Sunday, December 24, 2017

2017, Week 16, Detroit Lions @ Cincinnati Bengals

It's Official.

The 8-7 Detroit Lions lose to the 6-9 Cincinnati Bengals with a score of 17-26. With the loss the Lions can no longer mathematically make it into the 2017 playoffs. Though the Lions play the Green Bay Packers next week to end the season it's officially the time to begin off season talk. Before we do that let's get to the official numbers for this game.

Matthew Stafford was 19 of 35 (54.29%) for 203 yards a touchdown and an interception. A good part of the incompletions were desparation throws at the end of the game in an attempt to make something happen in the limited time left in the game. Another chunk can be attributed to drops. That's not saying Stafford played well, he's not blameless. Meanwhile Andy Dalton was 27 of 41 (65.85%) for 238 yards also with a touchdown and an interception. The Lions had 87 yards rushing if you combine four different runners, while the Bengals had 142 yards rushing. The Lions had 9 penalties to the Bengals 5. The Lions also lost the time of possession battle, if there was a battle for it that is.

The numbers show once again that the Lions are incapable of stopping the run (even when the starting RB leaves the game early) without a pro-bowl and fully healthy DT in the mix. They also failed to pressure Dalton enough to win the game, as Dalton has proved early in this game and in most games on film that he slightly panics when he's about to get hit. Of course, it's hard to create pressure when your DC refuses to blitz, even when your opponent is starting a new tackle on their OL. The Bengals had no issue blitzing the Lions who were playing without their starting center, starting right guard, and starting right tackle. I would not hesitate to trade the Lions DC for the Bengals DC even up... I'd even spot them the Lions OL coach to sweeten the deal.

The Lions had chances early in the game to put pressure on the Bengals (and many other teams this year) by taking a few calculated chances early in games to pile on the points but as is constantly the case, they don't. The conservative play calling is well beyond stupid, into the area of impossibly idiotic. But I digress. Actually, no, I'm not digressing. Now that the Lions wasted yet another season by not making the playoffs and since we're already into the time we can start talking about the off season then the very first thing that will be talked about the most is if the coaching staff should remain. I think Jim Bob Cooter is a great QB coach. I'm far from impressed with him at OC. I'm far from impressed with Austin at DC. I'm far from impressed with the OL coach. I'm okay with the TE coach and the DB coach. That's about it. The rest haven't shown me anything to make me even comment on them one way or the other. With this much lack of enthusiasm for a coaching staff it makes think there will be changes coming. What exactly those will be I'm not yet certain. I do know that the team in the division who plays its starting QB for the entire year when none of the other teams in the division are able to, you would think said team would practically walk into the playoffs ... instead of failing to even make it into a wildcard slot.

Next week the Lions finish the season at home against a Rodgers-less Packers team who also has failed to make the playoffs. The outcome of the game only affects the draft slot both teams will be in. It's also possibly the last chance for some players to prove they are worthy of remaining on the team just like the coaching staff. Though I'm not sure many fans will be rooting for a win, as a loss improves their draft position and improves the chances the coaching staff getting replaced. I know there will be some fans who won't want to start over with all new coaching philosophies and all new playbooks and all new problems with player fitting systems and so on, and I'm actually one of them... but it's also kind of proven that this coaching staff is not able to get it done so do you fix part of it or start over from scratch? We won't know until it's official, and that's at least a week away yet.

So Merry Christmas Lions fans. Sorry there won't be any presents this year. Older fans are maybe more used to this then other fans, but it still sucks.

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