Early Sunday morning, it was reported Matthew Stafford, the Lions franchise quarterback and singularly consistent glimmer of greatness week to week on this team, would be a game time decision with “fractured bones in his back.” Of course, no injury would be more befitting for a player who has literally been tasked with carrying this franchise since the day he was drafted.
As kickoff drew nearer, news made its way to everyone: Stafford, who had started 136 consecutive games, was not going to play in Week 10’s contest against the Chicago Bears. Doom. Gloom. Despair.
“Inertiatic Esp” does everything it can to displace you from its frenetic start to the moments it tries to lull you into a place of comfort and familiarity. At the end of it all, you’re lost.
Cue the music.
Lions-Bears Week 10 Song of the Game: “Inertiatic Esp” by Mars Volta
Now I’m lost
That’s it. That’s the whole moment put into words.
Without Matthew Stafford, the Detroit Lions are less than a football team. They’re less than the winless Cincinnati Bengals. Since the aim of a football team is to have 53 players working in unison with one another, under the tutelage and direction of a coaching staff who is in charge of putting those aforementioned players into the best opportunities to succeed, unplugging one of those players shouldn’t lead to all the blocks tumbling down.
But it did. It happened last Sunday in Chicago. And now we’re most certain this team is lost.
Half of the NFL has turned to a backup quarterback this season, and while not an ideal situation, teams have more than managed to make due.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are vying for a wild card spot with Mason Rudolph under center. The Indianapolis Colts, who lost their franchise quarterback before the start of the season, are firmly entrenched in a battle for the AFC South because Jacoby Brissett is giving them a chance. The New Orleans Saints were without their Hall of Fame quarterback for five games and Teddy Bridgewater helped lead the team to five victories in as many starts.
Other teams can figure it out; the Detroit Lions cannot. The Lions, as a football team, as an organization, are completely lost without Matthew Stafford, and last Sunday’s matchup against the Bears is all the evidence one needs to understand that this team, this franchise, isn’t capable without him.
Is it the coaching staff that deserves blame for this team’s inability to perform? Yup. Is it the front office’s fault for not acquiring the players necessary for this team to be competitive week in and week out without the team utterly going to hell due to one player’s absence? You betcha. Is ownership culpable for not hiring the kind of people to set this team up for success? Of course.
If you’re a fan of Lions football, you consume it for a variety of reasons, I’m sure, but at the end of the day, it’s entertainment. Last Sunday was a far cry from entertainment, even for you masochists who swear you watch to laugh and shake your head at this team’s foibles.
The news of Stafford’s injury literally had people declaring the season dead—which was apt and justifiable—without much more than half the season in the books. Fans throwing in the towel on yet another season because one player’s body couldn’t handle the physical toll of carrying this team for another season.
Seven games remain to be played this season by the Detroit Lions, but without Matthew Stafford, they’re lost.
Song of the Game is an opportunity for our staff to express their weekly feelings of being a Lions fan, but through the art of song. Each week, we’ll provide a song that perfectly encapsulates the Lions’ game and how we experienced it. By the end of the year, we’ll have a full Spotify playlist telling the story of the 2019 Detroit Lions season.