The NFL is a bottom line business but we’re still a few weeks away from being able to label a game a success or failure strictly on the end result. The Lions left Cleveland with a win but a lot of what occurred over the 60 minutes leaves a lot to be desired.
The Lions were among the most penalized teams in the NFL last season and that old problem showing up again last weekend is particularly troubling. The difficulties in the running game adds another nagging deficiency to the mix. But the team won, right? On the scoreboard, yes. In the coaches minds? Probably not. There will be no sigh of relief like there would be following an ugly regular season win.
The 2008 Detroit Lions proved how irrelevant preseason win-loss records truly are. Their perfectly imperfect 0-16 season was preceded by a perfect 4-0 preseason record. To further the point, the Indianapolis Colts have been one of the league’s best franchises for a number of years but it has been two years and two days since they last won a preseason game.
The fan in me loves to see the Lions win preseason games but given the choice between a great preseason performance that resulted in a loss and a slop-fest like we saw last weekend that resulted in a win, I’ll take the loss. A win won’t always be a “win” until after Labor Day.