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What Just Happened? Lions vs Packers

A collection of thoughts on the Lions last loss of the year

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Well that was fun wasn’t it? The Lions, with guys you’ve never heard of with names you won’t have to get used to, almost went out and beat the Green Bay Packers. Sadly, or happily if you’re on Team Tank, the Packers were able to get the 23-20 win in the final seconds off a Mason Crosby field goal.

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

The Lions are who we thought they were

Do you know that saying, “Just waiting for the other shoe to drop?” For the Lions, the other shoe dropped every single time in 2019. The Lions at one point led this game 17-3. In fact they never relinquished the lead in this game until Crosby’s kick went through the post as time elapsed.

This is who the Lions are right now. They’re the team that cannot finish. This wasn’t just a 2019 problem, even if they blew the lead and lost 11 times this season. This is a Patricia problem all around.

Here’s the thing: this is a fixable problem. There has to be even the slightest bit of optimism about the Lions consistently leading in games. All they have to do is make the right moves in the offseason to become the team that wins instead of the team that almost wins.

Robbing Paul to pay Peter

That was more than likely the last game as defensive coordinator for Paul Pasqualoni. The Lions defense was incredibly bad in 2019 and this is the biggest move they can make right out of the gates. I’m not sure who the Lions will bring in or what job the guy they get held in New England, but a change will do some real good here. Even if the Lions defense did show some improvement down the stretch this season.

Matthew Stafford can’t return fast enough

Pending the Lions don’t smart-guy themselves to death before a make or break season, the next Lions game you watch will have Matthew Stafford starting for the Lions. I for one cannot wait for that moment. It has not been a treat watching Jeff Driskel or David Blough in 2019. Even if Blough did do this on Sunday.

I’m sure the Lions will keep either Blough or Driskel for the 2020 season. I wouldn’t be shocked if they keep both. But the Lions really need to think about a better contingency plan and possibly their quarterback of the future at some point. While I believe there’s a chance Stafford plays until he’s 40 if it’s left up to him, I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t. The Lions should look at quarterbacks in the middle of the draft this April.

Tracy Walker and Amani Oruwariye are the future

It remains to be seen what the Lions are going to do about Darius Slay. There’s been some thought that this may have been Slay’s last year as a Lion since they have not re-signed him and at his age, this would be the time to trade him. But then there’s the make or break season thing and the Lions are gonna need all the help they can get in 2020.

Either way, the Lions have two stars in the making in their secondary and they’re both pretty young. Tracy Walker has been pretty much what a lot of people hoped he would be after Glover Quin was not brought back this past summer. He’s had moments where he’s looked pretty bad. But for the most part, Walker looks like a guy that could be a star some day. Right now he grades out with a 72.0 on Pro Football Focus. Imagine how much better he can get.

Then there’s Amani. Bob Quinn got himself a bit of a steal when he drafted Oruwariye in fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Like Walker, there’s been moments where the rookie has looked outright terrible. He’s been burnt to a crisp a few times. But again, like Walker, Oruwariye has looked really good more often than not. He’s graded out at 70.7 on PFF. Even Slay knows this guy is the future.

Who knows what the Lions will do about Slay. Also who knows if the Lions will draft Jeff Okudah. But no matter how it goes down, the Lions have something here with these two guys.

It’s been real

That’s gonna do it for “What Just Happened?” Lions fans. The season is over and now the real work begins. The real work of enjoying weekends off until I miss football so much that I’m tearing out what’s left of my hair, I mean. I want to say thank you to everyone that read all our stuff this year. Without you guys, we wouldn’t be able to reach the heights that we’re able to keep reaching every year. Thank you. Keep sticking with us. We’ll have all your news and opinions all offseason long. Goodbye.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.