The human body is more susceptible to illness when it’s exhausted. The immune system releases a protein called cytokines during sleep. That protein is essential in the body’s reaction to a incoming virus. So, in short, if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re more susceptible to feeling the impact of the an incoming virus.
I’m not trying to diagnose why the Lions suddenly have a huge COVID outbreak. That is clearly just a reflection of the entire league, which has placed 75 players on reserve/COVID-19 over the past two days.
But, instead, it seems like the Lions put everything they possibly could into that Week 13 walk-off win, and now they’ve got nothing left. They threw their last haymaker, and then passed out on the mat. They got their first win, and the Football Gods looked down upon them and said, “Okay, that’s enough,” and shut them down.
However, I’m not here to say, “woe is me,” or ask for sympathy. It’s officially time to start looking forward, because that’s where the optimism resides.
Lions Week 14 Song of the Game: “Shake it Out” by Florence + The Machine
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play
Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos played all of the Lions’ greatest hits of struggles. There was the defense that, like the start of the season, couldn’t stop a single thing. The defensive line, likely exhausted from the flu, was getting moved off the line. The young linebacking crew found themselves out of position. The secondary was barely tested, but failed nonetheless.
On offense, promising drives were spoiled by familiar mistakes. A brutal Jared Goff interception in the red zone. A fumble during a potential game-tying drive. Your dang guard stepping on your quarterback’s foot in a goal-to-go situation. I’ve written the words “comedy of errors” far too many times this season.
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around
But the most frustrating part of this game—and really the most frustrating part of this season—was injuries. This game saw the end of the road for one of 2021’s best stories: cornerback Jerry Jacobs. Jacobs succumbed to friendly fire when teammate Will Harris drove his helmet into his left knee.
As if the injury wasn’t terrible enough, seeing Jacobs go through it emotionally on social media was particularly heartbreaking.
Of course, Jacobs missing the final four games of the season doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but, unfortunately, the injury is serious enough to threaten the beginning of his 2022 season. And that’s where these injuries have been particularly brutal. They’ve robbed Detroit of the present and the future. Who knows what Romeo Okwara’s game will look like after an Achilles injury? Jeff Okudah’s career could be on life support before it even got off the ground.
It’s one thing to lose out on a season that was already doomed, but the future is where the hope lies, and these demons are already chipping away at that.
And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
Dan Campbell did his best to keep this broken roster afloat. It wasn’t quite the Rams game in terms of throwing caution to the wind, but the Lions head coach rolled the dice several times on Sunday, because if the Lions were going to go down, they were going to go down swinging. In total, Detroit went for it on fourth down five times, including twice on their own side of the field and once at the 50-yard line.
Of course, Campbell drew criticism for some of that aggressiveness, but nothing was stopping the Lions from losing this game. Campbell just wanted to ride the dragon into the ground instead of having it crash into him.
‘Cause I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
The Lions didn’t want to anything to do with the excuse making after the game. Injuries and illnesses be damned, they’ve got a job to do. The common phrase repeated by Lions players and coaches after the game was, “No one feels sorry for us” and “we don’t make excuses.”
“What we had to do was not ideal, but we were prepared to come into this game with the guys we had. We had a game plan ready to go and we knew what we needed to do but we just didn’t do it.”
And Jared Goff:
“It doesn’t matter. No one feels bad for us, no one feels sorry for us—including ourselves. We went out here intending to win, and we came up short. Don’t care who was on the field, we had the guys that we believe in.”
And Alim McNeill:
“It is not an excuse. We got to get it done. It’s part of life. People get sick sometimes. The next man has to step up or you just got to get back to it.”
I’m with them. I’m sick of playing the victim. Sick of screaming “Detroit vs. Everybody” or blaming some spooky curse on this franchise’s fortunes.
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
This team still has four games left, and their injuries and illnesses aren’t going away. They’ve got two opponents still on the schedule who are Super Bowl contenders and are likely going to kick this team’s ass. Some will continue to pile on Campbell and ask whether he deserves a Year 2 after a one or two-win season, but that’s all nonsense and outside noise.
I’m ready to put this frustrating year behind us, and look towards the promise of the future.
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa
Each week, we’ll be providing a Song of the Game to create a full-season playlist. You can listen to previous year’s soundtracks right here: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
You can find the 2021 playlist here (or below):