Lions prepped for FG return scenario by watching 'Kick Six'

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Adam Humphries returns a missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions.

Tampa, Fla. — It’s one of the most famous plays in recent college football history. It's simply known as "Kick Six," when Auburn returned a missed field goal more than 100 yards after time expired to stun rival Alabama in the 2013 Iron Bowl.

But of all the plays on tape in college and pro football, it might seem like an odd choice for Matt Patricia to show his team and work on during his first training camp as Detroit Lions coach.

After Friday night, that highly specific preparation could be classified as ironic.

In the 33-30 preseason victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Lions attempted a 62-yard field goal at the end of the half. Given the conditions, following pre-game thunderstorms that delayed kickoff for nearly an hour, it was a curious decision.

In the regular season, it might have provided talk radio fodder for a week. But in the preseason, where the final score matters little, Patricia saw an opportunity to test his team’s preparation for a potential return scenario.

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“Getting that opportunity in the preseason, you take those chances and try to teach off of it,” Patricia said.

This was a test the team didn’t pass.

Prater’s kick came up short and was fielded by Bucs receiver Adam Humphries, who dodged an early tackle attempt by long snapper Don Muhlbach and raced untouched for a 109-yard touchdown — a feat that’s been accomplished just twice in NFL history.

“Obviously, it wasn’t a very good play,” Patricia said. “Horrific, to be honest with you. ... We’ll go back and look at it and we need to teach off that moment. It’s something we’ve got to learn from. There’s a time and point where that play might come up and we’ll have to be able to execute properly.”

Patricia welcomes teaching moments. He’s made it clear it’s one of his favorite aspects of coaching. Although, in this instance, he would have foregone that opportunity for a made field goal.

“I pretty much would have liked the conversion,” he said. “I would have been happier with that.”