Detroit Lions vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Good, Bad & Ugly


Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of my life, I have never been able to fathom a guy not being interested in football. It’s such a “guy” thing and to see guys doing other things on Sundays throughout the fall was always odd to me. I know that is petty and vain, however occasionally I find myself wondering how much better life would be if I didn’t like football. How productive and fun autumn Sundays would be without watching the Detroit Lions fumble their way to another loss. My health would be better, my mood would be better, I may even be a better person. Yet, this is my burden in life, to be a Lions’ fan.

Sadly, there ain’t no unringing that bell.

Comedy of inexplicable errors

Matthew Stafford overthrowing receivers, throwing picks. Reggie Bush looking utterly lost for 95 percent of the game. Calvin Johnson losing control of the ball on the cusp of a game-winning score and it landing in the hands of a Tampa Bay defender, effectively ending the game.

When your top offensive stars are making key mistakes, its awfully hard to win games. As it is when there is a blocked punt, fumbles along the sideline, long touchdown passes from a rookie, and players missing out on first downs because they’re trying to do too much. There is even Rian Lindell blowing it on short field goals, yet the Lions consistently could not take advantage.

There are losses, there are bad losses, and there are ugly losses. Then there are gut-wrenching losses as the Lions’ suffered Sunday, 24 to 21 to the Bucs.

Wave the panic flag

A week ago in this column I said that while I was disappointed in the road loss to the Steelers, I wasn’t going to waive the panic flag. I wasn’t going to condemn them for losing a road game, but would do just that in the unlikely event they came up short against the Bucs.

I am a man of my word, and I will now solemnly waive that flag of panic.

Make no mistake, the season is not over. The Lions still have a good shot at the division and/or playoffs, but the harsh reality is that after 12 weeks of football, this team does not seem to be jelling. In Week 1 against Minnesota, the Lions overcame plenty of mistakes to win the game. In a way, the Bucs game was a lot like that Vikings game, except with a different result.

While we relished how great a comeback that Dallas game was, can you imagine if they lost? Or if Chicago tied it with that two-point conversion? The Lions have been living on the edge in every one of their games this season, and the law of averages bit them big time on Sunday.

Can they regroup and save their season Thursday? I hope so, and they have the talent to do it, but history tells us that Lions teams of the past don’t.

Stafford not sharp

Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

I am a big supporter of Stafford. Certain fans reign hate on him even after wins, but admittedly he was pretty awful on Sunday. It’s hard to put the loss completely at the feet of Matt because the whole team stunk, but still, some of us hold him to a higher standard. We see Stafford doing things we’ve NEVER seen from a Lions’ quarterback, really good things. And then, inexplicably, he does things we’ve seen TOO MANY TIMES from a Lions’ quarterback.

Its games like this that frustrate the Stafford supporters. He can look great and then airmail throws, not see defenders, and just have poor judgment calls all day long. And because of that he’ll always be known as just a good quarterback, but not elite among the haters and national media.

Bottom Line

  • It sure sets up horribly for the Lions, doesn’t it? During the game, I made mention of that fact that the Lions have a history of making heroes out of nobodies. They did it with Andy Dalton a few weeks back and they did it with rookie Mike Glennon on Sunday. The most notorious instance of this was in 2011 when the Lions automatically checked one into the win column against several Green Bay Packers back-ups in the last game of the year–and we all remember how that turned out. Matt Flynn went crazy, hit the lotto with Seattle, and now sucks. Don’t look now, but Flynn is back in Green Bay where he engineered a stirring comeback in a tie with Minnesota, and will presumably suit up as the starting quarterback for the Packers on Thanksgiving.
  • It is worth noting, perhaps for a bit of hope, that Flynn also played against Detroit in Ford Field on Dec. 12, 2010. Aaron Rodgers went out early in that contest and Flynn came in and was an ineffective 15 of 26 for 177 yards. That was also the Lions’ last win over Green Bay to date (have lost five straight since).
  • With the tie, and losses by Chicago and Detroit–NOBODY in the NFC North won on Sunday. Has the NFC “Least” Division moved to the Midwest?
  • And we gotta do this all over again in just three short days, Lions’ fans. A win over the Packers is always a rare but sweet feat for the Lions. If they get one on Thursday, will it dull the pain of this one?