Monday, October 3, 2016

Game 4 2016 - Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears


The 1-3 Detroit Lions lose to the 1-3 Chicago Bears in a 14-17 mediocre game (you Mad Maxx fans will note the reference) that was today's contest. In a game in which no one stood out except in various forms of inadequacy, there can be no winners. In fact, the 2016 season is slowly becoming yet another train wreck playing out in slow motion. It's no longer required to point out the blame, since you can pretty much spin a bottle and find something to blame regardless of direction. Yet and still, I shall attempt to describe the term "Medicocre" as it applies to the 2016 Lions.

Matthew Stafford was 23 of 36 (63.899%) for 213 yards 0 Touchdowns and 2 Interceptions (one of which wasn't his fault in the least, and it's debatable on the other). While at the same time Hoyer, the backup QB for the bears, was 28 of 36 (77.778%) for 302 yards 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Some of that was to be expected, the Lions were playing without DE Ansah and MLB Levy, to name but two. Still, remaining in the spin the bottle mode, let's see if there can be blame other then injury to this debacle.

Matthew Stafford was not terribly accurate. His mechanics including footwork left much to be desired. He was blitzed, sacked, hurried, and generally uncomfortable for much of the game. He refuses to trust his offensive line and rushes play after play. Of course, he has reason to not trust them, after all the worst player on the offense in my opinion in this game was Swanson, but that does not mean you can play "scared"... or perhaps a better word for it would be "nervous". Still, that is not an excuse for forgetting to step into your throws, to throw out an accurate pass, to give your receivers at least a chance to not only complete the catch but to attempt some yards after. Nah, I'd have to give Stafford a C (as in, mediocre).

The officiating was once again suspect. The Lions having 10 flags (accepted ) for 76 yards in penalties versus 8 for 55 yards by the Bears. In the early part of the game the officiating appeared to be fairly one sided, and it appeared to upset a number of Lions players, before things started to even out at least somewhat. The problem is the coaches seem to have a problem getting the players to actually settle in and play in a controlled manner.

I suppose this is a perfect opportunity to now list the coaching as mediocre as well. The Lions were 1st and goal at one point when the score was close but were being man-handled most of the game as far as the center of the offensive line goes when someone apparently decided that running little ole Riddick up the center of the line 3 times in a row was the best chance to score instead of a roll out, or a pass play, or a QB option, or pretty much anything other then rushing an undersized RB next to or slightly behind an undersized center with obvious issues in this game. In addition to that, someone on defense decided early in the game that undersized corner Lawson should handle the defending of none other then Alshon Jeffrey man on man for nearly the entire first quarter. These are but two examples of the mediocre coaching that was being exhibited this game.

Golden Tate had but one catch for one yard (a 2 point conversion), the only touchdown in the game was by none other then Roberts on a punt return, and there were once again way too many drops. On top of that, Stafford was inaccurate at times, receivers were running incorrect routes, the OL blocking was terrible in both pass and run, and tackling was mostly a figment of someones imagination. We won't even discuss the half time adjustments (or lack thereof) and other aspects of the game not already mentioned, because for the most part, there was nothing particularly good or particularly bad to say.

The NFL is a game of inches, of the team with the fewer mistakes often winning, of the better coached team having an advantage, and of talent proving they will succeed despite other factors. Injuries and officiating not withstanding, most of the rest of the team play is directly related to coaching in one form or another, and in today's game that, along with every other aspect of the game, was at best, mediocre.

Next week the Lions play the Eagles at home, and unless something changes, I can not possibly foresee any chance of a win. That's not to say that a win isn't possible, it's just not nearly as likely as it was a few weeks back. Back before it started to become painfully obvious that the team can not overcome a couple of injuries, that the coaching was going to continually challenge no none, and that once things started to go bad that almost everyone on the team would fold instead of standing tall. I'm not seeing the leadership needed to turn this season around at this point in time, and I'm not always talking about the players alone when I'm stating this.

It's not too late to turn things around, but it is too late to assume that doing the same thing will produce different results. Time to shake things up, in my opinion, though I know that doesn't usually happen until mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Who in the Lions organization will recognize what is needed remains to be seen. I can only hope I am wrong in the direction my compass is pointing, it's hard to win when everything points to mediocre.

No comments: