Nasty, dirty, violent, sloppy, ugly, whatever. Yesterday’s game was one of the most brutal football games—in every sense of the word—in my memory. Brutal, as in physically violent and punishing. Brutal, as in unfeelingly cold and vicious. Brutal, as in “unpleasantly accurate and incisive” (H/T: Mirriam-Webster).
We knew that going on the road, into the Metrodome, and beating a Brett-Favre-led Vikings squad would require the snapping of several historically-long streaks, and require the kind of sixty-minute performance the Lions have been unable to put together for years. We knew that the Lions would be without Matthew Stafford, without Nate Burleson, without Zack Follett, without Zack Follett’s backup, Landon Johnson, and only barely with a whole host of guys just barely coming back from injury (Peterman, Avril, Levy, Delmas, etc.).
We didn’t even know Jahvid Best would go out indefinitely with a toe thingy of some sort. We didn’t know Stefan Logan would squander the chance to answer a Vikings three-and-out with points, by handing them the ball within striking distance. We didn’t know that the Lions would have sacks and interceptions called back by penalties, that Jason Hanson would stand on the right hash and push a 44-yard field goal wide left, or that the Lions and Vikings would combine for an appalling 20 penalties for 187 yards.
And yet, here were the Lions, with almost three minutes to go in the game, first-and-goal from the Vikings’ four. Down by two scores, but surely just seconds away from one, Shaun Hill threw a brutal interception. Instead of narrowing the lead to seven, the Lions widened the chasm between then and the Vikings. After the defense dutifully forced a three-and-out, the Lions again marched right back down to the Vikings’ ten—and again, Shaun Hill threw a brutal interception.
So, here we are. Again—despite all of the factors, physical and karmic, working against the Lions—they absolutely had a chance to win this game. And again, despite all of the factors, physical and logical, working for the Lions, they lost. So, the Lions are technically 0-3, next going on the road to Lambeau where they haven’t won since the FIRST President Bush started the FIRST Gulf War, and are looking hard at 0-4. Judging by the Internet, and call-in radio, lots of fans are abandoning hope.
Why? The Lions are exactly what we thought they were. I, and many others, said many times that the Lions could win six or seven games this season, but would be lucky if more than one came before the bye—and that was with Stafford, Burleson, Best, Levy, Avril, Delmas, and all the rest. We cannot be losing hope that the Lions are on track. Vikings bloggers, and the Vikings themselves, have been vocal in pronouncing that these are not the “old Lions”.
The hope that we’ve lost is for the magical season. The dream season. The totally-unexpected, everything-came-together, lightning-in-a-bottle 9-7 season that announces, with authority, that the New Lions are here and never going away. THAT is what we have lost; let's take this day to mourn it.
. . . tomorrow, there’s wood to chop.