This post is sparked by Suh's take down on Andy Dalton on Friday but more so fueled by the last 10 years.
In the past 10 years only 2 or 3 games come to mind that were considered memorable. Just for the sake of argument, let’s not consider last season YET. What I do remember painfully is watching OUR Detroit Lions not only take beatings every week but basically get bitch slapped by them in the process. Normally if we ever won a game which was hardly ever, it would be decided in the last few seconds of the game. Even when there was a question about anyone else’s career and if they could actually produce in the NFL; the game against the Lions would be there center stage.
- Cleveland Browns Defense (9/23/01) When Marty decided that Charlie Batch was not the answer at QB; he decided to put in Vet Ty Detmer. He tied (no pun intended) for 2nd place in the NFL record books by throwing 7 interceptions... you would have thought after throwing 3 or 4 that it would be a good idea to pull him and put somebody else in the game but that was clearly overrated.
- Anquan Boldin (9/17/03) Had 217 passing yards on our defense. Yes we did win the game and only allowed 24 points. Yes he was a Pro Bowl candidate but give me a break on his yardage!
- Robert Edwards (9/8/02). A promising young running back with a solid first year with the Patriots rushing for over 1,100 yards in his first year in 1998; ends up blowing out his knee playing flag football in Hawaii. There was even a chance his leg would be amputated and a chance not even to walk again. After rehabbing his knee and earning a roster spot, he makes a comeback with the Dolphins and ended up scoring 2 touchdowns against the Lions Defense after Ricky Williams punished us on the ground. He later would lose his spot on the roaster which was 3rd on the dept the chart.
- Joey Harrington (Thanksgiving Day 2006) After trading him and being officially declared a bust; Harrington wasn't proving to be much better in Miami. Of course he did manage to have one good game. Harrington passed for 3 touchdowns and 213 yards against Detroit, compiling a passer rating of 107.4, his highest single game rating for 2006. He struggled the rest of the season despite looking fantastic against the Lions.
- Atlanta Falcons Offense (9/8/08) - Matt Ryan through his first TD pass on his first official NFL pass against the Lions. To make matters worse, Michael Turner rushed for over 220 yards and scored twice. Even if you factor him completely out of the game; Norwood nearly rushed for 100 yards himself and also scored once. I remember Turners first TD run... right up the middle and wasn’t even touched... something you can barely do playing Madden with a created player with a 99 RTG in every attribute.
I'm sure there were others but those dates in particular stick out so much because they were downright embarrassing. Not that I don't wish a rookie well on any team or wish all the best from a man who worked his way all the way back from a injury that could have taken away his legs... I think you all catch my drift.
Tom Kowalski wrote an interesting article this weekend about how Jim Schwartz commented diplomatically about Suh's hit but couldn't help to smirk just a little bit. I think we all know what he was smiling about. Jim looks back just as Killer looks back on how the Lions have been the NFL punching bag for the last 10 years. I remember once Kevin Smith did an interview his rookie year and said teams were actually laughing when they were on the field. Leigh Bodden did an interview after he was released from the Lions in 2009 stating that defensive schemes were so unorganized yet so predictable that virtually anybody could figure out how to score on Detroit's Defense at any time.
We think back to all of these times... and when we see Suh toss Andy Dalton like a rag doll to the turf or give a powerful forearm shiver to the back of Jay Cutler's shoulder pads; you can't help but smile and start laughing. Regardless if there "questionable calls" or not; Suh and the Lions as a team are making a serious statement. It's like the small kid who got picked on so much as a freshman in high school started lifting weights and hit his growth spurt showed up a few years later and started knocking the jocks into lockers in the hallway and hear them say "Who the hell is that guy??"
Say what you want about the gaps that are still lingering in certain areas. Yes the OL still has some areas of concern. Yes injuries are still haunting the Lions even to this day. We have "THE BEST" Wide Receiver in the game today which is Calvin Johnson (I'll debate that with Cris Carter any day he wants). We have a QB who is primed and ready to silence his critics this year. We have the best and deepest D-Line that you could possibly ask for. We have a coach who seems to have brought leadership and hope to the organization and the fans of Detroit and we have a GM who actually has a game plan. At this point; it’s just pointless to start making predictions about records and all that. I'm just excited to watch the Lions surprise each and every team they play this year. I'm excited to watch Suh body slam a few more QB's 6ft below the turf... and I'm even excited to hear Chris Berman say for the first time since Barry Sanders "HOW BOUT THOSE LIONS!"
My message to the other 31 teams in the NFL... "You created this beast! ...now get to deal with them!"