Sunday, November 18, 2007

The same old Detroit Lions: Final thoughts on Lions - Giants

First off, here's the linkage to the live blogging of today's atrocity...

The biggest game of the season: 1st quarter Lions - New York Football Giants thoughts

Which offense is worse? The Wolverines or Lions? - 2nd quarter Lions - New York Football Giants thoughts

It's not looking good: 3rd quarter Lions - New York Football Giants thoughts

That literally and figuratively sucked: 4th quarter Lions - New York Football Giants thoughts

1. I find it funny when Lions players talk to the MSM, and come off as so perturbed when they tell the press that they don't understand why their fans continue to call them "The same old Lions." Well, Sunday's loss to the Giants is just the latest example as to the reason why.

We've seen this sort of game over and over and over through the years. Come close, but never quite able to get over the hump. An innate inability to make a game changing play. Mistakes, penalties, blown coverages, dropped passes, bad QB play, you name it, we've seen it, then cursed it.

Losses like today's are why we are loathe to ever give the Lions the benefit of the doubt. Why we hold back in believing that they could actually be a playoff team. Why we get pissed off beyond belief. Why we call them "The same old Lions."

The only thing that changes are the names on the back of the uniforms. No matter who is wearing the Honolulu blue and silver, they find a way to blow any and every opportunity given to them. Today's game was one that they had no business even being in, yet had 2 opportunities to win the game. And they couldn't convert.

That's just like "The same old Lions."

"But you TOLD me to throw the jump ball!"
"Not to McDonald!"
"Did too!"
"Did not! "

2. Has anyone else noticed just how atrocious the Lions' special teams have been this season? Well, the 2 kicking specialists, Jason Hanson and Nick Harris, excepted. They've been great. As for the kickoff and punt return teams though, they do not put fear into the opposition. They do put fear into the fans, a fear as to when they'll screw up.

On kickoffs, Avieon Cason is lucky to make it back to the 20. There isn't a less feared return man in football. He's a double threat. He doesn't make people miss, and can't outrun anyone either. On punts, Troy Walters, when he's not calling for a fair catch, runs around all over the field, but never really goes anywhere. He gains vastly more yards going east and west, than north and south. Unfortunately, only the north-south yards count.

It's always up to the defense to win the battle of field position, as the Lions never manage to get good field position thanks to their own returners. To a fan who watched excellent return men like Mel Gray, Desmond Howard, and Eddie Drummond win games for the Lions, it's quite clear their current special teams are in a sad state of repair. Part of the blame has to go on Rod Marinelli, who insisted he couldn't afford to use a roster spot on a return specialist. No matter who holds the blame, something needs to be done.

3. The Lions rushing attack slipped back into the ether from hence it came. The rushing total for the game? 25 yards, all by a supposedly hurt Kevin Jones. Hell, 13 of those yards were on the first two plays of the game. Which means the Lions, if I managed to make good use of my public school education math skills, rushed for 12 yards over the final 59 minutes of the game.

Did Mike Martz forget that during the soon to be forgotten 3 game winning streak, the Lions actually made an attempt to run the ball more than once a quarter, and were fairly effective at doing so? If you don't feel that Jones is healthy enough to carry the ball, then use the back you felt strongly enough about to sign him as a free agent, TJ Duckett. Or God forbid, actually use the back you traded a pro bowl corner for, Tatum Bell.

I'm not sure what the Lions are thinking, but the fact that Bell remains inactive on game days, and Duckett never touched the ball once today, says volumes about how the Lions brain trust feels about a position that was supposed to a strength going into the season. Turn up that volume, and you hear, "We think our backup running backs blow."

4. There's a good Jon Kitna, and a bad Jon Kitna. The good Kitna knows he's an average QB, thus plays within himself, keeps mistakes to a minimum, manages the game, and doesn't do risky things with the ball. The bad Kitna thinks he's a great QB, with the arm strength to match, forcing the ball into coverage, making risky throws, attempting to make plays that just aren't there, and treating the ball as something disposable, rather than a valuable that's never to be dropped, or change hands. In other words, a turnover machine.

We saw the bad Kitna today. The QB that held the ball too long, tried to make something out of nothing, and hurt the Lions as much as he helped, with 3 picks. Actually, 2 of his 3 picks were his fault. The first being a pass forced into Roy Williams, while he was surrounded by 4 (!) Giants. The 3rd pick being a ball that Shawn McDonald should have easily caught. But the 2nd Kitna interception was just...just...Well, it's one of those plays that will be long remembered for just how bad it actually was, and it was indescribably bad.

When Kitna let the obvious jump ball go, considering he had successfully pulled off the same play in the previous possession with the 6'5" Calvin Johnson, I thought, "Good idea, throw it long and high to Johnson or Roy Williams! They tower over the DB's!" As the camera panned along with the ball, the end zone came into view, my jaw hit the floor when I realized that it wasn't Johnson or Williams waiting for the ball. Instead, it was the smallest wide out on the roster, the 5'9" (If that) Shawn McDonald. It was a true Detroit Lions "What the fuck!" moment.

We all know what happened from there.

Somehow Marinelli and Martz have to drill it into Kitna's thick head that discretion is the better part of valor. Lose the battle, in order to later win the war. That not every play can be salvaged. Just take your loss, but keep the ball. Please...

This is what happens when you throw a jump ball to a midget
with the same vertical as Bill Laimbeer...

5. The Lions are damn lucky that there is both a short week, and Lloyd Carr will officially announce his retirement tomorrow. The mood is ugly enough regarding the Lions, but with Monday being dominated with Carr's announcement, and speculation over who will be his replacement, the Lions won't be the number 1 local story, as is the norm. The Lions ineptitude will be kept mostly on the back burner when compared to the momentous changes happening in A2.

If the Lions somehow manage to beat to the Packers on Thanksgiving, this game may be forgotten. At least the fan anger will be somewhat tempered. But if the Lions are embarrassed on national TV Thursday? Hell hath no fury like a Lions fan watching a playoff berth being pissed away.


  1. You didn't actually think this was a different team, did you?

  2. At least we got to talk smack for a few weeks. And that's the best we've had for years.

  3. I don't think I've ever screamed as many obscenities at the TV as I did when Kitna threw the jump ball to McDonald. Typical Lions.

    The lack of a return game is something I've been wondering about for the whole season. My question is that how can we not afford to keep Drummond on the roster, and yet we can save a spot for Cason? It makes no sense. There's a reason why he was cut from the Lions a couple years ago; he's terrible!