Matt Prater, Lions hope for some more London magic
WATFORD, England (AP) — For kicker Matt Prater, London is the city of second chances.
On Sunday, he’ll be hoping the magic can rub off on the rest of the Detroit Lions as they try to rebound from a disappointing 1-6 start.
Prater helped the Lions beat the Atlanta Falcons 22-21 last year at Wembley Stadium after missing a 43-yard field goal wide right — and getting a makeover because his own team let the 30-second play clock expire. He drilled his 48-yard attempt to complete the win, the second-biggest comeback in team history.
Prater is looking for an even bigger victory on Sunday when the Lions take on the Kansas City Chiefs (2-5).
"I was lucky and fortunate for the penalty," said Prater, adding he was having "a little temper tantrum — until I saw the flag."
Prater went 3 for 3 that day and, this season, has hit all seven field goal attempts. But his team is misfiring almost everywhere else, giving up big plays on defense, struggling to protect quarterback Matthew Stafford and mounting the league’s least effective ground attack.
But Lions coach Jim Caldwell said last season’s Wembley comeback taught the important lesson that the Lions should never give up.
"It was quite a game, obviously, because of the fact that we had fallen so far behind," Caldwell said, recalling the 21-0 halftime deficit. "But our guys, even in the locker room at halftime, they weren’t deterred. Their focus was keen and down the stretch, we had an opportunity."
That final drive started on the Detroit 7 with only 1:38 left, featured grabs by Golden Tate and Theo Riddick, and ended with Prater’s winning kick.
"The waning seconds were nerve-racking, to be honest with you," Caldwell said with a smile. "That would’ve been a heart-wrenching loss if it had been the other way around."