The Detroit Lions allowed a team quarterbacked by Chase Daniel to come into their building and extinguish all playoff hope. They once again embarrassed themselves in front of a national television audience, serving as a side dish of incompetence, something to be mindlessly consumed without thinking once a year as tradition. Nothing ever changes. Lions fans who operate in the real world understand that nothing ever will.
The thing is, it was supposed to. You don’t fire a winning coach without thinking there are greener pastures ahead. But the Lions did just that to Jim Caldwell, who went 36-28 in four years and made the postseason twice. They sent him packing after consecutive 9-7 seasons to bring in Matt Patricia, hoping adjacency to Bill Belichick greatness would yield immediate results.
It hasn’t. Mark this down as yet another fruitless season. No divisional titles since 1993. No playoff wins since 1991. One playoff win since 1957. Relevance once a year for those seeking to avoid talking to their families. As jesters. Foils. An old, reliable laugh.
The gameplan should have been simple. Avoid surrendering a defensive or special teams touchdown. Score 17 points. Win, and keep slim hope alive. They couldn’t do that. Matthew Stafford, the best quarterback in franchise history, threw a devastating pick-six with six minutes remaining in regulation. It was the mistake one would expect Daniel, making just his third start in nine years, to make. It proved fatal.
That moniker of best Lion QB ever is a double-edged sword. Stafford is not in the top third of signal-callers league-wide. His prime is in the rearview window. He’s likely the best option, but still an nonviable one of the goal is winning championships. He’s morphed into a check-down specialist, posting his lowest adjusted net yards/attempt of his career. He’s thrown 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. With Kerryon Johnson providing competent rushing for the first time in a decade, the offense has still been pedestrian.
It’s starting to sound like a broken record at this point, but everyone associated with the Lions should be intensely thankful anyone in Michigan still cares enough to watch and follow along. The fans get so little out of the experience and are asked to put up with so much. This year has shockingly brought out the arrogance in the new crew, from chastising reporters to coming in with tons of unearned snark.
The new bosses are a lot like the old bosses, only with worse results. Like cranberry sauce, boxed stuffing, and dry turkey, people will continue to consume it out of a sense of loyalty to tradition. But they should all acknowledge that the old family recipe stinks.