The Detroit Lions got their first win in three weeks this week. It was not a pretty game - it took 56 minutes for the offense to find the end zone - but they got the job done. The offense did not look like either of the teams from Hollywood who have seemingly scored points at will this season, or like the Giants from New York, who have looked like an offensive juggernaut of some sort the past few weeks. They got the job done, though, and were successful despite what deficiencies they have.
Lions-Cardinals Week 14 Song of the Game: “Crooked Smile” by J. Cole
When I think about J. Cole, I think about an artist that has reached critical acclaim in unconventional ways. J. Cole has amassed a huge fan base despite his reluctance to follow established trends in music. His music is not over produced but more casual and laid back. He does not use auto tune and instead relies on the natural sound of his voice to take you on journeys with him.
The rapper takes you on one of those journeys on “Crooked Smile.” It is a song that focuses on his individual come up from North Carolina, a place nobody would consider a hotbed of hip hop talent. He did not have the Hollywood looks or the New York smile, but he still made it. While there were many institutional factors of American society working against he and many others, they made it. Despite all of his imperfections, he is still smiling because, in the end, his career has been a success.
There is no better way to describe the Lions win in Arizona than as a crooked smile. Matthew Stafford only averaged 4.4 yards per attempt. LeGarrette Blount averaged 2.8 yards per carry. No player had more than 30 receiving yards and no wide receiver even got to 20 yards. Despite all of that, the team still walked off the field smiling because it was a success.
There are a few individual players that have a lot to smile about. Cornerback Darius Slay scored his first career touchdown to break open the game late in the third quarter. While the 2017 first team All Pro has had a down year, he still gave himself something to smile about when he looks back on 2018. Zach Zenner, a player whose NFL career looked in jeopardy when he did not make Detroit’s 53-man roster last summer, drove the team downfield and into the end zone by himself for the offense’s lone touchdown late in the game. It has been a tumultuous year for the running back and there still is not a guarantee that his NFL career will continue past 2018, but he still has something to smile about leaving the game.
It was not perfect, it was not pretty, but the Lions did it. They found the success they have not had in weeks.
Each week, we’ll use a song to describe our feeling or the Lions’ performance from the previous game. At the end of the year, we’ll have a complete Spotify playlist telling the story of the Lions’ 2018 season. You can check out the 2017 playlist here, and our explanations for our choices here. This year’s selections are in the Spotify list below.