When the Detroit Lions take the field this Thanksgiving, it will mark the 82nd occasion of them doing so. It is a tradition that originated in the NFL and a moment of great pride for Lions fans. But as with most things concerning the Detroit Lions, heartbreak follows moments of joy everywhere they go, and Thanksgiving matches are no different.
The Lions do not have the worst record on Thanksgiving, but they still have a losing record on that day. Let us look back at the last time the Detroit Lions won their Thanksgiving Day match.
Thanksgiving Diaries: Detroit Lions and their last victory on the holiday
The Detroit Lions have a 37-42-2 record on Thanksgiving Day. Much of the addition to the losses column has come in recent times, as they have lost 13 of their past 17 games on the day. In fact, their current run on Thanksgiving is one of four straight losses, and the last time they did emerge victorious on this day was in 2016, when they triumphed 16-13 over the Minnesota Vikings.
Matt Prater scored three field goals for the majority of the points that day. He also had a one-point conversion after a touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford. Stafford went 23 out of 40 for a total of 232 yards.
But it was the defense that shone that day, limiting the Vikings to just 13 points. Tahir Whitehead had 11 tackles and was a one-man wrecking ball. Cornerback Darius Slay also had an interception.
Since then, the Detroit Lions have faced one disappointment after another on Thanksgiving Day. In 2017, the Minnesota Vikings got revenge for their previous year's loss by defeating the Detroit Lions 30-23.
This year's opponents, the Chicago Bears, were also at the opposite end in 2018 and 2019 and emerged victorious on both occasions. In 2018, they defeated the Detroit Lions 23-16, and in 2019, the Bears broke Detroit hearts after coming from behind to win 24-20. In the latter game, the Lions led 17-10 at half-time before a scoreless third quarter for them allowed the Bears to pull level. In the fourth quarter, the Bears scored a touchdown whereas the Lions could only manage a field goal.
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In 2020, the Lions played outside their division on Thanksgiving Day, but the result was still the same. The Houston Texans thrashed them 41-25 in the most lopsided of recent matches. The Detroit Lions now have a chance to correct the wrongs and get their first win on Thanksgiving Day since 2016.