Thursday, November 23, 2017
2017, Week 12, Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings @ Home on Thanksgiving Day
Now we know.
The 6-5 Detroit Lions lose to the 9-2 Minnesota Vikings 23 to 30 on a otherwise fine Thanksgiving Day afternoon game. The Lions defense has allowed nearly double the rushing yards per contest in the 6 games since Ngata went on IR as they did in the 5 games in which he played. The Lions defense had similar issues the year after the departure of Ndamakung Suh. So now we know that the defensive coordinator is simply unable to field a decent defense unless he has a healthy pro-bowl caliber defensive tackle on the team.
Matthew Stafford was 20 of 35 (57.14%) for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns along with an interception and he lost a fumble as well on a botched hand off early in the game. Case Keenum was allowed to go 21 of 30 (70%) for 282 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. That along with the 136 yards rushing by the Vikings gave them nearly a 10 minute advantage in time of possession. The Lions managed 53 yards rushing. That's somewhere in the area of 3 years now without a 100 yard rushing running back. The OL that was supposed to start for the Lions played for a whole game and a half this year before Swanson was injured in this game. But the revamped OL still does not seem to be able to run or pass block as they should. Still, even with these issues, a Stafford led team has once again been (for the most part) unable to beat a team with a winning record. Of course the mere fact they beat a team alters their win/loss record and makes those at or near .500 fall into the losing record category so I don't hold to this fact very hard. The Lions have 5 games remaining and at this point in time none of the upcoming opponents currently have a winning record. Still, that may not matter, as somehow the Vikings would need to lose 3 games in the next 5 while the Lions win all 5 in order to take the division. The playoff picture is looking very bleak tonight... in case you were wondering... as the Lions do not hold the tie breakers with many of the potential wild card candidates. Regardless of opponents records though, the Lions quite simply need to fix the run game, need to fix the defense (or get a healthy pro-bowl DT for Austin), and need to have some way to beat good defenses... whether that means to make sure Stafford gets plenty of sleep before a game or getting him a lucky rabbits foot or even a better offensive coordinator. I don't know the exact formula to fix things, but now we know that the 2017 team is going to be extremely lucky just to have a post season this year.
Speaking of coaches, who's decision was it go for it on 4th and 8 with nearly 3 minutes to go when you have a time out and the 2 minute warning in your pocket? Considering if they fail to convert the ball it would already be in the Vikings field goal range (as limited as that is) wouldn't it have been better to punt and try to get a 3 and out and after getting the ball back, having it be a first down? The answer is, yes it would. This makes more then once when what I call "stupid coaching tricks" has reared it's ugly head. Kind of up there with nearly 90% of 1st downs being a run play, or failing to get the stop on 3rd and long... over and over and over again.
Anyway, I had high hopes for this team this year and would have still had they beat the Vikings today. That did not happen and the hopes are all but gone. As for the near future, the Ravens have the Monday night game this weekend and then play the Lions 6 days later, while the Lions now have 10 days to get ready for the Ravens. The Ravens are 5-5 at this point in time, so not currently a winning team... that could change Monday night and be padded if the Lions lose to them next Sunday. Longer term, the Lions can't afford to lose even one more game, because as we now know, they could win all 5 remaining games and still not make the playoffs, depending on how the other potential wildcard teams do. Even longer term, the Lions need to seriously evaluate their coordinators and other coaches on the staff, and the roster turnover is quite obviously not yet anywhere near finished, assuming Quinn gets to keep working on the roster.
The Quinn honeymoon is over, and fans once they realize that this season is yet another lost cause will begin to crump about every player and some of the coaches and even some in the front office. Mrs Ford will be another year older and her patience may be either longer or shorter then the fans, that we do not know, not for sure. The only immediate cure for what ails them is to win, every single game, for the rest of however long the year is going to be. I shan't hold my breath.
Posted by NetRat's Lions Blog at 11:55 PM