three cups deep: reality check

>> 11.16.2009

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.

9 comments:

Anonymous,  November 16, 2009 at 3:15 PM  

Suicide notes on MLive, nice.

My cry for help came a few weeks ago after the St. Louis loss. Thankfully people like you were there to pick me up.

Anthony W. Gibbs

Ty November 16, 2009 at 4:17 PM  

Anthony--

If the Lions don't walk out of Ford Field with a W this Sunday . . . we'll be having a drain cleaner tasting over at Armchair Linebacker.

Peace
Ty

Neil November 16, 2009 at 8:14 PM  

I suggest the '84 Drano, aged to perfection with a slight hint of both minty freshness and tart cherry explosion.

editstet,  November 16, 2009 at 10:13 PM  

Well, I suggest Flavor Aid, grape. Worked fine at Jonestown. Scares me, though. The Browns defense is holding the Ravens offense in check. Meanwhile, the Ravens defense is holding the Browns offense in check, but we don't have the Ravens defense.
Otherwise, people hate to get what they expect, especially when they hope they don't want to get what they expect.

Pacer November 17, 2009 at 12:06 AM  

Editstet-great to see you post on here. Ty works his ass off to put together intelligent pieces for us to chew on and respond to. I truly hope to see you here more often. I know you and Blue try to instill some cogent conversation into M-Live and I guess that's a good thing, but here you will be among a small but growing few who really would like to talk the Lions and football with some sense of perspective and intelligence. I trust you are well.

I thank Ty and Josh (Detroit fan) for taking the time and expending the effort to provide a sensible forum-all posters here owe them a debt of gratitude.

As for the Browns, say what you might of the Lions, the Browns can't score-against anyone, at least the Lions can put up some points. I did think the Browns D did a good job tonight though so this Sunday is going to be interesting.

Ty November 17, 2009 at 8:23 AM  

Neil--

Sounds lovely. I just decanted a bottle of that Liquid Plumr Foaming Pipe Snake, and it just doesn't have the bouquet of the classic vintages.

Peace
Ty

Matt,  November 17, 2009 at 12:58 PM  

You have to put the Browns' defense in perspective: MY perspective. My fantasy football team went into that game needing the Browns to hold Joe Flacco AND Ray Rice to less than 14 points. They combined for 13! This threw me into a 4-way division tie (all 5-5) instead of being two games back. The Browns D also aided this by keeping the Ravens' kicker in check. So, even though the team lost, the Browns D was simply stepping up to help out a fantasy football geek. :-)

We can now extrapolate this to next week's Lions/Browns game. The only player from this game on either fantasy roster is Matt Stafford (my opponent as no Lions or Browns). He will be on my bench behind Brett Favre. This surely means that Stafford will have his break-out game, throwing for 400 yards and 5 TDs, as the Lions completely trounce the Browns while my Las Vegas Kings lose a heartbreaker. :-)

Ty November 17, 2009 at 3:29 PM  

editstet--

First, I dug this sentence: "people hate to get what they expect, especially when they hope they don't want to get what they expect."

Second, as I just blogged extensively, the Browns offense is so wretched, so putrid, so completely ineffectual that it practically doesn't matter what defense is across the field from them. They can't throw, they can't run, they can't do anything right. It would take a minor miracle for them to score a double-digit number of points in a single game the rest of the way out.

Peace
Ty

Ty November 17, 2009 at 3:54 PM  

Pacer--

Thanks for the dap! I'd love to see more of the top Mlive-ers over here, if for no other reason than to read their stuff without 50 posts of garbage in between . . .

Yeah, I think Stafford is going to have to beat the Browns singlehandedly, as the Lions won't be able to run on them at all. Fortunately--especially if the WRs show up to play--I think he's capable of doing that.

Peace
Ty

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