- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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Over the next two weeks, we will look at 10 critical plays that shaped the Detroit Lions' season in one way or another.
Not all of them will be bad and certainly, with the way the Lions cratered to a 7-9 finish, will not all be good. And some have been just been fantastic plays.
And as always when it comes to these sorts of lists, this is subjective and are plays, for good or bad, that stuck out to me when I made this list. Agree or disagree vehemently, let’s chat about it.
Oh, and we’ll be going in reverse order from 10 to 1.
When: Sept. 15, 2013
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., during a 25-21 Arizona win against Detroit.
What happened: Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer, on a third-and-8 from the Detroit 32-yard line, threw a long pass down the right side of the field for Andre Roberts. Bill Bentley, the nickel back, was beat by a step after a wheel route. But had Bentley turned around, he could have made a play on the ball instead of just running into Roberts, causing the pass interference penalty. He was there and could have been in position to at least get a pass breakup. Had Bentley turned his head, it could have potentially been a no-call as well.
What they said about it: Bentley: “Yeah, they did hurt, but that’s the game. Like I said, man, you can’t win with penalties like that. You know what I’m saying. You’re good enough to be on the field like that, we just have got to make those plays.”
Former Lions coach Jim Schwartz: “In the game, when you talk about pass interference, holding and anything else, it’s generally just a player having either bad technique or being in a bad position. I’m talking blind on Willie (Young’s) (penalty), but I know for Bentley, that was the case.”
How the Lions' season was impacted: In a year where a win or two -- or a play or two -- could have saved Jim Schwartz’s job and pushed the Lions into the playoffs, this play was an early indicator of fourth quarter leads lost to come. Bentley was in position, didn’t turn around and took a penalty to extend a drive. Had he knocked down the pass, the Cardinals would have been forced to kick a field goal, meaning either Detroit would still lead with a miss or trail by one point with two minutes remaining instead of four points. That changes play calls in the final two minutes and what is needed for a win.