After the Saints game, it seemed some of the most common attitudes expressed among fans centered around how it wasn't a shocker or a major disappointment that the Lions didn't win the game. Points like:
"He's a rookie QB in his first game"
"They didn't draft much defense, so of course we couldn't stop them"
"It was a tough road game against a good team"
"At least we got 27 points"
"At least there were some bright spots, look at our return game"
"It's a rebuilding year"
"You can't fix 0-16 in a [season, offseason, game...insert time period here]"
It's like the Lions were playing the game with a ready-to-go excuse for losing, at least in the minds of many fans. As long as they showed some upside (like losing 45-27 instead of 42-7), many of us felt alright about the team going forward, just like we do every offseason. The idea is that if they "shouldn't" beat a given team on paper, then it's acceptable to lose on the field, as long as they show "progress". They're victims of a horrible past, and if they don't rise above, and win the game at hand, well, maybe next week...
While I can understand a point of view centered around "reasonable expectations" is valid, it's not my point of view that it was okay to lose (again) last week, and I certainly don't feel that way about this coming Sunday.
I may be in the minority on this one, but I think it's their job to win. If there's a game the Lions play, it's their job to win the game.
New Orleans is in the past, so looking at this weekend against Minnesota...
If we lose, and Adrian Peterson rushes for 120 yards, I will not be happy about it. at all. Personally, I'm not going to accept for myself the attitude that "well, we kept AP to 120 yards after giving up 143 to Mike Bell, so we're actually improving our run defense...look at us, we're trying!"
It's our job to stop the run, and if we give up 120 yards or 100 yards (I don't care if he's the best RB in the league), then our run defense is not doing what they're supposed to do. I feel the same way about giving up 6 td's to one of the best QB's in the league last week.
Hell, if we hold the Vikings to 35 yards rushing and we don't win the game, I don't see the outcome as acceptable. It means the team as a whole didn't do their job. They didn't win.
It doesn't matter how good Favre has played against the Lions in the past. It's their job to beat the Vikings this Sunday.
If Delmas returns two turnovers for touchdowns and CJ scores 3 td receptions and we don't win, then the team didn't do their job. I expect the win, no matter how long it's been since they actually got one. They're a professional team.
This Sunday matters even more because of the looming blackouts. The Lions are teeter-tottering on the brink of not selling enough tickets for every Lions fan within a 17,671 square mile circle of the stadium from being able to catch the game on TV. We just barely made it for the Vikings game. The Redskins game in week 3, however, is a lot less compelling. It's not a team we've played close in the past (like we did against Minny last year)--they've blown us out the last few meetings. It's not a division game. It doesn't feature big name players like Peterson and Favre.
If the Lions don't put together a winning product this Sunday, I don't blame fans who maybe would buy tickets to the Washington game for deciding to save their money.
If they can get their first win, however...if they can beat last year's division champ, then they certainly have a good shot at Washington, and that win makes a better case to come watch them week 3.
There is no excuse for losing this game. For the sake of all the fans in the region who genuinely want to see the Lions this season, but can't afford or make it to a home game, the Lions need to win this one.
It's time to expect more than just "bright spots" and signs that the team "could" win a game in the future. It's time to win some f***ing football games. Starting right now. Not week 8 against St. Louis, not at home against Cleveland, not in 2010. This Sunday.
I'm done with this podium if anyone wants it :-)