Nov 11, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions running back Mikel Leshoure (25) rushes as Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson (50) defends on a 2 yard gain in the second quarter at the Metrodome. The Vikings win 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE
That’s it? Everybody in the Lions organization from William Clay Ford down to the ball boys knew that the Detroit Lions had to come out of that tunnel yesterday in Minnesota breathing fire and ready to knock the snot out of the Vikings in order to remain in the playoff race. What did we see? A stupid drive-killing penalty by Ryan Broyles, then the Lions watched Jarius Wright fly by their entire secondary for his first ever catch in the NFL. Wright scored a touchdown a few plays later. That’s how you prepare when you’re fighting for your very football lives?
The sad thing is, yesterday’s game was like every single game this year, except for last week when the Jaguars apparently let a college team use their uniforms. The Lions just dug themselves too deep a hole this time. The usual magic of Matthew Stafford in the fourth quarter didn’t work yesterday. That earthquake sound you heard around 4 pm Sunday was the sound an entire fan base jumping off what used to be an aircraft carrier. Nowadays, the Lions bandwagon is an old station wagon. It’s really hard to see the Lions changing their inevitable destination of missing the playoffs, again. So that was it? After making the playoffs last year and getting embarrassed on national TV by giving up a couple miles of yards to the Saints, the Lions appear to be right back where they were before last season. Yearning to be respected.
There are a lot of things that are bothering me about this team. A couple of players are underperforming. Stafford is somewhat off this year, but I suspect that he’s dealing with some injuries we don’t know about. I think Ndamokung Suh is in for a rude awakening if he thinks he’s going to get a huge contract when it comes time to renew it. For the most part I want to talk about the coaching staff. I know the Lions are a paltry 4-5, but that record could and should be worse. If the Lions didn’t possess a quarterback like Matthew Stafford and his penchant for game winning drives, say they had anyone else that ever wore a Honolulu blue and silver uniform, the Leos could be at a pathetic 1-8.
I have to start wondering if Jim Schwartz is the right man to lead this team to the next level. He was awesome in turning this team around from a historic 0-16 season to the playoffs in three short years. The Lions were in a different position this year. They weren’t going to surprise anyone this time. With Stafford and Calvin Johnson on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s pro football preview issue, and Megatron on the cover of Madden 13, the Lions were coming in the front door. They were not ready for the harsh glare of the spotlight. The Lions look sluggish and confused, nothing like Team Swag from last year.
To me, if the team comes out of playing like “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight”, EVERY SINGLE WEEK, then there’s something that the head coach is doing wrong. These coaches have to do a better job of getting this team ready to do battle week in and week out, not just once in awhile. It looks pretty hopeless now, but this is one crazy team. I expect them to lose the next two games and start planning for next season. But this is sports, the best reality show on TV. You never know what’s going to happen. That’s why we watch. The thing is, the Lions are very capable of winning those two games and being right back in the playoff race.
Lets hope that when we’re eating our Thanksgiving dinner this year, that we’re talking about the amazing Lions and not the Same old Lions.