The mantra of recently deceased Al Davis and his Oakland Raiders teams might as well be adopted as the rallying cry of the 2011 Detroit Lions, because the Lions aren’t doing anything but winning.
So what if the Lions play the first quarter like they were still waking up from a hangover? They finish wide awake and partying. Matthew Stafford can’t hit an open receiver in the first half? He hits covered receivers in the 2nd. Can’t run the ball in the first half? The Lions totaled over 120 in the second.
Penalties? Who cares? Who cares if there were more yellow hankies on the field than in classroom full of children with a cold? Injuries to defensive starters? Doesn’t matter. The Lions finally have the depth to overcome injuries. Monday Night Football hype? They Lions early jitters turned into a grind-it-out victory in front of a national audience.
Does it matter if the Lions offense basically consisted of three plays, which accounted for 50% of their total yardage? Lions teams in the past would have had those plays made against them. Lions teams in the past would have pointed to those plays made against them and stated “how close we are to winning”. These Lions make those plays, and let the other team comment on how close it was.
To be sure, the Lions can’t keep playing like this and expect to win games. At some point the penalties will catch up to them. At some point, they won’t be able to overcome an early deficit. Maybe in a future game the difficulties in consistently running the ball might give the opposition a few offensive series. a few more points. Maybe early overthrows by Stafford lead to opposition touchdowns instead of incompletions. But behind the swagger of Stafford (“STAFFORD!!!”) and the snarl of Suh they have been able to overcome mistakes and poor play and slow starts.
We know that the Lions have beat five teams with a combined record of 10-13, but the Lions can’t help who they are scheduled against. We know the schedule is getting tougher now, with the Niners, Saints and Packers all coming up, and it will only get harder to win, as pressure mounts and teams gear up to face the Lions. Mistakes must be eliminated and Lions must start as fast as they finish.
But for now the Lions are overcoming. For now, the Lions are 5-0. For now, all the Lions are doing is winning, and that is all that matters.