Three Cups Deep: Lions at Cowboys

>> 11.22.2010

This is the bottom, the endpoint, the nadir.  The Lions, for the countlessth time this season, outplayed their opponent for much of the game.  They controlled the tempo and momentum, and looked to be on the way to victory.  Then, for the umpteenth time, a mixture of mistakes, freak occurrences, and out-and-out robbery by incompetent referees took the game away from them.

Once again, the Lions could have won but didn’t.  Once again the Lions played hard but lost.  Once again the Lions let opportunity slip through their grasp.  Once again, the referees did their best to negate positive Lions plays.  Once again, the Lions shot themselves in the foot by committing unforced presnap penalties.  Once again, I’m sitting here trying to cope with another loss.

Though it’s my custom to write this post on Monday morning, after at least two cups of coffee—hence the title—I’m writing this immediately after the game ends, on a laptop with no Internet connection, with my smartphone “somewhere around here,” that is to say lost.

Without the Internet, without a microphone, and without you folks—my Fireside Chat participants—chiming in, you’re getting my reaction in a vacuum.  Outside of the use of the “backspace” key, I’m essentially blogging on a typewriter.  You’re getting my unvarnished, old-school post-loss opinion here; a rare treat to be sure.

Unfortunately, I've got nothing to say.

Don't misconstrue this: I’m not going to quit.  I’m not going to abandon my friends at the fire.  I’m not going to stop cheering my guts out for this team week after week after week.  But, highlighting the positive aspects of this loss?  Trying to convince you all—and myself—that a winning streak is surely just around the corner?  Supporting your team is one thing; being delusional is another.

Whether it’s the Ineffable Will of the Football Gods, a vast NFL conspiracy, or just plain not being good enough yet, the Lions are not winning football games this season.  They’re unquestionably—unquestionably—much, much better on both sides of the ball.  Coming into this week, the Lions had the 11th-best scoring offense and 20th-best scoring defense in the NFL.  Last year, they were 27th-best on O and 32nd-best (i.e., dead last) on D.  They were getting outscored by 14.5 points per game, 31st in the NFL in points differential in 2009—and again, prior to this game they were outscoring their opponents by 1.4 ppg; 16th-best.

. . . but of course, none of that matters.  What matters in this league is results, period—and so far, this year’s results are identical to last year’s.  Until the Ws start flowing, we’ll have to endure the clawing emptiness in our stomachs for another week, or weeks, or (God forbid) months.  I wish I had some nourishment for you, some little takeaway that’ll leave you smiling, or at least not tearing your hear out in chunks anymore.  All I have to offer, though, is a spot by the fire, dwindling though it may be.

Looks like the log rack is almost empty.  I’m going to put my gloves back on, and take up my axe and sled.  I’ll see you folks in a little while; I need to go chop some wood.



7 comments:

Egret November 22, 2010 at 11:46 AM  

I'm used to the losing, but there's just so much of it. It's been so long since I had the pleasure of following a winning football team. My wife now says that she dreads Sundays because she knows that I'll be cranky after the Lions lose. I told her that I promised not to be cranky this upcoming Sunday. She was too smart for that, she knew that the Lions are going to play this Thursday.

Anonymous,  November 22, 2010 at 12:12 PM  

It truly DOES begin to seem like some vast NFL conspiracy when the refs take AWAY a Lions touchdown to begin the season, then the networks and the league invoke bogus rules interpretations to justify it. Then yesterday more inept officiating gives a 15-yard gift to Dallas for a (legal) Detroit tackle by the hair, and grants Dallas an unearned touchdown by a player who stepped out of bounds, and Fox helps out by delaying the revealing replay until after the extra point kick and the commercial break. Does the league have a buyer somewhere who needs a franchise to collapse?

Matt,  November 22, 2010 at 1:43 PM  

"I told her that I promised not to be cranky this upcoming Sunday. She was too smart for that, she knew that the Lions are going to play this Thursday."

LOL, outstanding!

Ty November 22, 2010 at 2:40 PM  

Egret, Matt--

Agreed, that is CLASSIC! Very well said.

Peace
Ty

Old Man Winter,  November 22, 2010 at 2:50 PM  

Ty,

Consider saving the wear and tear on the axe and your back. Most Lions should be receiving lumps of coal from Santa this year. That should keep the fire burining through the Draft.

Anonymous,  November 22, 2010 at 5:49 PM  

Again, Linehan and the coaching staff insist on forcing the run. This team hasn't shown the ability to, yet it insists on having a balanced offense when not once has their passing game been shut down. No team has respected the lions run game for weeks, yet that hasn't hurt their passing game. And Hill's arm has nothing to do with it, the game plans been consistent the whole season.

I think mike martz is excessive, but he's right that nfl defenses now a days cant just shut down a passing attack by focusing its defense toward it, especially when calvin demands extra attention.

Its tiring watching the lions stall drives by trying to knock a square peg into a round hole.

"but if we keep throwing, they'll just adjust to us. they will stop us." they HAVE stopped the run game, over and over, even the bills. the lions need to learn from their past instead of fearing the what ifs, they should atleast test their stubbornness that defenses will stop an unbalanced attack. Lets see what happens.

London Dave,  November 22, 2010 at 6:51 PM  

I'm not giving up on Schwartz and the Lions, but they do need to get one more win this season. Imagine if they get the 2nd or 3rd pick in the draft again... the financial implications of this if there is no rookie cap put in place by a new CBA is frightening.

There are still winnable games on this schedule. Despite how good the Bears record is, they're not a "good" team and the Lions get them at home. They also get a reeling Dolphins team that might have Tyler Thigpen at the helm as well as the Vikings at home (please god without Favre!!) the last week of the season. If it's Favre's last game, I would assume a blowout, in the wrong direction. Let's hope his "re-evaluating" leads him to retire.

Personally, I'd be fine with them shutting down Best and letting Maurice Morris take over. He may not get a lot of carries, but he produces on the few that he does get, so I say let Jahvid rest. Also, if Peterman continues to struggle, I'd love to see Dylan Gandy get a shot for at least a half or something. Just to see if he's worthy of keeping around and light a fire under Peterman.

Keep the faith.

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