Last week was not so great for the Lions faithful. I, for one, had talked myself into a victory at Lambeau (the first in 20+ years no less) heading into the game. Detroit was coming in with a high powered offense in an early season game before the cold could shut down their passing attack and the Packers were stumbling out of the gates. They had already ended 1 ridiculous streak beating the Redskins on the road for the first time since 1935. And then we found out Calvin Johnson couldn’t play and everything got turned on its head, as Mr. Edwards has been so kind to demonstrate for us.
I really do think this Detroit team is good. The secondary continues to be suspect but as long as Louis Delmas is healthy, he and Chris Houston usually manage to patch together only moderately disastrous pass coverage. The D Line remains a strength and even improved surprisingly enough with the addition of Ziggy Ansah. And the Linebacking corps has looked especially good this year with the anchor of Stephen Tulloch and the pick-6 machine that is DeAndre Levy.
(Detroit’s pass defense has made significant improvements since their showing in 2009-2012, depicted here. [Note: artistic liberties may have been taken])
And the offense has been one of the most entertaining, efficient spectacles ever to take the field in Detroit. However, that statement is significantly more suspect than I would like. First off, I personally live with an ever present fear that Matt Stafford will return to his early career, paper mache status at any moment and go down with a season ending knee injury. But now, in addition to this we have learned that the offense does not only fall apart with the loss of our quarterback (as most offenses do) but also with the loss of our shiny new running back. Reggie Bush’s absence from the Arizona game turned Detroit’s offense from Greatest Show on Turf to Oh Lord Carson Palmer is about to Beat Us I Would Rather Watch One of those Depressing Sarah McLaughlan Abused Animals Commercials Than This.
But I digress. Back to last Sunday’s Packers game. The one where Detroit was about to make a statement and take commanding control of the division with back to back wins vs. Chicago and Green Bay. Didn’t happen. Calvin Johnson did not play, and, as has been the case for his entire career, no Calvin Johnson means nearly no chance of victory in any game ever. The Defense hung with Green Bay for pretty much the entire game save for one beastly play from Randall Cobb (#BBN) and a suspect 4th quarter. But the offense couldn’t do anything. I guess I like Ryan Broyles in spite of the fact that we drafted him in the 2nd round already injured (*cough* Darius Slay… *cough* why are we making this a habit?? *cough*) and Pat Edwards is a great story working his way up from the practice team. And honestly I think its hilarious in the best way possible and really like the fact that Kris Durham is now a key component to the Detroit offense simply because he roomed with Stafford at Georgia. However, with Nate Burleson possibly out for the year due to pizza related injuries Detroit’s receiver corps is looking slightly sub par.
“Hey guys… brb… I gotta go take care of something”
“My bad Nate we still cool? Nate?”
This Detroit team (if healthy) will still make the playoffs. And can probably pull some serious upsets if the offense (pending health) is clicking. But I almost feel worse about this team than I did a couple years ago when we were only worried about Stafford’s health. I suddenly love watching the Lions. Its not just something I do on Sundays because I hate myself. I look forward to it all week because this offense is just so much fun to watch. And its great to watch DeAndre Levy pickoff tipped balls and to see that D Line abuse opposing quarterbacks the way I abuse a dozen Krispee Kreme donuts on any given Wednesday afternoon. But suddenly I have to watch every game fearing that rogue pizza slices will spell the downfall of one of our myriad must have players. Its supposed to be fun finally having something to root for but I live in constant fear that its all going to break down on me the same way those donuts usually do around 5:30PM that same Wednesday.
So if Calvin is a scratch against Cleveland, or one of Reggie or Matt goes down, and we lose to the only NFL franchise that may be more depressing than the Detroit Lions… well… I can hear it now… “In the aaaaaarms oooooof an Aaaangel…” SING IT SARAH!!!! REPLACE THE PAIN WITH OTHER PAIN!!!!