October 22 was a good day. The Lions had just come off a great performance against the Miami Dolphins and looked like world beaters. But that wasn’t it. I knew that day that I would be going to the next three Lions games. One as a fan and two for work. It was November 11 that I realized that I might be a curse. The three games I went to have been horrible. The food was great, but everything else has been a disaster.
Sunday was the worst of it, though. The Lions looked atrocious in a 34-22 loss to the Chicago Bears.
As always, I have thoughts on this game. These are those thoughts.
What’s wrong with Matthew Stafford?
Everything. It was three weeks ago that I reported that Stafford had been a top three quarterback. Since then, he’s gone on one of the worst stretches of his career.
There’s a lot to attribute it to I. He’s been sacked 19 times in the last three games, the Lions traded away his best receiver, and the run game has faltered after a hot start. Still, Stafford is making a lot of mental mistakes. Both of his interceptions against the Bears, his pick against Seattle and some of these sacks are on him, too.
Perhaps the most jarring thing to me on Sunday was a moment when Stafford had all the space in the world to walk for a first down and he instead overthrew his receiver who had a corner draped all over him. Stafford would say in the post game presser that he was “trying to make a big one,” but that was a risk that wasn’t worth taking.
Whatever is wrong with Matthew needs to be fixed, and I still maintain that a change of coordinator might be the ticket. Maybe not for this year, but next year for sure.
The secondary should be high on the Lions’ grocery list this offseason
Mitchell Trubisky ate the Lions secondary alive on Sunday like he was Fred Durst or something. The Baby Faced Assassin? That’s such a dumb name. Anyways, the BFA threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another score. He looked like the stud that so many Bears fans think he is. They’re going to be heartbroken when the Bears play a team that’s not the Lions or Bills.
The reason he looked so good is simple. The Lions secondary is so bad. I’m confident that if old ass Terry Bradshaw strapped on a leather helmet and went against this secondary, there’d be immaculate receptions left and right. I know Terry’s not old enough for leather helmets, but think about him in a leather helmet. It’s funny, isn’t it?
Looking at the current group, I can’t see any players outside of Darius Slay, Quandre Diggs and Tracy Walker that are going to be on this team next year. That means saying goodbye to Glover Quin, as well as giving up on Nevin Lawson, and admitting that Teez Tabor was a bad pick. I would expect a damn near full overhaul.
Who’s bought in right now? Are you?
I sure was. After the Lions’ Week 2 loss, I saw something in this team. I saw a team that just needed to figure it out and once they did, they could be special. I honestly thought they had. What came after I bought in were wins over the Patriots and Packers and a dominant showing in Miami. In a division that’s still not good despite what the standings say, I thought the Lions could edge out the title. I really believed, and that’s my fault for that.
Now I start to wonder where that team I saw went, because the Lions have had three terrible games in a row and each of them seem to have the same theme to them. The Lions can’t stop anyone on defense and the offense can’t get anything going while their quarterback is getting bludgeoned multiple times a game.
In the post-game presser, Matt Patricia ensured the media that everyone has still bought in. But Devon Kennard’s words in the locker room hint that the team may be fearful of falling apart.
When asked what Patricia’s message to the team was after the game, he said, ‘We gotta stick together.”
Does that mean the Lions are starting to fall apart behind the scenes? Or am I reading too much into things? Only time will tell which it will be.
Just chuck it
The Lions are a team that often infuriates me, but one of things they do that infuriates me the most is their unwillingness to play a little risky. Sunday was full of perfect examples.
The first was when Detroit settled for a field goal in the third quarter instead of trying their luck on a fourth-and-6, already down 26-7. I know points are important. I get that. But the Lions were four-for-five on fourth down conversions on Sunday. Why not just take the risk? You can’t win on field goals with this defense.
My second issue is late in the game. The Lions are down by 12 points with one minute left. They then proceeded to dink and dunk their way down the field until time elapsed. I’m not smart man, Jenny, but I know that there’s nothing to lose in taking four shots down the field and hoping for the best.
The Lions had a two percent chance to pull of a miracle in this moment. I get it was highly unlikely. But what’s the worst case scenario? You get picked off and still lose? The problem I have here is that Jim Caldwell would have done the same dink and dunk. So are the Lions really in better shape with Patricia? This feels pretty much the same.
The Lions can’t take advantage
There were so many flukey things that went the Lions way in this game. In another universe, one of the old Lions teams finds a way to win this game. But for whatever reason, this Lions team couldn’t take advantage of two missed field goals, two missed extra points and an onside kick that they got a second chance on.
Okay, so they scored on the onside kick, but you get what I’m saying. The Bears made plenty of mistakes on Sunday. It’s not like they were perfect. If they slip up this much against a good team, the story is how ugly the Bear’s loss was as opposed to how ugly the win was.
But that’s the Lions of 2018. They’re the almost team in every sense of the word. They almost make the play, they almost don’t screw it up and they almost win. Almost is no longer enough. It’s time for the Lions to make that next step. I don’t think they can do that... at least not this year.