Four ex-Detroit Lions have significant roles in NFC Championship game
In Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, four former Detroit Lions will have key roles for their team.
During Sunday’s NFC Championship Game between the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers, four former Detroit Lions will have key roles in whether their team wins or lose. One you surely know, but the others might not be as obvious.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford
Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of the agreement on the trade that sent Jared Goff and three draft picks to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Stafford. For the Rams, it was an instant upgrade and raised expectations to Super Bowl or bust.
The path to the NFC title game came with Stafford winning his first career playoff game, then beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (and possibly retiring Tom Brady).
Who are the other Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game?
49ers guard Laken Tomlinson
The Lions took Tomlinson in the first round (No. 28 overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft, and they traded him to San Francisco in 2017. He has started every game the last four seasons, and he’ll be in his spot at left guard on Sunday trying to pave the way for San Francisco’s ground game.
Rams defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson
Robinson was a second-round pick by the Lions (No. 48 overall) in 2016, starting 37 games over four seasons. He signed with the Rams as a free agent in 2020, and this season he started 14 regular season games then both playoff games to this point. He is a key piece of Los Angeles’ defensive line mix.
Rams return man Brandon Powell
The Lions signed Powell as an undrafted free agent in 2018, and he appeared in six games with 11 catches for 129 yards that season (six catches for 103 yards in Week 17). He spent the 2020 campaign with the Atlanta Falcons, then latched on with the Rams in the middle of this year after moving through two more teams.
In six regular season games for the Rams, Powell totaled 341 returns with a 61-yard punt return touchdown against the Vikings in Week 16. He averaged 20 yards per punt return in the playoff win over the Buccaneers, and his contribution on Sunday will be sneaky important.
Which other former Detroit Lion, leaving aside Stafford, do you think will be most important to his team’s success in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game?