First, may I refer you to a lovely article over at Yahoo! Sports.
More stuff after the jump.
I posted all this information in the live game-day thread about the Lions/Cowboys, but I'm pretty sure that it mainly got lost among all the mumbo jumbo and trash talk that went down in that thread. So just to statistically highlight just how far we've come, here it is again:
32.3 points per game (League Average = 22.03)
517 points allowed on the season (Rank = 32 of 32)
3,716 yards allowed through the air (8.8 avg), 232.2 yds/game
2.754 yards allowed on the ground (5.1 avg), 172.1 yds/game
Penalty Yards = 753 yds, 47.06 penalty yds/game
16.8 points per game (League Average = 22.03)
268 points scored for the season (Rank = 27 of 32)
2,960 yards passing (6.5 avg), 185.0 yds/game
1,332 yards rushing (3.8 avg), 83.2 yds/game
Penalty Yards = 729 yds, 45.56 penalty yds/game
30.9 points per game (League Average = 21.47)
494 points allowed on the season (Rank = 32 of 32)
4,249 yards allowed through the air (8.1 avg), 265.6 yds/game
2,025 yards allowed on the ground (4.4 avg), 126.6 yds/game
Penalty Yards = 944 yds, 59 penalty yds/game
16.4 points per game (League Average = 21.47)
262 points scored for the season (Rank = 27 of 32)
3,168 pards passing (5.9 avg), 198.0 yds/game
1,616 yards rushing (4.0 avg), 101.0 yds/game
Penalty Yards = 768 yds, 48 yds/game
22.4 points per game (League Average = 22.02)
202 points allowed on the season (Rank = 14 of 32)
2,005 yards allowed through the air (7.3 avg), 222.8 yds/game
1,172 yards allowed on the ground (4.7 avg), 130.2 yds/game
Penalty Yards = 567 penalty yds, 63 penalty yds/game
23.9 points per game (League Average = 22.02)
215 points scored for the season (Rank = 11 of 32)
2,296 yards passing (6.1 avg), 255.1 yds/game
730 yards rushing (3.4 avg), 81.1 yds/game
Penalty Yards = 656 penalty yards, 41 yds/game
This year, 2nd in # of offensive penalties committed, 6th in defensive.
Point Differential in '08 = -249
Point Differential in '09 = -232
Point Differential in '10 = -3
We've gone from last in Defense to 14th. 27th in offense to 11th. And the huge one, we've gone from being outscored by 249 points on the season, to being at outscored by 3 points on the season so far. My point is simply this: I know we've seen "this" before. This being a team that looks like it's going to get better, and then right when we're at the brink of success, we collapse. Trust me, I've watched it happen over and over, just like you guys. But I don't think we've ever been this close before. Did anyone REALLY think Joey Harrington was going to be "the guy"? I never did. We always drafted like a-holes, but now that Millen is gone, we've drafted remarkably well in the past 2 years. I don't see that stopping. We have a front office and a coaching staff that make us, the lowly Lions, competitive against some of the best teams in the league. I know that the argument is "we don't want competitive, we want wins", but we're close to that (just read that Yahoo! article for proof). Two years ago, if we'd played the same Jets team that we lost to, or the same Cowboys team that we lost to, it wouldn't have even been worth talking about. The point differential on those two games alone would have been at LEAST -30. I'm not saying it's wrong to have high expectations for our team. In fact, we NEED to have high expectations of our team. If Bill Ford Sr. thinks he can keep all of his money in his pockets and not help the team win, we NEED to lash out and show him that's not the case. But I don't think that's what's going on. I think people are so jaded from the Millen era that when anyone on the team makes one mistake, we instantly get reminded of 10+ years of ineptitude and failure. After that happens we want progress, we want heads to roll, we want something to show for our years of unwavering loyalty. The thing is, this is a team still trying to figure out how to win. The talent is about 85% in place, and taking that we're using what we have and trying to figure out how to beat elite teams in the NFL.
Simply put, we're almost there. And it's not the hollow "almost there" of old, where we drafted Joey Harrington and we were on our way. It's an almost there where everyone in major sports circles acknowledges we're close to turning the corner, and where, for once, the statistics back that up. It just hasn't translated into the win column.
But it will. Just give it a little more time.