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Sunday, October 20, 2013

2013 Game 7 - Cincinnati Bengals @ Home


E.S.P.

The Detroit Lions lose this one 24-27 to the visiting Cincinnati Bengals. A week ago, if you recall, I predicted the Lions would lose the Bengals game 24-27. How's that for E.S.P.?

The division is now tied up with a 4-3 record for the Bears and Lions and a 4-2 record for the Packers putting them in first place and the Lions in 2nd due to tie breaker rules.

Matthew Stafford was 28 of 51 for 357 yards and 3 TDs with 0 INTs. Stafford failed to hit the 60% completion percentage that I always say is a requirement for a good chance to win a football game. The team also failed to create any turnovers, another factor that usually only happens to the losing team, but since both teams failed to create any, it was a wash this game (Dalton didn't fail to hit the 60% completion mark however).

With near a minute to go in the game, the Lions had the ball with the score tied 24-24 facing a very long field. I had this premonition if you will that the Lions absolutely no matter what should NOT give the ball back to the Bengals. It was paramount that the Lions drain the clock and if at the end of regulation, with less then 5 seconds left, should the Lions be in field goal range then put it through to win the game... but I felt that under no circumstances should the Bengals have the ball with any time left on the clock. As it turned out, that E.S.P. of mine was absolutely correct. Our rookie punter who was likely nervous and under pressure to belt a great punt shanked it instead, giving the Bengals great field position, 2 completions later it was the Bengals with 4 seconds on the clock who hit the game winning field goal.

Many will blame the punter for the loss, but I have a feeling that even had he hit another 60 yarder the Bengals still would have made the completions necessary to get a game winning field goal. No way to prove that obviously, but my E.S.P. was screaming at me that that would be the result. I felt the way to control the game was to have the ball for the remainder of regulation... not to kneel it, but to use run plays and high percentage passes to try to get in field goal range without getting into a 4th down situation. Worse case, they go into overtime.

If I felt it necessary to place blame for the loss, it wouldn't be the punter, but rather the quarterback and the defense. The quarterback for his lack of accuracy and the defense for it's lack of turnovers. This would be something that could be argued for eternity without ever coming to a consensus, that's the nature of football. I don;'t feel it's necessary to place blame however, I would just hope that the team works on improving accuracy and creating turnovers. All future games pretty much depend on this.

That said, my E.S.P. tells me the only way to win the upcoming Cowboys game is to outscore them (on offense). That is going to require a team effort and a whole lot of focus. It is certainly possible for the Lions to win this game, but with the continued struggles with accuracy I'm inclined to predict another Lions loss of 20-38. Please Detroit Lions, prove me wrong, destroy my E.S.P. sense once and for all. I don't want to be right.

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