The best way to clear a bad reputation earned on national television is to reverse it the very next opportunity. The Lions only had to wait one week for another national audience following their Thanksgiving debacle thanks to the NFL’s flexible scheduling policy. The Lions’ December 4th game against the Saints was “flexed in” to Sunday Night Football and while the Lions played well they ultimately fell short and displayed a lack of poise and composure in the process. The Lions’ season was at a crossroads.
A game against the struggling Minnesota Vikings seems like it should have been just what the doctor ordered but the Lions’ early lead slowly but surely shrank and it took a goal line stand and a missed face mask penalty to secure the victory for the Lions. It wasn’t pretty but it was enough to change the tone around the team.
Ndamukong Suh rejoined the team as they prepared to play against the Raiders in Oakland. It took another fourth quarter comeback and a blocked field goal by Suh to secure the victory but it was enough to make the long flight home a little easier to handle. Elsewhere, the Indianapolis Colts got their first win of the season to ensure that the 2008 Lions would remain as the league’s only 0-16 team in history.
In a performance that would make any real Lion proud, the Detroit Lions chased down their prey on Christmas Eve, bit down hard on its neck and only let go to start devouring its flesh in a dominating performance against the San Diego Chargers. The win clinched the franchise’s first playoff berth since 1999 and fulfilled all reasonable expectations for the season. There is football yet to be played by the Detroit Lions in January, and it isn’t just because the regular season concludes on New Year’s Day.