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Did You Know?
>>caption: BOSS ROSS<<
August is known as the month
where baseball begins to wind down
and football begins.
In the NFL August is the month for
pre-season games, otherwise known
However, DID YOU KNOW that just
once the Lions opened the NFL regular
season in August?
The date was August 31, 1997 and
the Lions hosted the Atlanta Falcons
before a crowd of 61,244 at the Pontiac Silverdome. The contest marked the
formal debut of Bobby Ross as new Lions head coach.
Although the Falcons defense did a relatively good job of holding star
Detroit RBack Barry Sanders in check, the Lions rallied to score a 28-17 victory.
Sanders was kept to just 33 rushing yards on 15 carries plus 26-yards on a
pair of pass receptions.
Three times Atlanta took a lead and three times Detroit went ahead in the
hard fought effort with the Lions getting a pair of late fourth quarter touchdowns
to clinch the comeback. Half of Detroit's touchdowns came courtesy of the
Onetime Michigan State placekicker Morten Andersen booted a 30-yard/1st-Qtr
field goal for a 3-0 Atlanta beginning.
The see-saw second quarter included a 43-yard Lions touchdown pass from Scott
Mitchell to Herman Moore, a 24-yard TD Atlanta reception by Michael Haynes from
Chris Chandler and a 42-yard fumble return touchdown by Lion LBacker Stephen Boyd
to give the home team a 14-10 halftime advantage.
After a scoreless third frame the Falcons took their last lead with 10-mins to play
in regulation on a 1-yard Jamal Anderson touchdown rush for a 17-14 score. The Lions
countered with the second Mitchell-to-Moore TD toss, this one of 25-yards, for a 21-17
lead. The Lions clinched the contest when Reggie D. Brown intercepted a Chandler pass
and returned it 38-yards for a TD and a 28-17 final.
While the Falcons out-gained the Lions 323-to-221 in offensive yards, the turnovers
produced by the Detroit "D" also produced victory.
The Lions would go on to finish 9-7 in Ross' first Lions season, but were bounced out
of the first round of the NFL playoffs 20-10 at Tampa Bay.
Ross head coached the Lions for three and a half seasons before quitting midway through
the 2000 campaign. Boss Ross was the last Lions head master to last more than three years.
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