After a couple of close losses to what appears to be good teams, the Detroit Lions rebounded triumphantly to trash the inept Denver Broncos. While the NFL seems to be spearheading the campaign to make the Lions the leagues villains, it doesn’t matter to the hardcore Detroit fan. All that matters is winning, and our favorite team is doing a lot of that these days.
It’s been more than a decade since you’ve had more than a blip of relevancy. Back then was when you could intelligently argue that you also had the best player in the league. Calvin Johnson is letting you get in those arguments again. It was 31 years ago when the Lions last had a Pro Bowl quarterback (Greg Landry). Matthew Stafford very well could end that streak this year. Despite all the talk about injuries, bad footwork and poor decisions, he’s on a pace for 38 TDs, 4300 yards and only 8 INTs and he put on a QB clinic Sunday in Denver. The Broncos’ Tim Tebow really should have been taking notes. Ndamukong Suh is being criticized for dirty play and a lack of production in his sophomore season, but thanks to his constant double teams, he’s anchoring a defense that is third in the league in sacks and allowing guys like Cliff Avril and Lawerence Jackson to blossom. Detroit hasn’t seen anything like this defensive line since the Silver Rush of the early 1980s.
There’s a lot of season left, but this team finally has talent to stick around late into it. The ascension of Johnson, Stafford and Suh is facilitated by the mix of veterans like Kyle Vanden Boesch and Jeff Backus and it’s aiding in the development of young players like Titus Young, Willie Young and Amari Spievey, who have responded favorably to additional playing time. You’re going to be hearing “The biggest game for the Detroit Lions in over 10 years” a ton the next eight weeks. Get ready for a fun ride.
So while fans of downtrodden but typically good franchises in places like Denver and Minnesota will be waiting for the draft and praying for the inevitable collapse of the upstarts like the Lions (or Bills or Bengals), don’t worry what they might tell you. It’s been a long time coming and this organization, city and especially you fans deserved relevant football again.