So much has happened to and for the Detroit Lions and us, their fans, in the past 24 hours. But before anything, I wanted to wish Jeff Okudah a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the field when he’s ready. For this piece, I wanted to focus on Jared Goff and whether and what is garbage time and should it be a drinking game?
Seeing how the media has viewed Stafford yesterday is important to acknowledge here as well. Free of his Honolulu Blue jersey and before taking his first snap this summer, he was put into the MVP conversation for this year. After his first game against the Bears, keeping us all tied in the NFC North (thank you Matthew!), his stock is even higher. And yet, wasn’t he Pad Statford ?
What was Matthew Stafford trying to do in all those second halves? Remember 2016 and all those comebacks? why is Goff’s performance any different, is it the loss? Is there something truly positive beyond his expected yardage and touchdowns?
Leaving Matthew (all the best mate) and sticking with Jared, we’ll see whether and when the 49ers took their foot off the gas. Let’s start with the second half.
It was tough for the Lions, with the Niners scoring at the end of the first half and starting the third quarter. Unexpectedly, eight plays and 57 yards later, they missed the end zone and their field goal. That made us tied in the FG-missing department. Even though the Niners had scored a field goal before the half, the Lions had finally held them without time being a constraint. SF had not taken their foot of the gas yet.
The Lions went three and out and San Francisco came back and scored on that fateful 79-yard play by Deebo Samuel. After my three years stuck with Patricia, it felt like a fatal blow for us, and I would say that the Niners definitely took their foot off of the gas.
I do not think SF expected to give up that touchdown cushion so quickly but after 3 minutes and 31 seconds and 75 yards, the last 43 of which came with D’Andre Swift in the last play, I’d say SF had woken up a little. We kicked the extra point and kicked it back to them.
After getting a first down, we pushed them back a yard when they were at 3rd and 1. I think San Francisco is paying attention now. They sack us in response. Three and out. Here comes the fourth quarter…
Even after a 57-yard punt from Mr Jack Fox (are we allowed to say that’s on his lower side?), Mohamed Sanu ran back 11 of those yards to SF’s 47 yard line. It was a strong effort by the Lions defense with two runs stops, Okudah’s pass break-up and an 8-yard sack. Jimmy did throw twice for 27 yards total and that was good enough for a field goal. Their last points of the game, with ten minutes left in the fourth. 41-17
Our response was a great pass and run for Hockenson. We thought another TD was on, but with a couple of incompletions mixed in with some check downs and penalties, the drive dies on downs and the ball goes back to San Francisco at the exact same point as before: SF’s 47 yard line.
The Niners go three and out and I totally think they had taken the foot off the gas after the last series.
The Lions take advantage and in a stop-start, erratic and irrational 12 play series, go 86 yards down the field with Jamaal running it in and TJ making the 2-point conversion catch. 41-25.
After miraculously recovering the onside kick, the Lions go 59 yards in six plays, 1 run and 5 passes, the last to Quintez Cephus. He also caught the 2-point conversion and after 46 seconds have passed since the last Lions’ touchdown and with a minute and ten seconds remaining on the clock, the score was now 41-33.
Fred Warner breaks our heart by collecting the second onside kick before it gets to the 10-yard demarcation but we don’t give up. We’ve got some kneecaps to nibble yet.
With Ford Field on fire, Kittle false starts and Mitchell get two yards in two runs. As we watch what we think is the end of the game as Deebo Samuel passes the 1st down marker, Trey Flowers begs to differ and punches the ball out and Iffy Melifonwu reacts and recovers our ball. 58 seconds left.
After an incompletion, Goff finds Amon-Ra St Brown for a 20-yard gain who runs out of bounds, stopping the clock at 47 seconds in the middle of the field. Another incompletion and then a 25-yarder to Kalif Raymond in the middle, at SF’s 25-yard line. They stop the clock by spiking the ball. After gaining a yard whilst running to the sideline, stopping the clock yet again, Goff gets clattered as he tries to connect with the Sun God on fourth and 9. The Niners kneel. And well they should.
If you’re fighting with your heart and soul, how can it possibly be garbage time? and yes, it is also a drinking game. I’ve got to do what I can from afar, here in Cali, to support my Detroit Lions.