0 0 7 7


Lions 7 6 0 6


at Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

In week 3, the Lions hosted the Washington Redskins. The first half was all Detroit. After a goal line stand on a Redskins 4th and 1, the Lions drove 99 yards and scored with a Bryant Johnson 21-yard TD catch. Next in the second quarter were two field goals by Jason Hanson, from 39 yards and 26 yards out respectively, putting the Lions up 13–0 at halftime. The Redskins got on the board in the third quarter with a 57-yard TD catch by Santana Moss. The Lions scored next with a 2-yard TD run by Maurice Morris but failed on the 2-point conversion. The final score of the game was a 4-yard TD pass by Rock Cartwright. The Lions defense prevented the Redskins’ comeback, stopping a touchdown drive in the final seconds of the game. This win was the Lions’ first regular-season victory since December 23, 2007, and improved the team’s record to 1–2. It ended a franchise-record nineteen consecutive losses, which was also the second-longest losing streak in NFL history behind the 197677 Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ streak of twenty-six straight losses.[23] Lions radio play-by-play man Dan Miller said of the win and end to the streak, “Nightmare over.”[24]

Week 4: at Chicago Bears

1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 14 7 0 3


Bears 7 14 13 14


at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois

In week 4, the Lions flew to The Windy City for a NFC North duel with the Chicago Bears. Detroit threw the opening punch in the first quarter with running back Kevin Smith’s 1-yard touchdown run. The Bears would respond with quarterback Jay Cutler’s 5-yard touchdown run, yet Detroit answered with rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford completing a 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Will Heller. Chicago took the lead in the second quarter with Cutler's 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kellen Davis and a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Olsen, but the Lions would tie the game prior to halftime with Smith's 3-yard touchdown run, capping off a 98-yard drive. However, in the third quarter, the Bears would set the tempo for the second half. It immediately began with wide receiver Johnny Knox returning the half's opening kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown, followed by a 52-yard and a 22-yard field goal from kicker Robbie Gould. Detroit tried to rally in the fourth quarter with kicker Jason Hanson’s 35-yard field goal, but Chicago pulled away with running back Matt Forté’s 37-yard touchdown run and running back Garrett Wolfe’s 2-yard touchdown run. Stafford (24-of-36, 296 yards, TD, INT) left the game during the fourth quarter with a knee injury. With the loss, the Lions fell to 1–3. [25]

Week 5: vs Pittsburgh Steelers

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 14 7 0


Lions 6 7 0 7


at Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

In week 5, the Lions hosted the defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The Lions scored first with a 46-yard Jason Hanson field goal. The Steelers responded with a 7-yard TD run by Rashard Mendenhall. The Lions replied with another 46-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Pittsburgh scored first with a 15-yard TD catch by Heath Miller from Ben Roethlisberger. The Lions retaliated with a 38-yard interception run for a touchdown by William James. Hines Ward of the Steelers next got a touchdown of his own, a 17-yard catch, making the halftime score 21–13 Pittsburgh. After the break, Mike Wallace of Pittsburgh caught a 47-yard TD pass. The final score of the game was a 25-yard catch by Detroit’s Dennis Northcutt. Lions backup QB Daunte Culpepper was sacked 7 times in the loss, 3 of which were on consecutive downs.[26]

Week 6: at Green Bay Packers

1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 0 0 0 0


Packers 14 9 3 0


at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

In week 6, the Lions traveled to Green Bay, Wisconsin to take on NFC North Division foes the Green Bay Packers. They were shut out for the first time since 2001, and the first time by the Packers since 1946. The Packers scored two touchdowns in the first quarter: a 47-yard catch by James Jones from Aaron Rodgers, then a 1-yard catch by John Kuhn. In the second quarter Mason Crosby kicked 3 field goals from 46, 28 and 31 yards respectively. The only score of the second half was a 26-yard field goal. The loss made the losing streak in Wisconsin 18 games, dating back to 1992. On a positive note, the Lions defense recorded 5 sacks.[27]

Week 8: vs St. Louis Rams

1 2 3 4 Total
Rams 3 7 0 7


Lions 0 2 0 8


at Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

In week 8, the Lions hosted the St. Louis Rams. The Rams got on the board first in the first quarter with a 41-yard field goal by Josh Brown. In the second quarter, the Lions' Matthew Stafford threw an interception into the end zone to James Butler but he was tackled by running back Kevin Smith for a Lions safety. Near halftime, the Rams performed a successful fake field goal when kicker Josh Brown passed it to Daniel Fells and he ran it in 36 yards for a touchdown. Both teams went scoreless in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford ran it in himself from 4 yards out for a TD, and tied it up with a 2-point conversion catch by Maurice Morris. The Rams took the lead near the end though with a 25-yard run by Steven Jackson.[29]

This would prove the Rams’ only victory of the season, preventing them from duplicating the Lions’ dubious accomplishment of the previous season.[lower-alpha 1]

Week 9: at Seattle Seahawks

1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 17 0 0 3


Seahawks 0 13 9 10


at Qwest Field, Seattle Washington

In week 9, the Lions traveled to Seattle, Washington to take on the Seattle Seahawks. The Lions took an early lead in the first quarter, scoring 17 unanswered points. First came 2 TD's: a Brandon Pettigrew 7-yard catch, then a Bryant Johnson 29-yard catch, and afterward was a 41-yard field goal. The Seahawks responded in the second quarter with a TD and 2 field goals. First the TD, a 3-yard run by Julius Jones. The field goals by Olindo Mare were both from 37 yards out. In the 3rd quarter came another Seattle field goal, from 24 yards out. Then a Seahawks TD to give them the lead, a 2-yard TD catch by T.J. Houshmandzadeh. However, the fake field goal for a 2-point conversion was no good. The Lions' only score of the second half was a 50-yard field goal. The Seahawks sealed their win with a 61-yard interception for a TD by Josh Wilson.[31]

Week 10: at Minnesota Vikings

1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 0 3 7 0


Vikings 3 7 7 10


at Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota

In week 10, the Lions traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a rematch with NFC North foes the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings scored the only points of the first quarter with a 22-yard Ryan Longwell field goal. They added to their lead in the second quarter with a 22-yard TD run by Adrian Peterson. The Lions' only score of the first half was a 38-yard Jason Hanson field goal just before halftime. In the 3rd quarter the Vikings further added to their lead with a 1-yard run by Adrian Peterson, his 2nd TD of the game. The Lions responded with an 8-yard TD from Matthew Stafford to Will Heller. The Vikings sealed their win with a TD and field goal in the 4th. First an 8-yard TD catch by Jeff Dugan from Brett Favre, and finally a 35-yard field goal.[32]

Week 11 vs Browns

Cleveland Browns (1–8) at Detroit Lions (1–8)
1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 24 3 2 8


Lions 10 14 7 7


at Ford FieldDetroit, Michigan

In Week 11, the Lions hosted the Cleveland Browns in an interconference shootout. The Browns built a big lead in the first quarter, scoring first with a 44-yard field goal by Phil Dawson. After a 31-yard Jason Hanson field goal, Cleveland scored 21 points on Brady Quinn touchdowns to Mohamed Massaquoi (59 yards), Chansi Stuckey (40 yards), Joshua Cribbs (four yards). The Lions answered with three consecutive TD passes from Matthew Stafford to Aaron Brown (26 yards) and Kevin Smith (25 yards) and a 75-yard catch and run TD for Calvin Johnson. The Browns responded with a 29-yard field goal just before halftime. In the 3rd quarter Will Heller of the Lions caught a one-yard TD pass. The Browns received a safety when Stafford was tackled in his own end zone and called for intentional grounding. The Browns retook the lead on a two-yard TD catch by Michael Gaines and a Jamal Lewis two-point conversion. Stafford was intercepted on the next Lions possession, but the Lions stopped the Browns on 4th and 5. Then they drove 88 yards. With 2 seconds left, Stafford raced out of the pocket and threw a pass into the end zone which was intercepted by Brodney Pool, but the pick was nullified on a Hank Poteat pass interference penalty, giving the Lions one more play with no time left on the clock. Stafford was brutally hit by two Browns defenders on the play, and suffered what turned out to be a major shoulder separation of his left (non-throwing) arm; he had to come out for the final play and backup Daunte Culpepper went in, but the Browns called time-out; under NFL rules injured players must come out for one play, and the Browns timeout thus made Stafford eligible to return to the field; he told the coaches he wanted to return for the final play (pleading to coaches “If you need me to throw the ball, I can throw the ball”) and was allowed to go back in. He then threw a touchdown to Brandon Pettigrew, and Jason Hanson tacked on the extra point for the win. Stafford became the youngest QB to throw five touchdown passes in a game since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. He also set a record for passing yards in a game by a rookie with 422.[33] For his performance, Stafford won NFC Offensive Player of the Week and Pepsi Rookie of the Week.[34][35]

The game was made into an NFL Film, with Matthew Stafford mic'ed up. It was shown on NFL Network's NFL Replay and Wired for Sound and became a segment in the “Quarterback Duels” episode of NFL Top 10, as well as Showtime's Inside the NFL. The company's founder Steve Sabol said the Lions' game-winning drive was the most dramatic film he has seen in over 30 years.

Week 12: vs. Green Bay Packers (Thanksgiving Day game)

1 2 3 4 Total
Packers 0 13 14 7


Lions 7 0 0 5


at Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

For their 70th annual Thanksgiving Day game, the Lions hosted a rematch with division rivals the Green Bay Packers. Detroit got an early lead when Matthew Stafford threw a 1-yard TD pass to Calvin Johnson, the only Lions score of the first half. The Packers responded with a TD of their own, a 7-yard toss to Donald Lee. The Packers then kicked 2 field goals: first a 20 yarder and just before halftime a 25 yarder. The Packers scored 2 touchdowns in the 3rd quarter. First a 7-yard catch by Donald Driver, then a 21-yard catch by James Jones. The Lions picked up a safety when the Packers Ryan Grant had his left arm down before he fumbled the ball in their own end zone in the fourth quarter. They then kicked a 22-yard field goal. The Packers sealed their win when Charles Woodson intercepted a Stafford pass and ran it back 38 yards for a touchdown. The Thanksgiving Day losing streak for the Lions is now six, the longest in franchise history.[36] With the loss combined with the Eagles win over the Redskins, the Lions were officially eliminated from postseason contention. This would also become the Packers' 9th straight victory over the Lions, dating back to the second game between the teams in the 2005 season.

Week 13: at Cincinnati Bengals

1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 7 0 0 6


Bengals 0 17 3 3


at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

In week 13, the Lions traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio for a non-conference contest with the Cincinnati Bengals. Detroit got an early lead in the first quarter with a 54-yard catch and run by Calvin Johnson. The Bengals tied it up in the second when Jonathan Fanene caught a tipped Matthew Stafford pass and ran it back 45 yards for a touchdown. Cincinnati then took the lead and didn't give it back when Chad Ochocinco caught a 36-yard TD. The Bengals closed out the first half with a 44-yard field goal by Shayne Graham. In the second half the Bengals scored 2 more field goals, from 39 and 23 yards respectively. The Lions scored the game’s final points late in the 4th quarter with a 2-yard run by Kevin Smith. The Lions went for a 2-point conversion but failed.[37]

Week 14: at Baltimore Ravens

1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 0 3 0 0


Ravens 3 17 21 7


at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather: 34 °F (1 °C), rain
  • Game attendance: 70,673
  • Referee: Don Carey
  • TV announcers (Fox): Chris Myers & Tim Ryan

In week 14, the Lions traveled to rainy Baltimore, Maryland for an interconference duel with the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore lead for almost the entire game. They scored first late in the first quarter with a 38-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff. They added to their lead with a 62-yard catch and run TD by Derrick Mason from Joe Flacco. The Lions scored their only points of the game near the end of the second quarter with a 22-yard Jason Hanson field goal. A minute later the Ravens responded with a 59-yard rushing TD by Ray Rice. Baltimore finished out the first half with a 25-yard field goal. In the second half the Ravens scored 4 consecutive touchdowns. First a Le'Ron McClain 3-yard run. Then 2 by Willis McGahee: first an 8-yard run, then a 19-yard run. In the fourth quarter, the Ravens capped off their huge victory when Troy Smith ran in a TD from 15 yards. Lions backup quarterback Daunte Culpepper completed less than half of his passes (16 for 34) and threw 2 interceptions.[38]

Week 15: vs. Arizona Cardinals

1 2 3 4 Total
Cardinals 7 10 0 14


Lions 0 0 17 7


at Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

In week 15, the Lions hosted the defending the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals. The first half was all Arizona. First was a Larry Fitzgerald 1-yard catch from Kurt Warner. Next in the second quarter a 48-yard field goal by Mike Nugent. Then near halftime a 1-yard rush by Tim Hightower. After his unproductive first half (6 for 12 and only 64 yards passing and an interception) Lions backup quarterback Daunte Culpepper was replaced by third stringer Drew Stanton who breathed some life into the offense. First though came an interception and 100 yard Lions TD run by Louis Delmas, a tie for the third longest interception TD in team history. A few minutes later Detroit's Maurice Morris ran in a career-high 64 yard TD. In the 4th quarter, the Cardinals responded with an 18-yard Chris Wells TD run. The Lions tied it back up when Stanton ran in his first career rushing TD from 1 yard out. The Cardinals sealed their victory though with just under 2 minutes left when Anquan Boldin caught a 5-yard TD pass. The Lions attempted to tie it back up soon after but were stopped on 4th and 1.[40]

Week 16: at San Francisco 49ers

1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 3 0 0 3


49ers 3 3 14 0


at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

For their last road game of the season, in week 16 the Lions traveled west to San Francisco to play the San Francisco 49ers. The Lions took an early lead midway through the first quarter with a 27-yard Jason Hanson field goal. The 49ers tied it up at the end of the first quarter with a 33-yard field goal by Ricky Schmitt. The only score of the 2nd quarter was a 39-yard 49ers field goal just before halftime. In the third quarter came 2 San Francisco TD's. First a 2-yard catch by Vernon Davis, then a 1-yard run by Frank Gore. The Lions kicked another field goal late in the 4th quarter from 38 yards out. The Lions road losing streak now stands at 20.[41] And for the win, the 49ers improved their record to 7-8. With the loss, the Lions dropped their record to 2-13.

Week 17: vs Chicago Bears

1 2 3 4 Total
Bears 3 10 7 17


Lions 3 7 3 10


at Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

For their season finale, the Lions hosted a rematch with division rivals the Chicago Bears. The Bears started the scoring in the first quarter with a 44-yard field goal by Robbie Gould. The Lions responded with a 42-yard field goal of their own. Then in the second quarter the Bears kicked another field goal, from 28 yards out. The Lions then took the lead with a 12-yard Bryant Johnson TD catch. The Bears took it back just before halftime with a 7-yard Greg Olsen TD catch. In the third quarter the Bears added to their lead with a Devin Aromashodu 9-yard TD catch. The Lions responded with a 48-yard field goal. Later, in the fourth quarter, the Lions tied it up with a 5-yard Calvin Johnson TD catch. The Bears took the lead back though with a Desmond Clark 1-yard TD catch. The Lions then scored their final points of the season, a 32-yard field goal. The Bears responded with another Devin Aromashodu TD catch, this one from 12 yards. The Bears closed out the scoring with a 34-yard field goal.[42]

The loss allowed the Lions to clinch the second overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft behind the St. Louis Rams, who finished 1–15, with their lone victory at Detroit’s expense in week 8.

Awards and records

Matthew Stafford

  • Most passing touchdowns by a rookie quarterback in a single game (5)

Local TV Blackouts

In the 2009 season, the Lions had four of their 8 home games televised on local TV. The Lions sold out their home opener against the Vikings, as well as a week 5 match up against the Steelers, the Thanksgiving Classic against Green Bay, and their season finale against the Bears. Both of the Lions wins in 2009 were blacked out on local television (the Detroit, Flint/Tri-Cities, Lansing/Jackson and Toledo markets) because the game didn't sell out by the 72-hour deadline. In the games that Detroit didn’t sell out, the attendances were announced at just over 40,000 and quite often, the stadium looked only half full. Since the Lions 0–16 season in 2008, popularity in the team has decreased and the Lions have struggled to sell tickets.


  1. Pro Football Reference; Detroit Lions Team Encyclopedia
  2. "Detroit Lions official site William Clay Ford Promotes Tom Lewand to Team President and Martin Mayhew to General Manager".
  3. Detroit News January 16, 2009 Lions Pick Schwartz
  4. "Detroit Lions Official Site January 21, 2009 Lions Name Gunther Cunningham as Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator".
  5. "Detroit Lions Official Site January 23, 2009 Lions Name Scott Linehan as Offensive Coordinator".
  6. "Detroit News April 20, 2009 Lions' new logo has fangs, flowing mane". Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  7. Kowalski, Tom (February 9, 2009). "Tom Lewand: Lions' black uniforms discarded". Archived from the original on February 10, 2009. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  8. Detroit News February 28, 2009 Lions trade Jon Kitna to Cowboys for CB Anthony Henry[dead link]
  9. Detroit Free Press March 15, 2009 Lions trade Cory Redding to Seattle for Julian Peterson Archived March 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  10. "Detroit News May 7, 2009 Larry Foote wants to help hometown team, Lions history aside". Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  11. Yahoo! News March 1, 2009 Agent: 2 NFL players among Fla. missing boaters Archived April 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  12. March 2, 2009 Boater found, NFL players still missing
  13. 13.0 13.1 March 4, 2009 Coast Guard suspends search for NFL players, friend
  14. "Detroit Lions reaction to news that Coast Guard will cease search and rescue efforts for Corey Smith, Will Bleakley and Marquis Cooper". Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  15. "Yahoo! Sports March 21, 2009 In Smith’s memory, no Lion will wear 93 this fall". Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  16. Detroit negotiated a deal with Stafford on April 24, 2008, less than 24 hours before the draft. "Sources: Stafford will be No. 1 pick". ESPN. April 24, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2009.
  17. Video player Matt Stafford official draft announcement with analysis and interview
  18. Davis, Brian (October 14, 2008). "Dallas Cowboys get pick back, then ship it to Detroit Lions". The Dallas Morning News website. Belo Corp.. Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
  19. NFL Network 2009 pre-season schedule
  20. NFL Recap Lions at Saints week 1
  21. NFL Recap Vikings at Lions week 2
  22. Detroit Free Press September 24, 2009 Lions' home game Sunday blacked out locally Archived October 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  23. NFL Recap Redskins at Lions week 3
  24. Week 3 highlight video Redskins at Lions
  25. NFL Recap Lions at Bears week 4
  26. NFL Recap Steelers at Lions week 5
  27. NFL Recap Lions at Packers week 6
  28. Detroit Free Press October 29, 2009 Lions game on Sunday to be blacked out[dead link]
  29. NFL Recap Rams at Lions week 8
  30. Pro Football Reference; Rams Franchise Encyclopedia
  31. NFL Recap Lions at Seahawks week 9
  32. NFL Recap Week 10 Lions at Vikings
  33. NFL Recap Browns at Lions week 11
  34. "Detroit November 24, 2009 – Stafford Named NFC Offensive Player of the Week".
  35. "Detroit Lions Official Site November 27, 2009 QB Matthew Stafford Voted Week 11 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week".
  36. NFL Recap Packers at Lions Week 12
  37. NFL Recap Lions at Bengals Week 13
  38. NFL Recap Lions at Ravens week 14
  39. Detroit Free Press December 17, 2009 Lions will be blacked out again Sunday Archived December 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  40. NFL Recap Cardinals at Lions week 15
  41. NFL Recap Lions at 49ers week 16
  42. NFL Recap Bears at Lions week 17


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