After a rousing opening day victory over the hapless NY Giants, the Lions crashed and burned in Week 2 versus the Carolina Panthers on the road. The final score, 24-7, seemed indicative of how the game went.
For the last several months, Lions' fans have been fed a steady diet of hype from their local media. After all, they have a new head coach, and he's been to Super Bowls. A new offensive coordinator, one Joe Lombardi, came on board via the New Orleans Saints and had installed the offense that Drew Brees and company had used to such great success.
And oh my. The talent. Entering his sixth season, QB Matthew Stafford is at his optimum age and experience level. Same with Calvin Johnson. The Lions picked up Super Bowl winner free agent Golden Tate in the off season to complement the Megatron. Not long ago, they had added supposedly rejuvenated running back Reggie Bush. And besides the always fearsome duo of Brendan Pettigrew and Joe Fauria at tight end -- the Lions used their first round draft pick to select Eric Ebron, a hot-shot tight end from, ironically, North Carolina.
But wait, as the $19.95 (plus shipping and handling) commercials say, there's even more. The offensive line has become a cohesive unit both run blocking and pass protecting. Taken collectively, their offensive cup runneth over with talent across the board. The Lions should rack up more scores than your average sheikh with his harem.
Yet against the Carolina Panthers, the ersatz high-flying Lions were held to 7 points for the entire game. One measly touchdown.
Of course, that likely had to do with something that has been mentioned in this space before. It's an insidious disease that has plagued the Detroit Lions franchise for decades. Despite wholesale turnovers of players many times over and umpteen head coaches coming and going -- it persists. Though technically named osteus cranius eternicus, it loosely translates to Bonehead Syndrome that just... won't... go... away.
And once again, the symptoms were on full display in Charlotte. Start off with a poor game plan. That's on the coaches. Mix in the usual variety of stupid penalties and add a few turnovers. That's on the players. Season well with lack of execution, simmer for 3 hours, and what do you get? The Lions getting rightfully trashed 24-7 in another road game.
Regardless, the Lions' hypsters will tell you they are still in first place in the NFL North division. Indeed they are, though in a 4-way tie with the Packers, Vikings, and Bears.
At that, the Vikings still have the Adrian Petersen mess to deal with. Without their star running back, they might be in trouble. The Bears lost at home to Buffalo, then went out to San Fran and stormed back to win the game. Try and figure THAT out.
And yeah, the Packers got hammered in Seattle in their opener, and fell behind early to the NY Jets at home in Week 2. But most every team gets zapped in Seattle and the Cheesers came back to dispatch the Jets.
So the 1-1 Packers visit the 1-1 Lions next week. Somebody's gotta win, and somebody's gotta lose. If the Pack plays like they did in the first half against the Jets -- they'll go down at Ford Field. But if they play like they did in the second half -- they might well prevail. Further, it remains to be seen if Jim Caldwell, his staff, and the players can temporarily put the Bonehead Syndrome into remission for that game, or whether the age-old Lions curse will rear its ugly head again.