Sunday, December 28, 2014
2014 Game 16 - Lions @ Green Bay Packers
The 11-5 Detroit Lions lose to the 12-4 Green Bay Packers 20-30 in Lambeau Field, again, for the 23rd year in a row allowing the Packers to clinch the NFC North, get a bye week in the playoffs, and get home field in the playoffs as the number 2 seed. Had the Lions won they would have had all of those things for themselves, the record, the bye week, the banner, the home field, all of it. Instead though, the Lions found multiple ways to blow the game.
That doesn't mean the Lions are out of the playoffs though, now they get to play next week in the wildcard game on Sunday at 4:40pm et, in Dallas. Their opponents will include the former Lions head coach Rod Marinelli as the defensive coordinator of the Cowboys, and Scott Linehan, the former offensive coordinator for the Lions under Jim Schwartz, who has the same position in Dallas. If the current Lions players feel about these former coaches as many fans do they would do everything they can to not just win the game but to tromp on Dallas hard. Not tromp like Suh did to Rodger's leg (whether intentionally or not is yet to be judged) but figuratively, as in on the score board. Hopefully Suh will be available to play in that game. In fact, hopefully, everyone currently on the roster will be available for the game, such as the oft injured right guard Warford, the currently suspended center Raiola, and various others who have bumps and bruises here or there, not the least of which is Nick Fairley.
Where was I? Oh yeah, multiple ways to blow the game... let's start with allowing the Packers to return a punt for a touchdown, or kicking the ball off out of bounds to give them the ball on the 40, or not trying for a field goal when just in range (actually I was okay with that one). Basically special teams made mistakes and that helped the Packers win the game. But they were not alone. Bell never cradled a hand off and fumbled the ball away, Stafford tried several times to complete passes not with his feet pointing in the wrong direction but off the ground entirely (and missing the target every time horribly). The offensive line was a patchwork once again and played like it, only worse. Then the NFL's number 2 defense decided to take the day off allowing 152 yards rushing and 232 yards passing along with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions and only 1 sack. Matthew Stafford was 20 of 41 (48.78%) for 217 yards 3 TDs and 0 INTs.
I would be remiss if I didn't complain at least a little about the officiating in the Packers game. As I recall, the Packers and Lions Offensive Lines never once held anyone, the whole game. Unbelievable isn't it? Oh, and even though the Lions made a 2 point conversion it was taken back after review in which the angle I saw on tv appeared to be correctly called on the field and definitely not worth reversing... especially since earlier they gave a TD to a running Rodgers who was down before the goal line and was awarded the TD anyway. But, it wasn't the officiating that cost the Lions the game, wasn't even the Packers, it was the Lions. They and they alone get to be responsible for the outcome of the game.
Now that the Lions regular season is over and their spot in the playoffs secured (as the 6th seed) we fans got to find out their 2015 opponents (not the schedule, that comes out in April). The Lions will be playing the NFC and AFC West teams, along with their divisional foes, and the picture looks like this: ( info provided by http://www.prideofdetroit.com/2014/12/28/7437845/detroit-lions-2015-schedule-opponents )
Home opponents: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Away opponents: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs (in London), San Diego Chargers, and the New Orleans Saints.
Does reading that list of opponents for next year make you clinch anything? Anyway, the Lions made it to 11-5 and the playoffs. 11 wins is something they have done so few times in their history that you can count the number on one hand. They are the final wild card team and play in Dallas next week against a couple of their former coaches. All good things... except that Matthew Stafford has never ever won an away game against a team with a winning record. If that doesn't make you clinch something, then I don't know what will.
Posted by NetRat's Lions Blog at 10:36 PM