Sunday, December 4, 2011

Game 12: Lions at New Orlean Saints

Doesn't matter.

I predicted the Lions would lose this game 24-31, I was pretty close, they lost it 17-31. It really doesn't matter that they lost, since I figured the Lions would be 7-5 at this point anyway (which they are) and in the hunt for the wildcard spot (which they are).

There were some things in this game that do matter though, not the least of which is that Stafford is healing up, he played without a glove for the first time in a month and managed 31 of 44 for 408 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. The INT was actually a ball stripped from the hands of the WR who had caught the pass, but that doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter that the Lions were flagged 11 times for 107 yards, what does matter is that nearly half of those were so questionable as to be on the verge of flagrant. It once again affected the mental state of the players who took their frustrations out on opposing players (and in one case the ref) three times which caused 3 of the 11 flags. Somehow the players (and their coaches) need to learn how to twist those emotions into playing harder, not making stupid penalties. If any player should've lost his cool it was Nate Burleson, but he managed to just keep working away eventually leading the team in passing yardage (93 yards total after penalties).

It doesn't matter that Hanson missed a couple of field goals. He goes through this whenever a new holder is on the field, and this makes the 4th holder in less then 4 months.

It doesn't matter that Suh wasn't in the game or that once again a few of the play calls were questionable gambles. The Lions are not yet as polished a team as the Saints. That could change though, fast. Last year the Packers weren't all that polished then right about this time of the year they went on a winning streak that they still haven't broke. It's not too late to turn this around, in fact, this would be the ideal time to do just that.

Time to start playing with a little more discipline, with a little more controlled tenacity, and with some of that "us against the world" teamwork.

All the other teams in the NFC wildcard playoff hunt also lost this weekend, so while it would've been nice to have put a game up on all of them, the Lions at least didn't lose any ground. In the end, this loss didn't matter, but, should they learn from it and improve as a team, it could matter quite a bit... for the good.


Anonymous said...

Stafford still looks lackadaisical to me--I was encouraged by the early and sustained use of no-huddle early in the year, disappointed to see how little hustle and urgency the offense plays with.

Another would/shoulda/coulda game and with all due respect to your prediction NetRat, this game (and ALL games) do matter. You are, of course, correct that the team is--and has been--playing undisciplined ball; that needs to change ASAP. Sure, a good run at the end would help a lot but this team should be in a much better position than where they are. No excuse for not pulling Matt and inserting Hill--remember, it was our back-ups that ended last season on a high note.

I'm glad coach is firey and passionate but he needs to be a leader and guide these men intelligently, not just emotionally. He should have made the call with Stafford but he also should have set the tone much, much sooner.

NetRat's Lions Blog said...

What you say is true, but all will be forgiven (if not forgotten) if the Lions make the playoffs.

The finger bothered Stafford more then he'll admit, and I agree the coaches should've sat him... but that was the past... looking forward from today, they need to learn from the game everything they can, which happens to be most of what they do wrong all wrapped up in one game, and get back to playing hard but decent ball.

They can make the playoffs, they are in control of the situation, and they have a few upcoming games they can win if they do indeed fix the issues plaguing them.

The coaches need to learn from this past game, the players need to learn, and we fans need to be patient enough to see if they implement what's needed.