Ten plays that shaped Lions' season: No. 7

January, 9, 2014
Jan 9
5:00
PM ET
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 may have 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.

Past plays: No. 10 -- PI in Arizona; No. 9 -- Reggie Bush’s screen vs. Minnesota; No. 8 -- Calvin Johnson gets the drops.

Today, we present Play No. 7

When: Dec. 8, 2013

Where: Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, where the Eagles came from behind to beat the Lions in a blizzard, 34-20.

What happened: In a game where players routinely lost their footing and you could not see the actual field due to the amount of snow that kept falling, Jeremy Ross tied a Lions record with two special-teams returns for a touchdown in the same game. The play that stood out, though, was Ross’ 58-yard punt return in the third quarter that gave Detroit a 14-0 lead. He moved almost in slow motion as he weaved through teammates and opponents to the end zone. He would later score on a 98-yard kickoff return in the snow as well.

What they said about it: Ross: “After a while, the snow started hardening up. The snow kept clogging up at the bottom of my cleats so it felt like I had heels on at some point. It would pile up, stack real tight on the bottom of my heels so my foot would be, like, lifted up. Sometimes you have to keep patting your feet because it just packs in there and it’s hard to run, change directions, so it really gets underneath your feet.”

How the Lions’ season was impacted: Ross’ day gave the Lions a dynamic returner they could count on the rest of the season and potentially in the future. It also showed Martin Mayhew’s eye for finding discarded talent, as he was a waiver wire pickup after being released by Green Bay earlier this season. That game also changed the way teams approached kickoffs and punts with Detroit, as opponents routinely kicked away from Ross the rest of the season.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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