I, like many Lions fans, was sure the game was won Thursday night. We outplayed them for 60 minutes and we had them. But a small yellow flag gave the Packers another chance…and they took advantage of it.
I could be stoic and say it’s all part of the game. But I can’t. I am pissed that the game was basically decided on a referee’s decision. Packer fans can say what they want but that was no face mask.
But shame on the Lions as well. Granted, the Packers got the opportunity but where the hell was our defense? Did no once consider the Packers would attempt a Hail Mary? With no time left and only one shot, how the hell can you not expect it?
The Lions are pretty much out of the playoffs for this year. I don’t know how anyone could have expected a team starting out 1-7 would have qualified but the Lions played well enough over the 3 games prior to this loss to give us a glimmer of hope.
And they played well enough Thursday night to make people think that it just might happen. The Lions offense clicked well in the first half and the defense was lights out for the whole game.
We all know what happened. The call the refs blew yet again and yet again it went against the Lions.
Look, I am all for player safety. But I also think that common sense needs to be instituted. Devin Taylor’s thumb brushed Aaron Rodgers’ facemask…it wasn’t blatant and there was no harm done.
However, because Taylor brought Rodgers down by his shoulder pad, it looked like it was a facemask. This play should have been reviewable…and if it had been, I am almost sure that New York would have reversed the call since the contact with the face mask was incidental.
All right, I’ve vented my frustrations and have accepted the condolences of my friends, none of whom can understand why I continue to root for this team. I can only compare it to when people ask me what it’s like to ride a Harley Davidson. If I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand. About the only thing the Lions can expect is yet another apology for blowing yet another call.
Now is the time to start looking forward. The Lions, if they get the right GM in, are in a great position to improve themselves in specific areas, which I believe are the offensive and defensive lines…and in that order.
We have the quarterback in Matthew Stafford that I believe is finally showing the type of QB we all have been waiting for. Of course for years I have been saying the Lions needed to get him an offensive line to give him time to display those talents. And while the line has been better the last 4 games, depth is needed to make it even more successful.
It is possible the Lions will have as many as 11 picks in the 2016 draft. Let’s call it a departing gift from Martin Mayhew. While losing Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairly, Corey Hilliard, Kellen Davis and Jed Collins to free agency without signing any unrestricted free agents, the Lions will be rewarded with at least 3 compensatory picks in addition to the eight draft picks the Lions currently have.
That gives them a ton of options and I think for the Lions to move to the next level, they are going to need depth on the offensive and defensive lines. And they need to seek players that will compete with the current starters and push them to excellence.
And this next observation is critical: Those players that cannot accept competing for the jobs each week need to be shown the door.
It started with new leadership at the top when Martha Ford removed Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand. It continued when Jim Bob Cooter replaced Joe Lombardi as offensive coordinator.
And head coach Jim Caldwell, despite whatever success he may have for the rest of this year, has to know he is on the hot seat. I’m willing to give him one more year since changes he has made have resulted in some success. But now, after this loss, he has to prove his coaching chops and continue success by winning as many games as he can the rest of this year.
Draft position isn’t going to matter for 2016. There are so many players out there that can be had in the later rounds and rookie free agency, the Lions can upgrade in many areas without breaking the bank.
So the mantra for the rest of this year is the Lions need to stay hungry for the rest of this year…and need to stay hungry from this day forward.