Well, it was bound to happen. Everything else had been checked off the record except for that one last thing. After all, the Lions had been denied the lead in Seattle, but losing it on a final play with a questionable refferee job? Had to get that checked off. Stand up, call "bingo!" You win something. I don't know what it is. Ask the lady at the desk on your way out.
Mike McCarthy fell to his knees on that Hail Mary. Between a stroke of luck and the gifts of his generational quarterback to which he deserves nothing, his job was safe from scrutiny for what would have been another disastrous loss. He took that timeout earlier and it haunted him just before the flag came in to give the Packers life to set up one more shot at...well, whatever the Packers are playing for. What do people in Wisconsin value in their lives anyway? It's certainly not what upstanding Americans in the other 47 contiguous states value. They're animals, really.
But there it was. It was, up until it wasn't, another game for a Lions team that was improved. It certainly wasn't the dominance they displayed over a broken team like the Eagles (although it certainly looked it in the first quarter), but the flashes were there. Ezekiel Ansah put on yet another performance as a predatory hunter to become the NFC's leader in sacks.
Eventually cracks formed. They were bound to against a team as desperate as the Packers with a quarterback like Rodgers. There were stops, and Rodgers did things for the Packers offense to keep them alive. Then the injuries mounted, and Michael Ola was helped off the field by two trainers. Suddenly the fear was real. LaAdrian Waddle waddled right back onto the line and it felt like he was immediately drawing false start flags. It didn't happen, but the refs were almost licking their chops.
It was a crescendo rising up to a beautiful, dangerous, completely avoidable finish. It was the fourth quarter, and the Lions were back to Joique Bell (even though no one watching can understand why Ameer Abdullah is being treated as if he's magically ordained to fumble in the fourth quarter even though he hasn't done it since the Chicago game in mid-October, but sure). Even with the imperfections, things looked right. By the time Sam Martin's punt landed, the Packers had 23 seconds left to score.
There will be debates about the facemask and everything else. But at this point, there's nothing that hasn't been covered this season. In the aftermath there's going to be the same bits. Some will scream about the referees, some will sulk, others will go about their business tomorrow. There's always ways to cope. The Same Old Lions crowd will be out in force, chests puffed, feeling justified in their abilities to tell everyone how they saw it coming, how they knew this team would do something to crush the hearts of their fans, and how everyone else is some kind of sucker for not being possessed with their soulless brand of cynicism that they foist on everyone else. Even that is a familiar song and dance, just another night with Lions football.
Oh, but Calvin Johnson is a meme now.