It eternally escapes me how a Lions fan--an otherwise rational human being, who wakes up and goes to work and drinks coffee and does all of the things that a normal person such as you or I might do--can log on to, say, Mlive.com, on a Saturday, post, "Vikings 52 Lions 3 Wake me when it's over!", and then on Sunday evening, log back on and post, "THE LIONS SUCK! THEY ARE TERRIBLE AND THERE IS NO HOPE! THEY LOST A GAME AND A FAN OF THIRTY YEARS TODAY!!!!!!1"
Folks: the Vikings came into the game 7-1. The Lions came into the game 1-7. The last time these two teams played, the final score was 27-13. This time, it was 27-10 (and the Lions missed a field goal). Anyone who was surprised, or taken aback, by the result was delusional coming into it. Winning would have been a wonderful surprise; putting up a decent fight in a losing effort was regrettably predictable.
First and foremost, we saw Matthew Stafford resume his upward trend: 29-of-51 for 224 yards, 1 TD, and no interceptions. His scrambling was back--he made some really, really nice plays on the move--and the zip on his passes returned, too. Stafford also reconnected with Calvin Johnson; Megatron led the way with 8 catches for 84 yards. Perhaps most excitingly, he completed 2 or more passes to seven different players.
Of course, Stafford was far from perfect. A few really critical throws were off the mark, like two fourth-and-short incompletions that killed the Lions' comeback attempts. Once again, there were a lot of drops. It's tough to put a finger on this: are the Lions receivers terrible (likely), does Stafford throw a hard-to-catch ball (also likely), or is it just a lack of chemistry between a rookie quarterback and a WR corps he's barely played with (thirdly likely)? Unfortunately, without being a Lions QB, WR, or coach, you just don't know whose fault these drops are.
Overall, we saw him improve from "his five interceptions cost us the win" to "he made enough plays to keep us in the game" in one week. Certainly, he could have made a few more plays--and that might have been the difference between victory and defeat--but any time you ask a rookie quarterback to beat Brett Favre by throwing it fifty times, you're asking too much.
We DID see "Dr. Jekyll" yesterday. Despite underwhelming on offense, and despite disintegrating into a M.A.S.H unit over the course of the game, the Lions stayed in it. They didn't let it get out of hand, kept fighting right down to the final gun, and were still within striking distance in the middle of the fourth quarter.
I’m not about to blow a bunch of sunshine up where your sun don’t shine; this was another tough loss in long string of tough losses. But it’s clear that if THAT Matt Stafford had been under center last week, the Lions would've won. Moreover, it's clear that if we get this Matt Stafford next week--hosting the Browns instead of traveling to the Vikings--the Lions will win. For their sake, and for ours, let's hope that it's true.
Okay, normal people, let's get some more coffee together . . . and let's quit posting suicide notes on Mlive.