As if this wasn’t a great year for financial prospects, the Detroit Lions made the football equivalent of a poor IPO. After garnering vested national interest from the sporting media, the Lions reminded everyone why their business is so volatile, transforming into a completely unrecognizable team in the final quarter.
There’s some promise in particular assets held by the Lions, but by and large they will need a complete overhaul to change these financial trade winds.
Stock up: Adrian Peterson
Peterson either has figured out how to turn back the clock, block up a vacuum in the Lions run game or just really likes feasting on the Bears defense. Either way, the veteran tailback still had moves to show on Sunday as he fell just shy of 100 yards rushing, which is a bountiful harvest in the gray barren fields of Lions Land. It’s not one of those numbers that he got by volume either, not when Peterson was ripping out chunk plays and splitting defenders.
In the obsessive between-the-tackles run game the Lions desperately want to pursue, Peterson seems to be right at home. That bodes well, because the Lions need him.
Stock up: Danny Amendola
Amendola was dependable, which honestly shouldn’t be much of a surprise anymore. I dismissed the signing back when it happened but he’s proven himself a continued workhorse at the start of this season. He may not have had any touchdowns on the day, but he converted four third downs to keep critical drives alive.
Stock up: T.J. Hockenson
There were few ways this stock couldn’t go up from 2019. Hockenson needed to develop his offensive presence and he did precisely that. One would hope his role will continue to grow. We’ve seen Matthew Stafford thrive with such threats in the past, and such mid-range options will continue to diversify the offense.
Stock down: D’Andre Swift
You know what you did. It’ll haunt you. It’s a hole in your gut that will echo for years and you’ll keep getting asked about it and god it sucks, it just sucks. Welcome to the NFL. I’m sorry.
Even just adding Swift’s to this list feels like I’m digging the dagger in, and that’s not fair. Speaking of which...
Stock down: “Dagger Time”
Multiple third-and-longs existed in the fourth quarter. The Lions decided they would resolve them with screen passes. Not only has nothing changed since the beginning of 2018, it’s gotten worse. The inability to close out games is killing this team.
So what, exactly, did the Lions work on during the offseason? What was Hockenson talking about when he gushed about this term to an eager press scrum?
It’s not like the defense was doing the “Dagger Time” offense any favors. Mitchell Trubisky was 0-for-7 on third down conversions at one point. The Lions defense got him to wheel backwards in pain and panic. This all stopped when the last 15 minutes were put on the clock.
But the offense proved it couldn’t stick that dagger all the same. The Lions ate eight minutes from the clock on three drives, and all they had to show for it was a punt, a 55-yard field goal off the uprights and a tipped pass-turned-interception. Everything the Lions needed to do to keep things together they just didn’t do.
The Lions have learned nothing, nothing in three years with Matt Patricia at the helm in this regard. There is no other explanation other than a vengeful spirit being roused by such bubbly things as hope and elation in Ford Field.
It’s truly remarkable to watch the Lions transform in the fourth quarter. It beggars belief.
Stock down: Will Harris
Tracy Walker sits down on the bench and Harris immediately gets his lunch money taken by Jimmy Graham. It’s not ideal. The defensive backfield is already in rough shape, with injuries plaguing the cornerback cadre. If Harris is going to be put on red zone threats like Graham in the future, he can’t let himself get beat.
Stock down: Anyone and everyone on the coaching staff involved with playcalling
YOU ARE STILL RUN-RUN-PASSING. YOU ARE STILL RUN-RUN-PASSING. YOU ARE STILL RUN-RUN-PASSING. YOU ARE STILL RUN-RUN-PASSING. YOU ARE STILL RUN-RUN-PASSING. YOU ARE STILL RUN-RUN-PASSING. YOU ARE STILL
I don’t I don’t I don’t I don’t I just don’t get it. You’ve all but totaled the car and yet you see another brick wall and what do you do? Do you put on the brakes? No, you just curb-stomp the acceleration like a skinhead at a boot party.
5-yard plays over the middle with 50 seconds left on the clock? Are you wearing these face masks wrong? Are you unable to see the playcard in front of your nose? Did you lose track of time in the empty halls of Ford Field?
Football has evolved. Why did you crawl back into the primordial ocean?
Stock down: Fake crowd noise
When the Lions were rocking and rolling, greater crowd volume would have further unnerved Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky; we know just how loud it can get in Detroit. When the Lions were falling apart, fans could have voiced their displeasure with this team.
FOX’s virtual fans, tepidly hooting as the home team fell apart, were nothing more than shadow puppets dancing on the wall of Plato’s cave.