Almost. The Lions almost won this one. They still made mistakes and they still need more confidence but the Lions almost beat the superbowl champions from last year. A team that plays a 3-4 defense, a defense the Lions have shown to have problems with in preseason. A defense they will face again next week.
The Lions almost had a home game. Thousands of seats were waving a yellow towel because Lions fans didn’t buy tickets, Steelers fans did. Counting the season ticket holders that didn’t show up, the Steelers fans almost outnumbered the Lions fans.
Calvin Johnson almost helped the team. But a knee injury put him on the sidelines near the beginning of the game and he never returned.
The defense and special teams almost helped the offense out. There was better field position, there were some stops. Both were almost playing as well as the opposition.
Stafford almost was able to play. His injury kept him as the reserve QB, but he is almost healed up.
Culpepper almost played okay. At times the plays were good, or smart, or showed that he isn’t totally washed up. At other times you wonder if the sack was his fault or the fault of his teammates. Still, he almost led the team to a win.
Coaching was suspicious at times, but fantastic at others. The team as a whole was almost very competitive, almost for the entire game. No third quarter collapses, no head scratching play calls, not too many things to really complain about, not really. Almost well played.
I for one am pleased to see the growth of the “rest of the team”. With Stafford out the whole game, and with CJ out for most of it, the players who did play played well for the most part. Room for growth? Sure. That is to be expected (as I’ve said before). In fact, this loss was my prediction as well (I’m now 5 for 5). A great road game next week isn’t too likely either, but a competitive one is possible. I expect a loss next week, then after the bye week, a win against the Rams. I’d settle for being almost right though, if the Lions are able to pull off a win at Lambeau Field.
The team is almost there. After the bye week I still predict a 5-5 season. This game was part of the growth to get them to that point. As will be the next one. The fans will almost be happy with a 6-10 season if the team does show improvement, the improvement that I have been predicting.
So yes, the Lions lost and are now at 1-4, but they are improving. The are almost there, almost ready to compete at a true NFL level. Almost going to be able to do it every week, not just a few times a year. There are a few players that will need to be "upgraded", but we all knew that. There will be more mistakes made, but we all know that as well. Can I really truly be happy about this game even though they lost? Yeah, almost. As long as it means they will be better later. As long as they are improving. As long as there is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Then yes, I can be okay with them losing the game. Almost.