Sep 29, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) recovers his own fumble and then crosses the goal line for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The ball hung in the air for only a second or two in real time, but the haunted Detroit Lions fan knew that the fate of another season hung in the balance. It seemed to stay afloat forever as we could see the headlines about the “Same Old Lions” blowing another game. At this point, the game is only 10-9 and a Bears recovery and drive for a touchdown would have surely killed the Lions for good that day (and maybe the season). Careers are in the balance. That ball is still in the air, and every Lions fan is already reaching for his shoe to throw at the TV and swear off the Lions for good. We all held our collective breath and just waited for the worst.
Then Matthew Stafford said, “Heck, if you guys don’t want it, I’ll just take that back” and snatched it out of the air with one hand. He landed in the end zone with both arms wrapped around the football, then spiked the ball thunderously. The stadium was delirious and us at home were just looking at each other with that “Did I just really see that?” look on our stunned smiling faces. So that’s what it feels like to be on the other side of Lady Luck.
“Lions luck” has always been, and I mean ALWAYS been, about the multitude of hilarious ways this team could shoot itself in the foot. It was funny to the rest of the football world, but not to us. Now the game is 17 to 10, but it didn’t stay that way for long. The Lions went on to rack up points faster than a pinball machine in the second quarter, and pretty much had won the game by halftime. Just like that, the Detroit football Lions have the division lead and are very confident about going up to Wisconsin this weekend and erasing that last remnant of the “Same Old Lions”. We all know about “The Streak”, so I don’t even have to honor it with a mention.
The Lions are lucky because they’re good. Good teams always seem to have the ability to manufacture their own luck. Since the Lions were never that good, maybe that’s why we’re new to this good luck stuff. This team is clearly better than the 2011 team that went 10-6 and made the playoffs.
Stafford is much more under control and managing the game better than he was then. His record of the most yards passing in NFL history for the first 50 games of a career is extremely impressive. He wants to be mentioned with the best, and he’s on his way to doing that this year. That team didn’t have “this” version of Ndumakong Suh and Nick Fairley, no team ever has. They put on a show yesterday with their demolition of the Bears O-line. Suh is already getting mentioned as a possible Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Fourth year Suh is the best one yet. The Lions definitely couldn’t run block anywhere near as good as this group of road graders do.
Two years ago the Lions lost Jahvid Best to concussions and only got to the playoffs because of some comeback wins, and they haven’t been good until now. As I’ve said before, Reggie Bush is on a mission to reclaim his fame in the football game. He has his eyes set on the Offensive Player of the Year award, and if it weren’t for Peyton Manning, he would actually have a shot at it if he plays like this the rest of the year. Notice how he scored a touchdown the very next play after his fumble. He’s hellbent on showing the world the real Reggie Bush.
Now the Lions actually have a pleasant problem: they have to learn how to close out these games better than they did against the Bears. Don’t worry, I think they’re going to be getting some experience at that real soon.