After dominating for most of the game, the Lions collapsed, allowing a once-stagnant offense led by rookie Kyler Murray to erase an 18-point fourth quarter deficit in his NFL debut. Murray played the part of rookie passer for a majority of the game, with the Lions defense clamping down on their aerial attack and Murray’s scrambling ability.
One Arizona touchdown became two Arizona touchdowns. They converted a two-point attempt. Suddenly, the Lions were looking down the barrel of overtime. The Lions were lucky that Arizona’s momentum did not carry them to a victory. Both teams could only muster field goals in the overtime period, and with that, the game ended in a tie.
Being a Lions fan sure is emotional.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Do you feel better, worse, or the same after the Lions’ tie versus the Cardinals?
My answer: I feel worse about the Lions, but for a reason that you might not expect.
For most of the game, up until the late fourth quarter, the Lions were playing superbly on offense and defense. The Matthew Stafford and T.J. Hockenson connection was electric, and while the run game was modest, there was still plenty of reasons to believe that the Lions had this in the bag. One such reason was the defense, which was utterly shutting down Murray and David Johnson.
Then the Lions took their foot off the gas.
I understand the reasoning behind it. You want to run out the clock. Play it safe. Wrap up the game. It makes sense, but that does not mean it worked.
The Lions switched to a prevent defense, and the game spiraled out of control. Suddenly nobody could stop Murray. Suddenly the Lions offense couldn’t muster first downs.
The Lions opted to play it safe, but they probably played it too safe. The Cardinals were not doing anything on offense prior to the fourth quarter. Hockenson could not be stopped. Passing is certainly more risky that running the ball, but if it has been working all game, why not stick with it? They did not have to air it out either; even short passing had been effective this game.
Based on what I just described, it seems obvious that the coaches are to blame, right?
Technically yes, but they deserve credit for the 90 percent of the game in which the Lions dominated. Darrell Bevell’s timeout looks like a huge gaffe, but let us not ignore the fact that the Lions offense was reigning free over the Cardinals defense for most of the game. They could not close it out, but that does not mean all is lost. If the Lions walked away with a win, there would be plenty of positives to discuss.
However, the reason I feel worse about the Lions is that this was a crucial win that slipped through their fingers. If the Lions want to be a playoff team, these are the kind of games they need to win, and they were in an excellent position to do so.
The Lions showed plenty of promise, that's good.— John Whiticar (@Whiticar) September 9, 2019
The problem is that looking at the schedule, wins are going to hard to come by. Beating a weak Cardinals team was basically a must.
The Lions will certainly have a few surprise wins this season, but their present outlook does not appear favorable. They will now face the Los Angeles Chargers, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Green Bay Packers, and the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions could be looking at a 0-5-1 record come Week 8. With a record like that, the playoffs would be out of the question.
This was only the first game of the season, but it felt like a must-win. Now the Lions will have to beat the odds against some good teams if they want to claim the division. It will not get any easier.
How do you feel about the Lions after their tie vs. the Cardinals?
This poll is closed
A lot better
A little better
A little worse
A lot worse