Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Lions pooch kick away a playoff spot: Final thoughts on Lions - Cowboys

Here's the links to today's live blogging, and my descent from happiness, into a deep, dark insane rage...

Like lambs to a slaughter: 1st quarter Lions - Cowboys thoughts

It's not a slaughter. Who knew? 2nd quarter Lions - Cowboys thoughts

It's a ballgame! Really! 3rd quarter Lions - Cowboys thoughts

That was painful: 4th quarter Lions - Cowboys thoughts

1. The special teams have been shit awful all season, but it finally came to a head against the Cowboys. Lions special teams coach Stan Kwan should be given his walking papers after today's fiasco. It should be a done deal that he won't be coming back in 2008, so why wait?

After the Cowboys broke a long return early in the game, Rod Marinelli essentially waved the white flag, by ordering Jason Hanson to pooch kick every kickoff the remainder of the game. I've never seen a team willing to give up excellent field position as their only defense against a long kickoff return. Till today. Shameful, just plain shameful.

Thanks to the short kicks, from the 1st quarter on, the Cowboys started nearly every drive on the good side of their own 40. FOX's Troy Aikman nailed it when he said the Lions should just kick the ball out of bounds, and take away all chances of a return. The Lions return game, on the other hand, is so flaccid, such a non entity, they are lucky to advance the ball past the 20 yard line.

In all my years of playing and watching football, I've never seen anything comparable to the Lions saying, "Fuck it, we're pooch kicking from here on out!" What a slap in the face of your special teams, and their coach. Kwan should fall on his sword and resign, if only to save him himself the indignity of being shitcanned for his special teams' total ineptitude.

2. Shaun Rogers is a fat fucking slob, who is so out of shape, he's can't stay on the field more than a few plays at a time. His conditioning has become a major issue, as he's hurting the team by his inability to remain in the game for long stretches. Or even short stretches...

In fact, after a fast start to the season, Rogers has all but disappeared in the season's second half. For a reason why, you just needed to watch today's game. FOX would cut away from the Lions defense on the field, to Rogers' fat ass sitting on the sidelines, breathing so heavily you'd think he was a 5 pack a day smoker, with only one lung, suffering from bronchitis.

Rogers can be a dominating presence on the D-line. But that's the issue with Rogers, you have to use terms like "Can be," "Might be," "Should be," and "Could be." There's alway a caveat. He's one of the few playmakers the Lions have, yet you can't make plays when you can't stay on the God damn field!

After this season ends, if Rogers won't commit to getting into a semblance of game shape, rather than in the shape of a circle, it's time to send Rogers on to the next all you can eat buffet...In another city.

3. The player that hurt the Lions the most today was Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. But there is a reason he was so wide open all afternoon. Let me explain...

Witten caught 15 passes for 138 yards, one of those being the game winning touchdown. You know what position is normally responsible for covering tight ends? Linebacker.

You know what position the Lions were in dire need to address in the draft? Linebacker.

The Lions had a 3 2nd round picks in the 2007 draft, with several quite capable linebackers available in that round. What positions did the Lions felt it was more important to address than linebacker? Quarterback (Who won't play a single down this season), defensive end (Who was activated for the first time all season today), and safety (Though a safety was drafted in the 2nd round a year earlier).

What position didn't get properly addressed in the off season? Linebacker.

At what position are the Lions still woefully weak? Linebacker.

Now you know why Jason Witten was wide open all afternoon, caught 15 passes for 138 yards, and the game winning touchdown.

Because Matt Millen is a fucking idiot.

4. Seeing the Lions have a double barreled running attack against Dallas, with both Kevin Jones and TJ Duckett extremely effective, I have to ask...What in the Hell has Mike Martz been smoking for the past month that caused him to forget about the running game altogether? It must have been damn good shit, man...

The Lions could run for 152 yards against the best team in the NFC, yet couldn't run worth a fuck against the Cardinals, Giants, Packer or Vikings. Or should I say, why didn't they try to fucking run at all against those teams? In 1 game the Lions nearly bested their total rushing yards for the previous 4 games combined, 152 to 164. It makes no sense.

Thus you have the Mike Martz conundrum. Why don't Lions don't run the ball? Is it because they either (1) can't, or (2) won't? If you go by today's results, the answer is (2) won't, which means most of the Lions' offensive failings must fall directly on the shoulders of the man calling the plays, Martz. For the past month, Martz totally ignored to running game, despite having the ball carriers to be effective, as shown today.

In the previous 4 losses, if the Lions had run the ball anywhere close to their effectiveness against the Cowboys, they wouldn't be in the midst of a 5 game losing streak, and pissed away a playoff spot in the process. They could have...No, they should have won a couple of those games. But noooooo, Martz had to throw the ball 95% of the time, because...Well, just because!

Thanks Mike! I hope you enjoy unemployment!

5. Is it Jason Hanson's fault the Lions lost? Yes!

Sure, there is plenty of blame to go around. But Hanson has only 1 job, a job he's paid quite highly to do, and that is to kick the fucking ball through the fucking uprights. Let alone there's the fact he's kicks in a God damn dome at least 9 games a season! Despite all that, when it came down to crunch time, Hanson pulled a Vanderjagt, and choked.

The 4th quarter miss, a kick that should have iced the game, giving the Lions a 2 score lead, was a 35 yard kick. That should be a chip shot for an NFL kicker. No, it IS a chip shot for an NFL kicker. A chip shot that Hanson pushed wide right.

After a heartbreaking loss to the Vikings, a loss caused by the Lions kicking game (In that case, a bad snap on a PAT), Marty Moronweg memorably described the process as "Snap, hold, kick!" Today, the snapper and holder did their jobs, but not the kicker.

I'm sorry Jason Hanson, but this loss falls on you...


  1. Pisser about Hanson. But on balance, how many times has he saved the Team's ass?

    If other things clicked the way they should, then his miss wouldn't have mattered.

    Looking pretty sad again in Puddycat-ville. Maybe next year.....

  2. I watched most of the game (missed some of the third) and they really did give it away. (Then again, Dallas WAS better and did give them the chance in the first place).

    What surprises me is that you, Al, or others, can actually get emotionally involved in this team anymore. I watch the games, but they've just pounded all emotional giving-a-crap-ness out of me with so many years of ineptitude from owner to special teams coach.

    And from what I could tell, it was a sellout and people actually all went. Then I turned the Wings on at 6 and watched them win in front of an empty lower bowl.

    It just bewilders.