In the week leading up to the debacle between the hapless St. Louis Rams and the insanely inept Detroit Lions, I kept telling anyone that would listen to take St. Louis and the points and place a hefty wager on the Rams. In my mind, there was no way the Lions were going to win the game and the reasoning was predicated more on the history of the franchise than any on-field strategem.
If the Rams lost to Detroit, they would be in danger of being the second team in as many years to go winless during the regular season. Of course Detroit, the team that holds the dubious distinction of being the first 0-16 team, would graciously gift St. Louis a win so that the Rams would avoid a similar fate. Thats just the way Detroit rolls. Its fate that they would give away a game to a team in such dissarray. It helps the Rams avert disaster and keeps Detroit in the record books as the most un-perfect team of all time. Yeah, that sounds about right. The maxim that a bad Lion team will help another bad team become less worse should be called Millen’s Law.
Detroit had two weeks to prepare for the game against St. Louis and the Lions knew if they could stop one player, Ram running back Stephen Jackson, they had an excellent chance to cruise in this ballgame. Unfortunately if there was a defensive gameplan to stop Jackson, it was scrapped sometime right before kickoff at Ford Field as Jackson ran for close to 150 yards and picked up two TDs, including the game-winner with less than 2 minutes to go in the contest.
Fans should put this loss squarely on the coaching staff for not preparing adequately and having the team come out flat with no emotion whatsoever. Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham had no answer for Jackson and couldn’t sustain any pressure on Ram quarterback Marc Bulger, arguably one of the easiest QB’s in the league to corral due to his lack of mobility and a bad St. Louis offensive line. Special teams coordinator Stan Kwan probably (hopefully?) sealed his fate when Detroit succumbed to a fake field goal that resulted in a touchdown in the second half. The trick play wasn’t even that tricky. The Lions simply got caught flat-footed and paid the price. Again, with 14 days to prepare for any such tomfoolery, the special teams unit failed horribly at recognizing what St. Louis was doing. Offensive Scott Linehan called a dreadful game, although his gameplan certainly wasn’t helped by the number of dropped passes the Lions receivers muffed and the stop-start, indecisive running by Kevin Smith.
The loss to St. Louis was the first game in which Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz should clearly take some heat for the overall performance of the squad. In previous losses this season, its been a talent issue. But the talent was leveled against St. Louis and the Lions should’ve had the upper-hand. Instead, the coaches misfired in all aspects of the game and the Lions are facing the gruesome outlook of staring at a potential 1-15 season. Excuse me while I go puke.