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Lions vs. Bengals: What Just Happened?

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A collection of thoughts on the Lions’ huge embarrassing failure.

Detroit Lions v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Hey guys. That’s it. The season is now over. The Detroit Lions went to Cincinnati on Sunday and blew their chances for a playoff berth with a 26-17 loss to the Bengals. I’m not going to waste your time today.

As always, I have thoughts on this game, these are those thoughts.

Time for a rant

First, let me do this.

The Lions went into Cincinnati on Sunday to play a team that had been outscored 67-14 in the last two weeks. The worst offense in the NFL, the worst rushing defense in the NFL, a coach who put his two weeks in and a barrage of injuries. And they lost. There are so many reasons why this Lions team needs a change, and I’ve just decided that instead of just telling you What Just Happened on Sunday, I’m going to show you the things that happened that should bring about change in this organization.

Running the ball on second-and-18

Why, Jim? Seriously. And I’m talking to both Jim Bob Cooter and Jim Caldwell here. How does that play make it into the game at that point? You want to know a big reason as to why the Lions lost? It’s because they played themselves all day long with stuff like.

This is a team that has a quarterback that can do special things with his arm and you’re running the ball on second-and-18?

But wait, there’s more

Look at this big play. This is the kind of thing you want to see from the Lions all day. Do you remember what the Lions did right after this? They ran two running plays and an incomplete pass in the end zone to Golladay. Settled for a field goal.

This coaching staff continues to make themselves look like imbeciles on a weekly basis. The run game doesn’t work. You have three backup lineman in. It’s not getting the job done. STOP IT!!! Use your incredible quarterback that the brass just gave the most money in the league to. Why did they do that? Because they know he’s really good.

Throw the challenge flag

One thing we know about the NFL is that we don’t know anything about the NFL, especially when it comes to a catch. On the biggest drive of the game, Golden Tate made what looked to be one of the craziest catches I’ve ever seen. It was likely to be a controversial one if had been ruled a catch.

The Lions staff responded by immediately marching the punting team out and giving the ball back. In this moment, it doesn’t matter if you think you might be wrong. His play deserved to be at least looked at again. Tate had the ball in his hands when he was down on the ground and then it was swiped out.

The lines here will be drawn. Some will think it was a catch and others won’t. What everyone agrees on is that, with the season on the line, it should have been challenged.

Where is the use of Tate and Jones?

The Lions targeted their two hottest offensive weapons were hardly factors on Sunday. Golden Tate was targeted six times and Jones was targeted five times. This shouldn’t be rocket science for the Lions staff, but it always seems to be. Put the ball in the hands of the players that make plays. I’ve set every Madden record under the sun because I know this rule.

You can’t win games when Golden Tate, the league leader in yards after the catch, only has three catches for 14 yards.

Minor Stafford hate by request

Scratch that. I’m not going to do it. If you think Matthew Stafford is the problem, stop watching football. This man wasn’t given a chance to succeed on Sunday. If you ever want to prove that Stafford could somehow be even better with different coaching, show them the tape of this game.

The only thing he could have done better was throw the ball to Tate in the red zone instead of Kenny Golladay.

The Lions defense eats a poop burger again

This team went out and allowed 37 points to the Ravens just a few weeks back. The Ravens were ranked 32nd in the league in offense at the time. The Lions then came into Cincinnati and allowed another really bad offense to roll all over them. Giovani Bernard had one of the best games of his career. Gio had rushed for 290 yards all season prior to Week 16. He finished with 116 today. You see the problem here?

Even Darius Slay had an odd off day. He did make some special plays on AJ Green early in the game, but then Green consistently got the better of him for the rest of the day.

The Lions coaching staff probably lost their jobs on Sunday

I suppose we’ll see where this goes in the coming weeks, but it’s pretty clear that Jim Caldwell and company have begun to hurt things more than they’ve helped. The decision-making has been beyond confusing, the offensive play calling has been more predictable than the WWE, and the defense can’t seem to stop anyone.

Yes, there are some talent issues here. I won’t put everything on the staff’s shoulders. What I will do is blame them for everything they have done and most of what they have control over.

I understand that this staff has helped this team and this organization grow up a lot. Credit where credit is due. Matthew Stafford isn’t this good without Jim Caldwell coming in to reform him. But they’ve done all that they can do at this point. And sometimes that’s all it is. Sometimes a staff can only get a team so far before they need to look for the right person to get them over the hump.

As for now, I’m very angry with this staff. They’ve gone from being a promising group, to scrubs. And we don’t want no Scrubs.