Yet if we pay attention to our sports history, anything is possible. After all, the Chicago Cubs ended over 100 years of frustration two summers ago by winning the World Series. They were the ultimate sad sack franchise in any sports.
Back in 1981, the Washington Redskins pilfered ‘Air Coryell’s’ coaching staff in San Diego to hire one of his assistants as their head coach. After five games the Redskins were 0-5 and hadn’t been even close getting a victory. As a matter of fact, they had lost those five games by an average of just over 14 points a game.
Despite having no head coaching experience and the poor start, the Redskins gave him their full vote of confidence. By seasons end, they had a record of 8-8. Not great, but they obviously played better as the season wore on, including a 33-31 win over the Lions.
However, the next year in 1982, during that strike shortened season, they finished 8-1 and blew out the Lions in the first round of the playoffs 31-7 on the way to defeating the Miami Dolphins and Hall of Fame coach Don Shula in the Super Bowl.
That Redskins head coach was Joe Gibbs, who would eventually win three Super Bowl titles for Washington and now resides in the Hall of Fame himself.
What does that mean in relation to the Lions? Does that mean hope is actually eternal? Maybe or maybe not.
During my lunch with my friend the other day he bemoaned how the absence of Golden Tate had completely derailed the offense and that maybe Matt Patricia just doesn’t know what he’s doing. I thought both of his points had some merit but were not completely accurate.
First of all, Golden Tate was an incredibly reliable weapon. I have gone on record as saying my first choice would have been to re-sign him. However, I also wouldn’t pay him the type of money he’s looking for. That being the case, I wasn’t surprised when Bob Quinn made the trade to send him to Philadelphia.
But that move didn’t doom the offense against the Vikings. The offensive line played extremely poorly which didn’t allow Kerryon Johnson any chance to make plays on the ground while Matthew Stafford spent almost the whole game on the ground himself.
That isn’t the type of combination that having Tate in the lineup would have overcome.
One can also easily point to the job that offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has done the last two weeks and rightly consider him part of the problem. A problem that may be addressed in the offseason. Only time will tell for sure.
But even having said that, one of the biggest problems the Lions had was Matthew Stafford himself. In the NFL the great equalizer to slow down or halt the passing game is to put pressure on the quarterback. When Stafford has time to pass, he has played like an elite quarterback, but when he’s pressured…
Well, that’s a completely different story.