The Detroit Lions seemed doomed for more mediocrity. A tie is the ultimate sign of a team that is destined to be in the middle.
The debacle that was the Detroit Lions loss (I mean tie) to the Arizona Cardinals this past Sunday still does not sit well.
At one point, this team looked like it was on its way to an easy (and large) victory. Instead they settled into yet another embarrassing loss (again, also known as a tie).
On Monday, host Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk Live talked about the Cardinals comeback. Much praise was heaped upon head coach Kliff Kingsbury for allowing his rookie quarterback Kyler Murray to let loose in the fourth quarter.
But Florio had an opposite take on the Detroit strategy (09-09-19, “#1”):
"“When you’re up 18 points, you’re usually not letting a team hang around. The Lions took their foot off the gas, and let the Cardinals get back into it. It’s amazing. And remember I said, ‘the pressure is on Matt Patricia.’ You gotta show the rest of the NFL that this gimmicky offense isn’t gonna work… [The Lions] gotta be able to finish.”"
It comes down to this. Sunday’s loss (call it a tie if you like, but this team still has zero wins) is unacceptable. The Cardinals have an awful roster. And the Detroit roster has some real talent – much more than Arizona. But they lack the type of players and coaches that understand how to finish off an opponent.
This problem starts with head coach Matt Patricia. All of a sudden after three well-played quarters, the defense was less aggressive with Murray – more concerned that he might break a big running play. And suddenly Kyler starting moving around the pocket and making big throws.
On offense, all that has been established is how upset everyone is over the timeout that prevented a first down. But what about quarterback Matthew Stafford’s role in all this? After the ill-timed timeout, he was on the sideline screaming , “trust me!” And he’s right.
But Stafford didn’t make enough plays to win this game. And, yes, he played well, and had great statistics – there is no question about that. But he didn’t do enough to win the game, and there were plenty of opportunities to do just that – beyond that one play.
That’s earning trust – even if it means overcoming a bonehead decision by your coaches. This is the problem with Stafford, who has always lacked the proper coaching when it comes to being a next level quarterback. And that problem continues into the Patricia era.
This entire team has to be responsible for this loss (or actually… well, you know). The Detroit Lions have once again shown that they cannot execute winning football. This was an easy victory, and they have nothing to show for their efforts.
There is trouble coming. The Detroit Lions will eek out five or six (and apparently a half) victories, and nothing will change. When the draft arrives, they won’t be in a position to get a top quarterback, and management will idly sit by and say that 2020 will be their year.
And they will probably get another year. The answer to fix this isn’t clear. But this isn’t working. This franchise still doesn’t understand what it takes to win. The Cardinals will have a terrible season, but one of the highlights will be this comeback victory (not really a tie for them) against the Detroit Lions.
This may just be the beginning of a very long season of disappointment. And it really is sad because the roster looks better this year over last. The only hope is that this hiccup is part of a slow start.
Here’s hoping the Detroit Lions find their way and makes the playoffs. And ultimately shows they can be elite with a playoff victory in January. But that scenario seems about as likely as another tie.