The Detroit Lions got the monkey off their back—they have a win.
It took more weeks than we had hoped, but the winless streak got snapped in exciting fashion against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Lions came close to loss number 11, but a late drive and touchdown grab by Amon-Ra St. Brown changed their fortunes. As evident by the celebrations on the sideline and in the locker room, this victory meant a lot to everyone on this team.
But does it mean a lot to you?
The Lions may have won the battle, but they are losing the war that is the 2021 NFL season. A 1-10-1 record still leaves Detroit at the bottom of the NFL, but that does come with the reward of a top spot in the upcoming draft. The Lions are in it for the long haul, but you cannot blame fans for wanting a winning product on the field. If Sunday’s attendance showed anything, it’s that people want to cheer and support a winning football team.
Prior to Sunday, the Lions were not that.
With a win under their belt, does that change your feelings about the Lions, and if so, by how much?
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Did the Lions’ win over the Vikings ease your worries?
My answer: It did ease my worries, but they still exist.
I was elated about this victory and what it meant for Dan Campbell, his players, and his coaches. However, the flaws of the Detroit Lions still persist. The Lions had an outstanding second quarter, but following halftime, that level of play eluded them until the final drive of the game. Unless the Lions can demonstrate that that level of play isn’t a flash in the pan, that second quarter seems more like an outlier than the norm.
I have maintained that this season is all about the little victories within the game. A game-winning touchdown is always exciting, but watching Jerry Jacobs make brilliant tackles at the line of scrimmage is what really makes me hopeful for this team. Watching St. Brown finally break out is a moment I was excited for. Seeing the offense line play very well despite multiple injuries is an incredible accomplishment. Those are the victories that truly matter to me right now.
There is light at the end of the tunnel for the Lions. We have seen glimpses of what this team can be, and with another offseason to add to the roster, we can only hope those become reality. The defense in particular is punching well above its weight, and if you can pair that with consistent play on offense, the Lions don’t seem that bad.
The elephant in the room is Jared Goff, and it is frustrating at times. This was arguably his best game of the season, but he still had baffling moments. His interception, thrown towards a triple-covered T.J. Hockenson, is simply unforgiveable. You have to credit the defense for turning that ensuing drive into a punt, however.
Goff has these flashes that make you see why he was drafted first overall, but they come too infrequently for me instill confidence in him. That second quarter had multiple downfield throws that were crisp and on-target. He had 130 passing yards in the second quarter alone. The offense was humming.
In the second half, Goff had 31 yards prior to the final drive. This type of inconsistency will kill a football team. It’s not all on Goff, but as the quarterback, he shoulders most of the blame. Goff had a good game, but it isn’t good enough per the standards set by championship-caliber football teams. The Lions have a lot of promise, but until they can play a full game, they will struggle to win games. If Goff could play well for three of the four quarters, the Lions could be a decent team.
The key takeaway I have is that the Lions are on the right track. All the pieces aren’t there yet, but you can see a future for this team. I think cautiously optimistic is the best way to describe my feelings. The Lions still have some serious flaws to correct, but Sunday’s win showed me what their end goal could be.
And frankly, that makes me excited.