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Fan fiction: Lions employ ‘11-men’ strategy, beat Ravens handily

The Lions coaches are showing some serious innovation... in our latest “Fan Fiction”

NFL: Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

“Lions Fan Fiction” is a coping mechanism we use to help fans survive a tough Monday morning after a loss. We try to bring levity and happiness through satire, self-deprecation and humor. So we come up with a fake story about how this game may have played out in an alternate dimension. Enjoy.

The Detroit Lions were desperate for a win. The past three weeks had left the team feeling uneasy. Sure, they had come out of the gauntlet of the Bears, Browns and Vikings with a 2-1 record, but they had just barely survived. They needed to show immense improvement if they were to defeat the elitist quarterback in the league.

What they needed was a new strategy.

“11. Men,” head coach Jim Caldwell said boldly in his postgame press conference. “We came up with the idea in practice last week. We had to check the rulebook to make sure it was legal.”

Yes, for the first time all season, the Lions decided to play 11 men on defense and 11 men on offense for the entire game. The results were immediate and drastic.

Opposing receivers actually had defenders on them. The Lions had pass rushers on the field that could actually get to the quarterback. Matthew Stafford didn’t have to sit in the pocket for 10 seconds trying to find an open receiver. Detroit even had enough offensive linemen in the game to finally create one running lane, a season-high for the team.

And when the Ravens lined up for a desperate Hail Mary at the end of the first half, the Lions actually defended it.

“I can’t believe more teams aren’t doing this!” defensive coordinator Teryl Austin told reporters after the game. “Wait, what’s that?” Austin said after a commotion in the media room. “Really? Are you sure about that? No, come on. We’d notice if that were true.”

With this bold new strategy in hand, the sky is the limit for this Lions team. Who knows? Maybe they’ll catch the Vikings, maybe they’ll earn a first-round bye, maybe they’ll even learn how to defend a play-action pass in the red zone.

Okay, probably not that last one.

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