Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 Game 15 - New York Giants @ Home (no longer in playoff contention)

It's over.

The Detroit Lions lost in overtime to the New York Giants 20-23 ending any chance the Lions had at making the playoffs this year. Just a month and a half ago they were sitting at 6-3 with a 75% chance of going into the post season in what appeared to be an easy walk into the playoffs... the words Super Bowl were even mentioned here and there from various people. Those murmurs were quieted, then drowned out, then forgotten completely over the past few weeks. The 7-8 Lions have lost 5 games out of the past 6, 3 of them home games. They do have a few players playing hurt and a couple who missed a game here or there, but for the most part, the Lions are the healthy team in the north, and still they couldn't win their way into the playoffs. There is still one more away game in Minnesota to go, but this season is over.

The offense was playing so bad that coach Jim Schwartz let the clock run out at the end of regulations despite there being 23 seconds on the clock and having 2 timeouts. Plenty of time for up to 4 plays (or more) and to get into field goal range to win the game, instead the Lions ran out the clock to get into overtime. While the crowd reacted (properly I might add) with a chorus of boos, Schwartz appeared to yell back angrily at the fans. An perfect image of a head coach at the end of his ability.

Matt Stafford was a putrid 25 of 42 for 222 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He continually throws off his back foot with his front foot pointing in any which direction and maintains there is nothing wrong with his mechanics. I'm sorry, but when you continually miss receivers who are in excess of 6' 4" tall, sometimes missing them by many feet, when you are sailing your throws, and you are doing it with fair regularity, it's because your mechanics suck.

When your coach fails to take corrective action, or perhaps even fails to note such issues, then it's time for change. The Lions can not trade Matthew Stafford nor can they cut him until sometime after 2015 (probably 2017 at the earliest) due to his extended contract (and corresponding cap hit)... therefor it is mandatory that help be brought in. Coaching help. In addition to the QB play, the offense fails to execute many of the basics on a regular basis... once again pointing to the need for a coaching change. It's possible the Lions won't want to lose out on the millions of dollars (reportedly to exceed $12 million) to fire Schwartz, but if he is kept on then a new offensive coordinator is the very minimum that must occur... but to be honest, after watching this game, I am pretty sure it's over for Schwartz as well.

Assuming the Lions do replace the head coach, every person associated with the team will be evaluated by the new coaching staff as it is built and a great deal of change should be forthcoming. Nothing in the past 50+ years of the franchise suggests the results from this change will be positive, correct, or in any way helpful... but to not make the attempt is just not really an option. I will have to go more into that later, for now, there is still a lame duck game remaining against the Vikings in Minnesota next week. The results of which don't matter, for this season is over, but since the game will be played regardless, I shall predict the Lions lose by 3 scores. I believe a fairly large number of starters will not be playing in the game (due to injury). There is no reason for the guys nursing bad knees to play, the season is over, so be prepared to watch the backups play, and for many, it will be their last game as a Detroit Lion (this goes for players and coaches alike).

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