Following a striking 35-14 mauling of the New York Giants, the Detroit Lions quickly reverted back to their old, self-inflicting ways — turnovers, awful decisions, and missed opportunities — against the Carolina Panthers.
Yes, it’s the same, heartbreaking Lion plays that have afflicted the hearts of the fans for years and years. Detroit slit their own wrists, failing to capitalize, allowing Carolina to topple them in the second half.
Here’s the reasons Detroit fell:
1. Turnovers: If this doesn’t cringe our stomachs, nothing will. How many times have we complained and bemoaned this recurring, nasty theme with Detroit? Far too many. The Lions were working on a wonderful drive against the Panthers’ stout defense, only to have it shattered with tailback Joique Bell’s fumble. He removed Detroit from scoring position, while giving Carolina the football back with decent field position. Bell almost had another fumble earlier in the game, luckily ruled an incomplete pass. Wide receiver Golden Tate — a very sure-handed receiver — fumbled — which was recovered. Receiver Jeremy Ross also fumbled on a kickoff, which Carolina converted into three points. Quarterback Matthew Stafford made a poor decision, lobbing the ball into a double-covered Calvin Johnson, which was tipped and intercepted. Stafford absolutely should have kept patient, not attempting a kill shot in one play.
2. Missed Opportunities: Yet again, another disgusting, repetitive act we’ve witnessed far too many times at a Detroit Lion show. The Lions, as they always do, beat themselves. Johnson dropped a touchdown pass, kicker Nate Freese missed two field goals — his third miss of the season –, receivers dropped passes, and Stafford missed simple throws. Detroit continues to make the job simplistic against opposing teams; they fail to execute, especially when it matters most. And we hear there same old lines afterwards.
3. Defensive Rush: The defensive line didn’t play terribly, but when it mattered most, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton had an abundant amount of time to throw the ball, scorching Detroit’s putrid secondary. Newton had a 64.7 completion percentage, and was able to move that ball at will at points. This defensive line needs to emerge at crucial instances; Detroit’s success relies heavily on their play.
A loss is a loss, but losing in an abhorrent way of beating themselves is brutally painful for the Lions. They’re too talented of a team to self-destruct. It’s the same redundant acts that cripple this talented team.
However, this is a time of learning and testing; all championship teams go through adversity; adversity and times of trials and tribulations are what birth the championship caliber teams. If Detroit isn’t this despicable showing we’ve witnessed today, they’ll bounce back next week against the Green Bay Packers, refusing to implode. If they’re fraudulent, they’ll surrender and fail. Not every revolting loss is a judgment on a team; but how they respond to it is. Many teams go through challenging times, but respond to them with strength, leadership, and determination; Detroit must do the same.
The season is still early, having much football left to be played. The Lions aren’t out of it; they must play, practice, and have the determination to pull through these plaguing instances to win.