Three Cups Deep: Lions at Vikings

>> 9.27.2010

Brutal.

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.



10 comments:

a Lion in ViQueen Territory,  September 27, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

this is why you are my favorite Lions blogger. Never let the fire die. You got to carry those of us who are burning low.

Jim,  September 27, 2010 at 12:37 PM  

Honestly, losing sucks. But I don't understand how anyone could have expected better. At least here we can trade in excuses. No Stafford, No Burleson, no Best.

Imagine how much it would suck to be 0-3 with the key pieces of the puzzle. I still think we might be.

Ty September 27, 2010 at 12:54 PM  

ALiVQT--

Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is what I'm here for; it's why I do what I do. I'll always be tending this flame.

Peace
Ty

Bob September 27, 2010 at 1:09 PM  

Insightful as usual. I get frustrated with these guys but I haven't lost faith. At 60, I remember the '58 championship. I've been waiting for another opportunity to celebrate since then.

Andrew September 27, 2010 at 2:13 PM  

It always bums me out how negative local press is on the Lions, reading the freep/mlive/dnews out here in Brooklyn. I knew that today's reaction would be predictably depressing from them, so I appreciate that someone's keeping the faith.

It was not a good game, but at least, the Peterson jersey sporting bartender gave me a free beer because he "felt sorry" for me. Silver lining :)

cjpops September 27, 2010 at 3:36 PM  

How about some questioning of the coaching staff and play calling? In the last 2 drives of the game, both times in the red zone, no 'jump ball' to Calvin called? On the last INT, CJ's route didn't even take him into the end zone.

Have these clowns ever heard of Herman Moore? How about some video review of the 90's of Herman catching TD's by just plain out jumping the defender?

Pathetic.

You're right, these aren't the "old Lions." They're worse.

Here's some footage of Herman getting it DONE, with Scott Mitchell and Dave Krieg at QB, and against double coverage, no less.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCoLwuB7gWU

Ty September 27, 2010 at 3:50 PM  

Bob--

I'm frankly jealous that you've seen the Lions win it all--though not so jealous that your wait for the next one has been more than twice as long as mine. I laud your patience, and desperately hope it's rewarded soon.

Peace
Ty

Ty September 27, 2010 at 3:52 PM  

Andrew--

Yeah, I spent years crumpling up newspapers and switching stations, and then years arguing on message boards, et. al., before finally just starting my own site. The rampant negativity is just obnoxious; doubly so for it's predictability.

Peace
Ty

Ty September 27, 2010 at 4:16 PM  

cjpops--

"You're right, these aren't the 'old Lions.' They're worse."

Are you seriously suggesting that the 2010 Lions are worse than the 2008 Lions?

Assuming you are: the Bears, Eagles, Packers, and Vikings are all looking like playoff teams right now. All four games went down to the fourth quarter, and the back half of the schedule looks much easier. This team could still easily win five or six games.

As far as playcalling goes, there's no playcalling that can make up for bad decision-making and/or execution. Hill threw those picks, not Linehan.

Peace
Ty

cjpops September 27, 2010 at 4:50 PM  

"Are you seriously suggesting that the 2010 Lions are worse than the 2008 Lions?"

Nope, not at all. I was suggesting that they are worse than the 90's teams. But, that's obvious just from looking at records.

You are correct, Hill threw those pics. However, the play calling is suspect at the very least.

-Not running the "jump ball" play to CJ in the red zone is a real mystery. Not even going to run the play. At least throw a pic utilizing your most talented player (CJ) and his best asset (height). He apparently can't beat a double team...EVER...but we know he's tall and can jump.

-How do you explain being in the red zone and not even having CJ's route take him into the end zone (as happened on the final INT)?

-How about the clock management at the end of the 1st half?

I'm half expecting them to "take the wind" in overtime next chance they get. :)

As far as scheduling goes, I realize that the games all went down to the 4th quarter. However, a) we haven't played GB yet, b) the Vikings are 1-2 (not exactly lighting the world on fire this season) with an aging, uncomfortable looking Favre, and c) Detroit didn't win any of those first 3 games. Horseshoes and hand grenades, my friend.

The only games that I give the Leos a fighting chance in are at home against St. Louis and Chicago and on the road at Buffalo. I can't believe that I think the Lions have a chance to win on the road...

Kudos for trying to stay positive. It's just not lining up with reality, for me.

I still love those Detroit Lions, still go to great lengths to watch the games even tho I live out of state now, but, reality shows that they haven't taken any great steps forward, yet. I still see the same old mediocrity that has plagued them since Millen.

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