Tag Archives: Detroit Lions

The Lions Find Themselves in an Early-Season Hole

The last time I ever went to an NFL football game, Cincinnati Bengals orange and black dominated the crowd.

Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson still made for a team to be reckoned with in those days and the Bengals defeated an anemic Joey Harrington-led Lions squad 41-17.

What I forgot to mention was that this game was actually a Lions home game at Ford Field and that fans were wearing Bengals colors out of protest.

Hundreds of Lions fans who considered themselves fed up with the Ford family and general manager Matt Millen donned paper bags for the entirety of the Lions’ final home game of the season and led painful chants of, “FIRE MILLEN!”

How long did the demonstration last after the game’s conclusion?  I certainly don’t know, as my Dad and I decided to leave mid-way through the fourth quarter, feeling we had seen enough.

I was only 12 at the time, but “Fire Millen” still rings in my ears from time to time.

The most depressing part about this Lions memory—the 2005 season was just the tip of the iceberg named Lions Mediocrity.   After firing coach Steve Mariucci at the end of the 2005 season, the Lions went on to post a 12-52 record over the next four seasons, including an 0-16 2008 campaign that featured the quarterbacking prowess of Dan Orlovsky (don’t worry, I hadn’t heard of him either at the time).

Detroit had a football team that was the laughing stock of the NFL and hadn’t made the playoffs since 1999.  Even then, the franchise managed to take away the competitive spirit of the NFL’s greatest running back, Barry Sanders, with a constant carousel of quarterbacks and a losing attitude that forced him to retire early.

Considering this depressing history, 2011 was a breath of fresh air for Lions fans everywhere.  New quarterback Matthew Stafford went from a first-round bust with a bum shoulder to one of the best quarterbacks in the league.  Ndamukong Suh was one of the most feared players in the league and Calvin Johnson went from being called a good wide receiver to Megatron.

The Lions finished with more than nine wins for the first time since 1995 and it looked as though the franchise had finally turned a corner.  It didn’t even matter that they were thrashed in a Wild Card game matchup against the New Orleans Saints.  Being able to say the word “playoffs” in Detroit was a statement of pride in and of itself.

Megatron has been a huge part of the Lions’ resurgence.

This year, the Lions have begun to realize that consistency is central to growing a perennial powerhouse.  Wins are never guaranteed, and that’s a major reason why Detroit now finds itself 1-3 after losing to a young Minnesota Vikings team.

To revert back to form for the Lions is to become content with “almosts.”  The team has not lost by more than eight points in any one of the three losses, but saying, “Hey, at least we were close” is a curse that the Lions have accomplished far too much to fall victim to.

Their next game, in Philadelphia two weeks from now, could have major playoff implications for the Lions.  The scary thing is it’ll only be Week 7.

Don’t get me wrong—there’s no question the Lions have made tremendous strides since my last live NFL experience in 2005.  But what they have to realize now is that for their team and the City of Detroit, going back is not an option.

Leave a comment

Filed under NFL

So… Who are This Year’s Best Teams Again?

A wild 2012 NFL season took a turn for the crazier this week. Seven of last year’s playoff teams lost and six of them are below .500 after three games.

The drama started with the 49ers los to the Vikings in which San Francisco’s dominant defense allowed 24 points to a below average Vikings offense. After looking like perhaps the league’s best team through two weeks, the Niners week 3 loss to Minnesota has cast some doubt over the team’s invulnerability.

After a strong start to the season, the 49ers were unable to stop the Vikings in Week 3.

The Packers, who lost to the 49ers in their season opener, dropped to 1-2 on the year after Monday’s loss to the Seahawks. Aaron Rodgers has not lived up to last year’s MVP season thus far, with just 3 TDs and 2 interceptions, and Green Bay has not looked like the Super Bowl favorite many projected the to be.

While not a member of last year’s playoff group, the Eagles are a team full of talent that have had high expectations for several years. After escaping with two narrow victories over the Browns and the Ravens, Philadelphia was crushed by the Cardinals 27-6. Arizona is a surprising 3-0 to start the season.

The Lions dropped to 1-2 after falling to the lowly Titans in overtime. While Detroit league’s the league in passing, their struggles running the ball and on defense have haunted them so far this season.

The Jets have actually played pretty well this season, with a 2-1 record, but they just learned they have lost their best player, Darrelle Revis, for the season with a torn ACL. This could cause their defense to struggle the rest of the year.

Winless on the season, Drew Brees and the Saints are in need of a hug.

With coach Sean Payton missing, the Saints have been a completely different team than the past several years. After being one of the league’s most dominant teams for years, New Orleans has yet to win a game yet this season, dropping to 0-3. That record is even worse, considering their competition has been the Redskins, Panthers and Chiefs, who haven’t looked great against anyone except the Saints.

After looking strong in their season opener, the Peyton Manning and the Broncos have haven’t looked as good since, losing close games to the Falcons and the Texans. Granted those two teams are both 3-0, but Denver’s offense hasn’t flowed quite as smoothly as the Colts were with Manning at the helm.

There was a major overhaul in Pittsburgh over the offseason and so far, things haven’t worked out great for the Steelers. Plagued by injuries, the Steelers have the second fewest rushing yards, with running back Rashard Mendenhall and guard David DeCastro out. With Sunday’s loss to the Raiders, the Steelers have dropped to 1-2.

The Steelers have reason to hang their heads, with a record of 1-2 on the year.

The Patriots have also fallen to 1-2 on the year after Sunday’s loss to the Ravens. New England has lost consecutive games by a total of 3 points, so it’s not panic time yet, but the dominant offense attack we’ve become accustomed to from the Patriots is not the same this year, as Tom Brady has just 4 touchdown passes on the year.

After three weeks, just three teams remain unbeaten: the Cardinals, Texans and Falcons. Of that group only Houston and Atlanta seem for real. Of the many teams expected to contend for the Super Bowl, only those two teams have lived up to the hype.

Leave a comment

Filed under NFL