“We’re not going to go 16-0″ declared Nate Burleson. Everyone knew that but it’s frustrating to see the Lions end their streak at 5 when they could have stretched it out to 6 wins for the year. It was a maddening game to watch. They could have won the game and stayed undefeated for another week with a few more big plays.
Instead, we’re left with a bunch of “ifs”. IF Ted Ginn Jr. doesn’t return punt for 40 yards in the fourth quarter. IF the Lions had made a crucial stop on fourth down at the goal line that put San Francisco ahead for good. IF the Lions weren’t called for a bogus chop block call that cost the Lions a shot at the end zone after a Nate Burleson catch in the red zone. IF Jason Hanson had made a 50 yarder after that chop block penalty. A lotta IF’s but but that’s the NFL. The NO FUN LOSING league.
It was the oddest feeling after the game yesterday. It’s been so long that the Lions had lost I didn’t know how to feel or respond after the game. December 5 of last year was the last time those dull pains in my stomach surfaced. The FREAKING Lions hadn’t lost a game in 10 months! We knew it had to end sometime.
Of course EVERYBODY wants to talk about the Jim Harbaugh vs. Jim Schwartz melee that happened after the game. It almost looked like Harbaugh thought coach Schwartz was choking on something and was trying to knock it out of him. Harbaugh was classless in the way he blew off Schwartz and shoved him ever so cleverly that nobody would have noticed but the Lions head coach. Schwartz also claims that he hurled an obscenity at him.
The Detroit Lions may have a damn good record and be the darlings of the league but they know more than anyone that a LOT of people in the league still think of them as the SAME OL’ LIONS. Schwartz is the leader of this movement to change the way the Lions are perceived. When he was disrespected by Harbaugh he went ballistic, NOBODY is going to get away with that crap anymore. This isn’t your older brother or the your dad’s or your grandfather’s Lions. They aim to be the best team in the league and it starts with Jim Schwartz’s attitude.
While I’m glad the attitude is changing, I’m afraid teams are starting to figure out the Lions. They can’t run the ball and have a hard time stopping the run. Brandon Pettigrew IS their running game. Opposing teams running way too much at Mr. Suh for my liking. I think part of the problem this week was the age old one about being flat after a Monday Night Football game. In what is looking like more than a one week problem, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is going to have to get much more creative with his play calling.
The 5-1 overall record looks good but the Lions have to put that one behind them and play the Atlanta Falcons next week at Ford Field. It’s just a hunch but I kinda get the feeling that Coach Schwartz is going to be breathing fire this whole week and they WILL be ready this Sunday.