Yes, yes, we were robbed and I'm all for a letter writing drive to the NFL to discipline the single most egregious act of officiating incompetence in NFL history that did not lead to a player getting hurt (and, can we get a name for that bozo, so that we can name the Millenesq incompetent official by name to our request for official sanction?). However, it never should have come down to that. And I'm getting to that after the jump, but be warned, what I'm about to write will make the Mike Valenti MSU/Notre Dame 2006 Rant look like a pep talk from Tony Robbins (if you don't know what I'm talking about do a Youtube search for Mike Valenti Rant). More after the jump
Yes, we lost another one, and a blown call and Matthew Stafford's injury played a part, but it shouldn't have come down to that, especially with a defense that played (with the single exception of an 87 yard TD pass at the end of the second) so far above themselves that it wasn't even funny. The Lions offense performed the single greatest choke job in recent NFL history in that second half, and, true to form, this was a team effort. I'm going to start with one of my Lions, Calvin Johnson, because I can't defend him when he plays the way he did today. This has nothing to do with what should have been his TD catch, but it does have to do with the fact that the "catch" was the only time he showed up today. Calvin took the day off, having at least one (if not two) key drops, and falling down because of contact with the DB, which led to an interception at Chicago's goal line (Calvin catches that, we don't have this conversation because Chicago has to go for 2 to *tie*). Calvin, I love you, but I can't defend you anymore until you produce when the game is on the **** line. Until Calvin proves himself capable of producing when the rubber meets the road, my personal policy is going to be to trade him for draft picks (TEs can be the focal point of a passing attack, look at Witten in Dallas).
Secondly, and this is what really ticks me off, Scott Linehan is apparently *trying* to get himself fired. What's with running between the tackles on nearly every first *and* second down after the half? Wasn't it a clue when they put 8 men in the box that they weren't going to let you run? And yet, here we go again, run on first and second down for a combined total of 1-2 yards, then throw out a no-hope pass on 3rd and long! Ever heard of playaction? Because, unless I missed it when I had to...uh, take care of business, you sure didn't take advantage of Chicago loading up on the run, especially on first down.
And now we move on to Shaun Hill. Yes Matthew Stafford got hurt (and please, please don't let him have to miss truly significant time) but your job is to be able to step in and make plays. And buddy, 9 for 19 with, if memory serves, at least one interception is not the way to do that. You have a track record, play to it.
Instead just about everyone, with the potential exception of Jahvid Best (who didn't play well after the half, but was put in particularly bad positions), choked. Not to rip off Valenti, but it really was like the Defense had the weight of the entire team and its history on their back for the entire second half, and eventually that will cause a unit to buckle (let's be honest, even the legendary defenses of Bill Parcelles in NYG had offensive help). You had almost the entire fourth quarter played in your zone because you couldn't move the ball even a little bit, and yet the defense only allowed one score over that entire half. Make a catch, make a play, make the first down. You were supposed to be the team's strength instead I saw a choke job that I haven't seen since a certain first round play-off game against the Eagles. If I'm the defense and Gunther Cunningham I'd be pissed at the effort and play calling in the second half and I hope the Lions look long and hard at their approach.