The Detroit Lions sit atop the NFC North with a 3-2 record. The loss to Buffalo was inexcusable. To be up by double digits in the 4th quarter at home and lose is pretty close to a mortal sin as you can get in football.
For over 30 years, the Lions were blessed to have to of the most accurate and prolific kickers. And Sunday was proof that kickers in the NFL are a valuable commodity. To try and short-cut that position is a recipe for disaster…and Sunday’s game was proof of that.
Alex Henery might have kept his job if he had gone 1-3 that day. The Lions might have been able to swing the momentum back to their side if the game was forced into overtime.
So now we put our trust in Matt Prater whose issues have been well documented. I am all for giving people second chances and I truly hope that Prater has gotten himself together. Because if he has, the Lions have stolen one of the most accurate kickers over the past few seasons.
Henery would have been able to stick around for at least another week if had gone 2-3 which would have given the Lions a win over the Bills and a nice 4-1 record going in against the Minnesota Vikings. It would also have given the Lions the chance to take control of the NFC North.
The Packers are going to Miami and could give Green Bay a game. Think about it…an upset by the Dolphins puts the Packers at 3-3 and if the Lions beat the Vikings (which they should as the Vikes are in a shambles right now) they would be 5-1 with a 2 game lead.
With that and the Bears going to Atlanta to face a rejuvenated Falcon team, the Lions could have been sitting pretty. However, these are the Detroit Lions we’re talking about…and nothing is ever easy with them.
Lions should be OK this week and take care of business against the Vikes as they are favored by a slim margin of 1.5 points even of Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush don’t play.
What these Lions need to do is not worry about what other teams are doing. Us fans will worry for them more than enough. They need to focus on winning the game in front of them…as mundane as it sounds, they need to take it one game at a time and shoot for 1-0 every week. It’s a concept that has worked well for the Seattle Seahawks and would be a big shift for the Lions to take.
The Lions can look so good one week and then look terrible the next. What I thought might have been home/away issues, it has become apparent that isn’t the issue. And it doesn’t look to be a case of playing down or up to an opposing team’s level. Not sure really what it is but if I had to guess, it’s a lack of maturity.
I say that because giving up that double-digit lead to the Bills proves it. They got cocky and forgot they need to play the entire 60 minutes of football. You can place the blame on Henery (which is why he was released) but it was a team loss. The offense was erratic (with and without Megaton) and the defense lapsed late in the game.
These guys have to get it in their thick skulls that every single damn play is important…precious even since at any given time, one play can turn the momentum either for or against you. I am not suggesting the Lions don’t take chances…as with any NFL team, risk is part of the game. But risk can be mitigated if you can make an informed decision as to when it’s a good time to take a risk.
The Lions have blown some opportunities early this season. But they have more opportunities in front of them…and the first thing they have to do is go 1-0 against the Vikings. And then plan to go 1-0 against the New Orleans Saints the following week and so on for the rest of the season.
Win what’s in front of them, don’t look ahead and forget the past. To break that down:
- Win what’s in front of them: Nothing is more important than this week’s game. And during the game, there is no more important play than the one just called. If the Lions, collectively, can get into this mindset, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
- Don’t look ahead: What’s the point of looking ahead? It takes away from what they need to focus on…what’s in front of them, what they need to accomplish in the moment.
- Forget the past: Regret is a motivational killer. Mistakes are going to happen but Lions need to learn from them and then forget about them. Review from a learning standpoint and then move on, confident that you have corrected the issue.
We Lions fans have been patient enough. It’s time our team starts playing like a team instead of a bunch of individual players all trying to make the big play.
There is still time in this season to do something special. Big question is can the Lions pull their heads out of their rear-ends and do it?
I hope so…Detroit deserves a Super Bowl and the team owes it to the city to deliver.