Sunday, October 26, 2014

Detroit Lions. Bumble down, bumble up

In years past, few would doubt the Detroit Lions would find a way to bumble away a game they should have won. From coaching decisions, to offense, to defense, to special teams, if there was a way to screw up a game -- the Lions would find it. Turnovers, false starts, illegal procedures, stupid personal fouls, and mind-boggling coaching decisions all factored in. It was like the coaching staff was clueless and the players dumber yet. Even in recent seasons where they got off to a fairly good start -- the Lions were always a ticking time-bomb waiting to implode on themselves. November and December could, and has, gotten ugly. Whether or not the same fate awaits them this year remains to be seen.

But so far in 2014, the bumbling seems to have taken a very strange turn -- to the Lions advantage. Just last week, in a home game against the New Orleans Saints, Drew Brees and company had them all but put away. Enter a couple of bizarre pass interference calls, and Brees himself uncharacteristically throwing a foolish interception late in the game and -- presto -- the Lions bumbled into a win.

Consider the recently concluded game in London against the Atlanta Falcons. After being down 21-0 at halftime, the Lions rallied in the second half. But they still should have lost the game. With the Falcons ahead by two points and just a few seconds left in the game, the Lions lined up for a winning field goal attempt. The snap is good,. The hold is good. The kick is away. It's wide right. Time has expired. The Lions lose.

But wait. The Lions themselves were called for delay of game before the previous play happened. A five yard penalty. Reset the clock to 4 seconds and try again. This time the kick was good. Lions win.

So even when they pulled another bone-head, they bumbled into a win. The coaching staff of the Falcons must have been pulling their hair out. How the hell could this happen?

Yet that's the way it seems to be going for the Lions in this magical year so far. Before, they could play well, but bumble their way into a loss. In 2014 they haven't played particularly well, but despite the miscues, are bumbling their way into wins.

Sure, their local media is making a big deal out of how they're winning games without the services of Calvin Johnson. But in previous years, QB Matthew Stafford and the Megatron put up outrageous passing yard statistics -- and the team couldn't win squat when it counted. Since 2009, together they've been to a grand total of one playoff game -- and were blown out.

Lions fans hear about Golden Tate. He's a decent receiver, but why in the hell would he leave a Super Bowl championship team in beautiful Seattle to go to the dregs of Detroit? Reggie Bush was a cast-off from another team, as were some other Lions' free agent signings. Tight end Joe Fauria went totally undrafted a couple years ago. No other NFL team thought he was worth taking. But Detroit signed him. Alas, Fauria has been on the disabled list for a month since tripping over his own puppy dog at home. This sort of thing could only be a part of Lions' lore.

Long-time center Dominic Raiola remains a spokeman for the team. Dom likes to talk, and talk, and talk. Since joining the Lions back in 2001, Raiola is the all-time NFL leader for having participated in the most losing games. One would think a player with such a horrific track record would shut up and show some humility. But not Dom. He continues to bumble on talking about how the Lombardi Trophy will be coming to Motown every year. Maybe he took too many helmet to helmet hits while at Nebraska. Poor devil. (BTW, Raiola joined the Cornhuskers right after they had won a national title -- and they immediately tanked thereafter).

Nonetheless, one way or the other, the Lions have always bumbled. Sometimes up, sometimes down.

After the "running amok" regime of former head coach Jim Schwartz, the Lions have a new head coach.

One Jim Caldwell whose name, if I have this right, roughly translates from the ancient Sanskrit as -- "Praise God for giving me another shot".

You see, Caldwell has done well in the past as a coordinator under other successful head coaches, but when given the reigns himself -- not so good.

Enter the bumblers that were more than willing to throw millions, likely 20+, for a 4 year deal, to a guy that has a history of failure as a head coach.

As they always say in Detroit, this could be the year. Just wait until Megatron gets back. We'll be unstoppable. Right. Seems to yours truly I've heard that before a time or 50 over the last few decades.

But ya never know. With a little luck, sometimes bumbling has a way of working out in the end.

Look at Joe Biden.......

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