Ok, maybe the Kool-Aid is tasting a little better these days…but the way the Detroit Lions are winning has got to make folks stand-up and take notice.
This streak they have been on started back on October 12th against the Vikings with a 17-3 victory. Granted, the score should have been more lopsided but a win is a win and even better against a division opponent. Plus they won without Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush. They played in Minnesota, a place where they have won only for the second time in 17 tries. And any win on the road is a good one.
But perhaps the most amazing game of this 4 game win streak was the amazing 24-23 victory over the New Orleans Saints. I don’t think it matters what record the Saints have, they are a very good defensive team and even without Jimmy Graham at full strength, they have a damn good passing attack with Drew Brees throwing to Marques Colston and Kenny Stiles.
The Saints had the Lions by the throat but Matthew Stafford and company had some different ideas on how the game was going to end. Stafford tossed two TD passes in a space of 3:38 with the game winner going to Corey Fuller.
Everyone thought that was a great game…until the Lions took on the Atlanta Falcons in London. The Falcons jumped all over the Lions putting up 21 first half points. The Lions looked lost and I am pretty sure that all Lions fans were all thinking the same thing: “Same old Lions. Have a great comeback win against a good team and then lose to pretty bad team the next week.” We’ve all seen it before, can’t sustain a win streak.
But then something amazing happened. The Lions took the 2nd half kick-off 76 yards in a 7 minute drive that ended with a Matt Prater field goal. The Lions vaunted #1 defense in the NFL woke up and started to play like it.
After the ensuing kick-off, the Lions forced a three and out, making the Falcons punt. Falcons played some good defense in this series but then on 3rd down and 10, Stafford floats a pass to Golden Tate for 15 yards and a first down. Tate had some other ideas and with a great run, went 59 yards for the touch down. At this point, it’s Falcons 21, Lions 10.
On the Falcons next possession, after Falcons made some headway into Lions territory, cornerback Cassisus Vaughn picks off Ryan and returns it 45 yards to the Atlanta 7 yard line. Falcons defense stiffens and the Lions fail to punch it in, settling for a Prater 20 yard field goal. Falcons 21, Lions 13.
Lions defense forces the Falcons to punt and the Lions put together another 7 minute plus scoring drive with Stafford hitting Theo Riddick for a 5 yard TD. Lions go for 2-point conversion and fail but close the gap to Falcons 21, Lions 19.
Forward to 1:38 left in the game, Lions start their final drive on their own 12 yard line. Stafford works the Lions down to the Falcons 25 yard line to have Prater come in to kick a 43 yard field goal only to see him miss it…but wait, a flag is thrown, penalty on the Lions for delay of game…dead ball foul and 4 seconds are put back on the clock. Prater lines up for a 48 yard field goal and kicks it through, sealing the win.
And then yesterday’s game against the streaking Miami Dolphins who came into Detroit on a 3 game win streak of their own. It did look from the onset the Lions were going to run away with the game with the defense setting the tone.
But the Dolphins are a surprising team and actually took the lead after blocking a Matt Prater kick with 4:19 left in the game and kicking a field goal to go up 13-10 with 1:22 left in the game.
But Stafford and Golden Tate, and Calvin Johnson having a field day, Stafford located Theo Riddick with 43 seconds left on the clock for a 5 yard TD.
Each of these last three games would have been ones the Lions would have lost last year…somehow finding a way to implode. But not this team.
Gone are the stupid penalties that kept shooting themselves in the foot.
Gone is the panic when playing from behind.
What I see on this team is a lot of unity and team first mentality…and that could take these guys all the way too the Super Bowl.
The Lions aren’t looking ahead but we can…and they aren’t going to have an easy time of it. At best, the Lions could go 5-2 over the next seven games. I say that since Carson Palmer is injured and out for the year for Arizona and the two losses would be against the Patriots and Packers.
They should beat the Bears twice as well as the Vikings, giving them a 5-1 division record and a 12-4 record. At worst, they go 3-4, giving them a 10-6 record and with a split with the Bears and a win over the Vikings, still gives them a nice 4-3 division and a possible wild-card, depending on what Green Bay does.
But like the Lions, we have to take these games one at a time…and this weeks focus will be on giving as much positive energy to our boys in blue to defeat the Arizona Cardinals.