Sunday, September 8, 2013

2013 Game 1 - Minnesota Vikings @ Home

Overcoming Adversity

The Detroit Lions won their first game of the regular season at home against the Minnesota Vikings with a score of 34-24 which was slightly better then my prediction. Matthew Stafford was 28 of 43 with 2 TDs and 1 INT. Christian Ponder managed 18 of 28 for 236 yards 1 TD and 3 INTs.

I could write an entire book on all the plays that went wrong, touchdowns that were called back, plays that didn't count, and various other happenings that most teams don't have to deal with in a season, let alone one game. I could also write a pretty lengthy blog on the differences between this team this year compared to previous years. There will be much said about Adrian Peterson running for 78 yards and a touchdown the first time he touched the ball and a combined 15 yards on his next 17 carries. There will be complaints about various players (on both teams) and praise for others. Fantasy league officiandos will be scrambling to make sense of the stats... but if you didn't watch the game you can not completely appreciate just how the Lions overcame adversity.

Now it's totally true that much of what went wrong was entirely due to the Lions themselves (compared to being caused by the Vikings) but in the past any one of the potential turning points in the game would've caused the Lions to go into a tailspin and lose the game. Instead, I saw a team actually do what coaches have harped on about for years, the Lions overcame adversity! Not just once, not twice, but multiple times. And when I say "multiple" I do the word an injustice.

Yes, the improved special teams is going to help the Lions win games this year. Yes, the improved defense will too. For that matter, the improved run game will do amazing things for the offense (as long as Bush and Bell remain healthy). But what I took from the game as being the most beneficial to future success was the fact the team just kept on fighting (and scoring) no matter what went wrong.

Despite mental errors, officiating errors, individual breakdowns, scores being removed from the score board, players losing the results of the plays they just played, the team, as a whole, kept right on fighting for the win. If this becomes "normal" for the team, big things are on the horizon. Overcoming adversity is something we've all heard about for many many years, but this just might be the first time I can fully understand what is meant by it and appreciate just how important it actually is to a team. Of course, if I chose to be cynical, I could have just said the Lions got lucky and if they keep screwing up they will lose a lot this year. I don't think this was just luck. What I saw was effort.

I (we) will find out more next week, when the Lions travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals. My prediction, the Lions overcome the adversity of playing an away game in the September heat of Arizona with a score of 30-20.

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