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Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals recap: What Just Happened?


New England Patriots v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

I’ve tried to wash the taste out of my mouth. I mean I tried all kinds of mouthwashes and toothpastes. I’m sure you did too. But there is just no way to wash out the taste of kissing your sister or your brother. That’s what a tie is. You stood up in front of your entire family after Sunday dinner and kissed your sibling.

The Lions went out to Arizona and, in the most cockamamie way possible, tied the Cardinals, 27-27. I was having so much fun with this game. This article was going to be nothing but fun stuff and highlights of players that truly deserved to be highlighted. Then, in an instant, everything began to go completely wrong.

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

What the everloving hell, Darrell?

Look, there’s no way to write this article without talking about what really went wrong here for the Lions. It wasn’t the players. It wasn’t the refs. It was the coaches making an unbearably stupid decision at the most inopportune time.

The Lions were in a position to win this game with a first down. They had been working their way down field with ease. The Cardinals had used all three of their timeouts. Then the Lions pulled off a great play that grabbed them the first down to seal the game and start the season 1-0 on the road after a great offensive showing and, for the most part, a solid defensive showing. But then whistles starting blowing and the play was dead.

For reasons only know to Darrell Bevell, he decided to call a timeout 27 and half minutes after the previous play and after his team had lined up and let the clock drain and obviously after they had snapped the ball.

This cost the Lions the win. Yeah, you can blame their defense for letting the Cardinals back in, but they would have never been put in this position if it wasn’t for this unbelievable stupid decision.

You know what the worst part is? The Lions and Cardinals were the only two teams playing football in the country at that moment. Everyone saw the Lions coaches make this mistake and embarrass their players and this fanbase that already has to deal with constant harassment from fans of other teams on the internet. Lions fans shouldn’t have to put up with that year after year. What an embarrassment.

Now having said that, I’ll be realistic. This isn’t something you can’t recover from. I’ll give credit where it’s due. Bevell’s offense was ballin for most of the game and the defense was too. This isn’t the end of the world just yet. The Empire State building and the White House are still intact. But you can see the alien ships starting to approach.

The Lions had better hire Randy Quaid soon.

Taylor Decker had a really bad day

I’m going to talk about some good stuff at some point, but first I have to get the bad out of the way. This was the worst performance of Taylor Decker’s career. Absolutely horrible. Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs had their way with the left tackle and it caused two forced fumbles. The Lions were lucky to recover one of them.

But that wasn’t it. Decker also got called for penalties four times Sunday. Four! Yes, one of them was declined, but four is still bad. He just could not control himself. Eventually they had to send Jesse James over to help him. It was the kind of performance that cause general managers to look at the trade block Monday morning. I mean, it was Greg Robinson bad. He really has to clean this up, because he’s looking pretty expendable right now.

Special teams were also bad

You can’t talk about special teams without talking about Jamal Agnew’s muffed punt. This cat was an All-Pro return man just two years ago. Now he’s out here looking like Stefan Logan. Speaking of expendable, I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone else back there catching punts next week. I’m not saying they cut the guy, but man, he looked bad Sunday.

It’s not all on him. The return unit looked bad all around. Agnew never really had a chance to make a move at any time. Part of the reason that muffed punt turned into a turnover is because he had a gunner right in his face. He was set up to fail most of the time.

Lastly, I have to mention the line for allowing Sam Martin’s punt to get blocked 30 seconds after Bevell called his horrible timeout. Of all times to mess up, you can’t let it be that one.

Okay, let’s talk about some good stuff now.

Matthew Stafford is the truth

Please don’t let this tie fool you. Stafford was dealing all day long and looked like his old self. He went 27-of-45 for 385 yards and three touchdowns. I would have liked something a little better than a 60% completion percentage, but I’m not going to split any hairs over it. If Stafford continues to play this way, the team can overcome this.

Speaking of Stafford, this dude was pissed and rightfully so. He was on the sideline yelling “Trust Me” at the coaching staff.

He’s absolutely right to do that, too. In these moments, you have to trust your veteran quarterback who’s been successful in these situations before and has the trust of the players on the field with him.

If you’re one of the people that wanted a more passionate, vocal Stafford, here he is. The coaching staff needs to know he can be that guy.

How about Danny Amendola?

The Lions resident Versace model had himself a day, as well. Stafford targeted him 13 times with Amendola catching seven of those balls for 104 yards and this touchdown.

If the third preseason game was any indication, you’re going to see Stafford to Amendola a lot. If he keeps making plays like this and showing up in big spots, it will be a welcome scene for Lions fans.

Oh, by the way Danny, you’re 58 years old man. You have to get out of bounds in overtime. You just have to.

T.J. Hockenson is a god

If you’re going to remember one thing about this game. Please don’t let it be the gaffes. First-round draft choice Hockenson looked like a complete stud on Sunday. We all expected to see a young rookie tight end struggle like, because of the last time the Lions took a tight end in the top 10. I really thought this would be a slow process in April.

Then the dude set an NFL record for most receiving yards by a rookie tight end in NFL history. He caught six balls for 131 yards and this great touchdown that already highlights just how much Stafford trusts this kid.

If there’s anything that has me excited about next week and will keep me coming back, it’s this guy right here.

I know you’re mad. I am too. But just remember some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye. Until then, baby, are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry? Don’t you know? Don’t you know things can change? Things’ll go your way if you hold on for one more day.