Sometimes things are so bad that they’re beautiful in a way. You almost have to admire how so many things could go wrong in an afternoon of football. You couldn’t recreate the Detroit Lions’ 16-16 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers and you shouldn’t. But this will be one you’ll look back on and laugh about.
As always, I have thoughts on this game. These are those thoughts.
Seriously though, what the hell just happened?
If the Three Stooges had made a movie about a football game, it would look prettier than this. The game where Bane blew up Heinz field was a better afternoon than this was.
Quarterback Jared Goff couldn't throw the ball and neither could Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. The Lions turned the ball over and then the Steelers gave it right back. There was rain, but was it enough rain to make it this messy?
Then the Lions already oft-injured defense lost Tracy Walker, Trey Flowers, and Jerry Jacobs seemingly one right after the other. The Steelers lost one of their own in stud T.J. Watt. It almost felt like the NFL should just call the game for everyone's health and safety.
Then there was that overtime period. The Lions did manage to force two turnovers (three on the day), but they were incapable of doing anything to capitalize on them. They trotted out injury-replacement kicker Ryan Santoso to attempt a long field goal for the win and what he did can't really be described as an attempt.
Oh yeah, Santoso missed an extra point earlier in the game too. That PAT would have theoretically given the Lions a 17-16 win in regulation.
Please take this game tape and bury it down deep where both Lions and Steelers fans never have to see it again. Although I’m sure with a game this bad, two young children will find it on a beach 20 years from now when they hear thumping and go to investigate. Yes, that’s a Jumanji joke.
I won’t get too much into this for two reasons: it’ll be the subject of this week's Monday Overreactions and what more can be said about Jared Goff?
But seriously, if your quarterback is hurt and he can’t throw the ball, you have to get him out of there. It’s not much of a stretch to say that the Lions lost this game because they left Goff in the game.
Alright, since it’s not a loss, I don’t have much complaining to do this week. So let’s talk about good stuff like D’Andre Swift’s great game. The former Georgia Bulldog continues to come into his own this season. On Sunday, he gave the Lions their first 100-yard rushing performance of the season. He didn’t stop there. He went for an additional 30 yards and added this sweet hurdle as well.
Defense played really well
All things considered, the Lions' defense had a great game. Especially when one of those considerations was playing without their best defenders for half the game. The Lions managed to force three turnovers and for the most part, didn’t get killed by big plays. Even UDFA rookie Mark Gilbert, who hasn’t really seen the field, came up big with some nice coverage and a great forced fumble late in the game. Best of all, they didn’t allow the Steelers to win this game. You have to hand it to them. Aaron Glenn is a good defensive coordinator. Imagine what he will do over time with some good players.
We gave Matt Nelson a lot of flak for his performance against the Eagles. It was warranted. So, naturally, it’s warranted that we heap some praise on him for his work against the Steelers. He came in as an extra blocker and he really helped in that capacity. Good for him. The Lions should continue to try this.
What else is there to be said?
The game was ugly, the season has been ugly and now the weather outside is ugly too. At this point, you just have to hold on for eight more weeks, and then hope can be restored again as the Lions make their way into the offseason with money and good draft picks.
I still believe that this staff and front office is the right group for the Lions, but there is just so much work to be done. It’s a rebuild people. Let’s roll with it.