Tom Greene | December 9th, 2019
Lions fans were served elimination from the playoffs at the Thanksgiving Dinner table last week. Unfortunately, this week, they were served seconds. A 20-7 loss in the first game all season in which they did not have a lead brings the already-eliminated team to 3-9-1. As for Minnesota, they got a much-needed victory for their playoff hopes and improve to 9-4 on the year.
As always, let’s look at the three takeaways from this Lions loss. “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
1. The Good- At This Point, It’s an Audition
When your team is already eliminated from the playoffs, a lot of fans want their team to tank for a better draft position. In last week’s recap, I specifically outlined that the actual team will refuse to do that. Instead, they look at the remaining games as an audition for key roles for next season.
In this audition session, however, only two receivers shined. Kenny Golladay found the end zone and Danny Amendola proved to be the reliable man when he’s been on the field over his time in the NFL. Combined, they had 11 catches for 92 yards and a score. Not the most formidable numbers in the league, but enough to keep the team relevant since being eliminated.
Also, David Blough threw for over 200 yards. Two picks, but over 200 yards to keep the team formidable. Now, let’s look at the bad.
2. The Bad- Seven Points and No Lead
You read that correctly. The Lions only scored seven points and did not have the lead at any point in the game, the first of its kind this season. That alone probably makes this game the worst performance of the year. When your team gets worse as the season goes on, that’s a tell-tale sign of bad everything, sadly. Not just bad coaching, but bad play-calling, bad line play, bad play all around.
Blough threw two picks, one to seal the game. The offensive line gave up five sacks. While only half as many as the last time the Lions visited U.S. Bank Stadium, having your QB get sacked five times almost sets you back 10 plays. The sack, and the play to get back to where you were. Plus, losing the turnover game does not help as well.
There’s your good and bad. Now, the ugly.
3. The Ugly- Injuries
This may have been the worst performance of the year by the Lions, but it wasn’t all their fault. The Lions were without Da’Shawn Hand, Matthew Stafford, Austin Bryant, Jamal Agnew, Michael Jackson, Oday Aboushi, and Beau Benzschawel to start the game. They also lost Damon Harrison Sr. and Bo Scarbrough during it.
A problem that GM Bob Quinn outlined when he took the job in Detroit was that the second string and below was the problem. Well, the problem, as he sees it, is now on the field. He’s had three seasons to fix it. It’s still a problem and an ugly one at best. Perhaps he may have to be the “man in the mirror” like his corner, note the joke.
While it’s not ideal to have most of your second string on the field, the game can be won or lost because of the talent you have behind your first string. Quinn is seeing his talent play out, and it’s ugly. We hope that the draft picks he’s acquired will help that.
With Detroit moving into the top-five in the draft, fans see there may not even be a reason to take the field the last three weeks. But, the team will say otherwise. A matchup with Jameis Winston and the Bucs await.
Last week, the Bucs played spoiler themselves and beat a Colts team that was destined to win the AFC South. While doing that, the Bucs lifted themselves to 6-7, and now have a mathematically-possible chance at making the playoffs. Granted, 9-4 currently holds the six seed in the NFC, but anything is possible!
The Lions look to play spoiler against a team that did that just last week. We’ll see what happens come Sunday Afternoon.
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