A CLASSIC FGs GAME
This one became an FGs game very early in the third. This term stems from an old college tradition in which once a Lions game crosses the line from horrific to unwatchable, we pop in a DVD of Family Guy or Entourage and try to forget about the whole thing until the next Sunday. That point was reached today after Cal and Scheffler's back to back touchdown drops, so forgive me but I don't have anything from the last 20 minutes of play to report on. I heard Stafford and one of the Bears got in a fight or something.
As I don't have a working DVD player, "FGs game" is a bit of a misnomer for me. I went to the grocery store instead, so distraught that I wandered around for the first 10 minutes or so not even knowing what foods to get. It probably wasn't the right time to be there; how are you supposed to get groceries when all you want to do is vomit?
Now I know what some of you may be thinking: "But Payne, a TRUE FAN would stay and watch every second of the game, win or lose! You must not be a TRUE FAN!" My response to that is, "Please shut up." If the DTLs don't have the courtesy to provide me with a watchable game, it is well within my rights to forego my viewing privileges.
"But Payne," your next response might be. "Imagine if the Detroits had came back to win the football game! You would be feeling most foolish if that had occurred!" While a valid argument, all I can say is that I've watched an awful lot of pigskin over the years, and I feel that I have a somewhat solid grasp of the in-game dynamics that can lead to such a comeback. Based on what I saw for the first three quarters, I was quite certain that no one was going to be getting all Houston Oilers today.
Furthermore, even had the DTLs somehow come all the way back to win, I don't think it would have been fulfilling for me, because they did not deserve to win today, in any way, shape, or form. This was a disaster on offense, defense, and special teams from start to finish (or at least from start to towards the end of the third quarter; I'm just assuming that the parts that I missed were also equally disastrous). Back to the grocery store.
The first thing that sounded even remotely appetizing to me was some frozen blueberries, which were advertised on the package as being "sweet and firm, with soft skin", precisely how I like my women (Hi Nina). It seems the mass media's ubiquitous sexualization of American culture has even extended its way to the frozen foods aisle.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
First half: Everything.
Lions Offense: resembles the title of an old and unfunny Christopher Lloyd movie.
Bears Offense: took whatever they felt like from Lions D, and unfortunately the things that they wanted were yards and points.
Special Teams: I'll take responsibility for this one, actually. It seems Punter Ryan Donahue read my first post and was placed on the injured list with "Hurt Feelings" shortly thereafter. So the front office scrambles to find a replacement Punter and ends up with Robert Malone, which first off let me just say, that sounds like a fake name. And in his limited practice time this week, Rog Malone seemed to have missed the part about not letting the NFL's all-time punt returner take one 82 yards to the house while gleefully singing this as he runs by won't-be tacklers. I Googled "Nick Harris" just to see whether the NCAA's all-time punting yardage leader was busy today (he was, punting for the Jaguars), and the Google auto-correct feature suggested "Mick Harris napalm death " to me. Wonder what that's all about.
Play that was kinda weird: You know how every once in awhile, a defender will pick an obvious incompletion off of the ground, and run it all the way to the other end zone while everyone stands around? And how you smugly chortle in front of the TV, snorting "Look at that DUMMY! Alls he's doin' is just wastin' time!"? Well today was the one time where that move would have paid off for the defender. With the Bears driving late in the 2nd quarter, Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler was hit as he threw and the ball harmlessly bounced onto the turf, rightfully ignored by the defenders. However, replays showed that Cutler had actually fumbled the ball when he was hit, his right wrist then pushing the ball forward to create the illusion of a forward pass. Under NFL rules, had a Lions defender, say Eric Wright (who had done the same thing with an apparent fumble earlier in the very same drive, only to have replays reveal that the runner was down), picked up the ball and ran it all the way back while everyone was standing around, it would have been a Lions touchdown and 20-13 halftime deficit. Alas, this did not happen, and they went into the half down 20-6.
Second half: Everything else.
Here is the start of the second half as I remember it. The Bears start off with the ball, but the Bromothymol D forces a nice three and out, and get it back with a chance to cut into the Bears' two touchdown lead. Stafford, wearing a thick glove on his throwing hand then immediately makes a mind-bogglingly incorrect read and chucks one into the eager arms of a Chicago defender, who easily takes it back for a touchdown. Bears lead 27-6, Lions get the ball back. Then the Fox broadcast team shows a replay of the previous Stafford interception, and by some glitch in the video game, the scoreboard reads 34-6 at the conclusion of the replay. At this point, the game is essentially over.
After the game was over, I received an unexpected phone call from esteemed defense attorney Johnnie Cochran, who barked into the phone, "If the glove don't fit, you throw like shit!!" I politely thanked him for calling and hung up the phone. Stafford's 4 INT performance today was easily the worst he has ever looked as a Lion. I'd say the real winner of the second half today was the Mac n' Cheese kid, who saw his worst assumptions about Prettyboy9 realized in the final thirty minutes of play. As Mac demanded, I will admit that against the Bears today, Stafford made many inaccurate throws, incorrect coverage reads, and displayed a lack of composure and resilience.
Lions lose in embarrassing fashion, 37-13. Much of the blame is falling on QB9.
IN DEFENSE OF STAFFORD
With that in mind, I'm not quite ready to demand a Matthew Stafford for Shane Falco trade just yet.
One of the main knocks on Stafford is his maturity. That is because he has not yet matured as an NFL quarterback, duh. When Aaron Rog was 23, he spent most of his time whining about how big bad Brent Favre wouldn't give him any reps in practice. At that age, Staffy has the task of leading a franchise to their first playoff berth since Ron Rivers and Greg Hill split time at running back. I am confident that he will mature.
Also, I'd like to take a closer look at the abomination that was today's game. Why exactly was Staff wearing that thick glove on his throwing hand? Is it because he is a bratty, attention-seeking prima donna who wanted to show off his cool new gloves? Or, is it because he dislocated his finger against Denver last week and didn't say anything about it because a certain pasta-loving critic would call him a sissy if he did? Could the searing pain in his dislocated finger have caused some of his off-target throws today, much like a tight rotator cuff once caused a friend of mine to stir his large vat of Macaroni and Cheese at far too many RPMs? It seems plausible.
It also seems plausible that some of his poor decisions could have been caused by a complex defensive scheme cooked up to stop a team with no threat whatsoever at having a run game this year. Speedster Jahvid Best was out of the lineup. As was Uncle Mikel Leshoure, who won't play a down this year due to a torn Achilles'. As was Jerome Harrison, whose season (career?) has been cut short due to a brain tumor. As was Ronnie Brown, who never got traded here, due to said brain tumor. I like Maurice Morris, but he is essentially the DTLs' FIFTH choice at running back right now. I have to think that Rod Marinelli (hope Chicago is having fun with our sloppy seconds, Rod and Martz, on their staff) could devise a defensive game plan without too much concern about the DTLs run game.
Add in the fact that Cal dropped two catchable touchdowns and Scheffler a third, and this culminates in a very tall mountain for Stafford to climb today. I would be pouty too.
I think the best course of action for today would be to do our best to forget that today's game ever happened. Our DTLs still have a very manageable path to 10 wins and a playoff berth this year. Let's be thankful that we have Carolina at home this week, and that Cam Newton has looked slightly less impressive with each passing week. Minnesota at home is still on the schedule as well. There's still the two games against AFC West teams, whose only wins this year seem to be when they play against each other. As long as the DTLs TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS and win the games that they should win, it will be a very successful season. Add in one upset (Thanksgiving), and it could become a special one.
I'll be back on Thursday or Friday. Until then, I'll be consoling myself with some frozen blueberries.