This seems to be the resounding question in so many of our heads. How much more can we possibly take? When I started watching the game on Sunday I said out loud to anyone who would listen, I simply can NOT take another roller coaster of a ride this Sunday. Going from experiencing the blissful feeling of a soon to be victory to having it smashed, stomped, and burned at the stake later in the game. I do not want excitement anymore. Lose big or win big, please stop toying with my emotions every week.
I nearly had a stroke last year when the injured Stafford came back on the field to throw the game winning touchdown with zero time left on the clock. I am sure that I had a stroke this year when Calvin Johnson jumped up to catch that pass in the endzone for the victory over the Bears, just to have it taken away by the NFL’s most grey rule. And this week, oh this week, what a doozie. To be down 35-17 with only 5 minutes left to play, having our second string quarter back in, going up against the athletic brilliance of Michael Vick, I knew the game was so far out of reach, I started playing a card game. I made the remark when Jahvid Best ran in for the touchdown with around 4 minutes left, a little to late guys. But, just like that, the game pulled me right back in.
I was sitting on the edge of my seat, literally. Hands clasped, palms sweaty, praying for them to stop the Eagles, hold back Michael Vick. I was picturing it perfectly in my head; stop the Eagles, go down the field, score, go for two, kick the onside kick, throw a few more passes, get the touchdown, win! Much to my surprise, the Eagles went three and out. By this time I’m pacing the floor. We’ve got around three minutes to play. I’ve seen this done time and time again by other teams. I was thinking of the Colts coming back to defeat the Patriots last year when they were down 17 points with 5 minutes or less left on the clock. I was thinking about the Patriots-Giants Superbowl when there were 2 lead changes in the 2 minute warning. It could be done.
The Lions drive, and drive, and drive again. And there was the play I saw in my head – Calvin Johnson waking up, towering over the defender, and catching a beautifully thrown pass into the endzone. Flag. Of course there would be a flag. I started pacing again; repeat the play, repeat the play, c’mon guys repeat the dang play! Have faith, Calvin will get it, we can get this touchdown. Hill back to pass, pumping, and its to Calvin Johnson, completion, no flag! I cheered, loudly, might I add. Then came the onside kick. We covered and I was thinking; we could tie this or win!
Then I woke up. Four incompletions, no attempt to run, and the Eagles down it for the victory. Wow. I slumped back into the couch, and thought, I can’t do this anymore. The heartbreak is too overwhelming. We were so close. Then I found myself going right back to where every Lion’s fan goes. The what if’s. I said, if Matt Stafford was in there we would have won. If Calvin was awake most the game, we would have won. If the ref’s would have called the offensive pass interference in the endzone against the Eagles we would have won. If Jim would have gone for the field goal instead of for the first on fourth and one, we would have won. Ah, the what if’s is a decent place to visit, but does nothing for the reality of the game.
Reality is our Lions are a different team than they were 2 years ago. They’re a better team than they were last year. Our Lions want to win a game. Our lions are keeping us on the edge of our seat. Our Lions are fighting to overcome the most impossible circumstances. Not once did this team give up and stop fighting. This was obvious by Vanden Bosch’s bloodied nose, and Jahvid’s running his heart out even when we were down by 17 points with only 5 minutes to go!
Right now, what I feel are two very different sets of emotions with the first being discouraged, tired, and annoyed. I have been a Lions fan since the days of Barry Sanders and before. I can’t remember a Sunday from my childhood that we weren’t watching Lions football. It is about time that we break this heartbreaking curse. The reason the games get blacked out is because the true fans, which all Lions fans would have to be true fans to keep watching them week in and out, are sick and tired of the heartbreak. It is like being broke up with by your first love once a week, nearly every week, for 16 weeks in a row. We’re always so close to taking that step into the great unknown world of victory, and competiveness, and then always, without fail, a giant slap in the face knocks us back down to size. I imagine it’s the same way Cinderella felt after meeting prince charming; going from having all her dreams come true to being locked in a basement and forced into slavery by a wicked step-mother. This is the life of a Lions fan.
On the brighter side, the second set of emotions I feel; hope, encouragement, and determination. These Lions are playing better and with more heart than any Lions I have seen in the past 5 or more years. I can’t remember a team with such determination, and hope; at least not post-Barry. If any Detroit Lion’s team can deliver, it will be this one. Our young quarterback, Mr. Matt Stafford, stepped into the leadership roll of this team with ease. Even though the kid injures often he won me over when he led us to our victory against the Browns in week 11 with zero time on the clock. Our defense-minded level-headed coach Jim Swartz, what can I say, what a find! Look what has happened to Tennessee since he’s come our way, and look at the Lions, wow, what a change. Then of course there is powerhouse Suh who will rip off your head if he doesn’t like your face. The running power of Jahvid and the agility of Calvin. What a team we have! If we can’t pull it together this year, I am sure next year, the Detroit Lions will be in the headlines for positive reasons for a change, mark my words.
So, in conclusion of all that mess, I am walking away from this week with my head held high. The curse may still be upon us but we are shaking it away a little at a time every week. This team will prevail and soon. We as fans will no longer accept poor football and mediocre coaching. We have a high standard for our Lions and it is about time they lived up to it. I’m looking forward to dealing with the mess of a team affectionately known as the Vikings and I hope we can overcome the mindset as fans that the team we support is sub-standard. Go Lions, I believe.
See ya next week post Lions game. Please let us beat the Vikings please please please.