Feb. 26, 2019
Lions Look: Going Out With A Bang
The Detroit Lions 2018 season is over. They did not play like it in Week 17.
In what can only be called a stunning development, the Lions played their final game of the season at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers. What would occur would be a 31-0 victory that would have significance. The Lions' win would be their fourth straight against the Pack, the first such streak for Detroit since 1982-83. The 31 point shutout is the worst home defeat for Titletown and largest Lions road result since 1970. The Lions' kicker would have more touchdown passes today than either the Packers' Aaron Rodgers or DeShone Kizer. Matt Prater would throw a 8 yard touchdown pass to Levine Toilolo on a fake field goal, which would give the Lions a 13-0 lead (14-0 after Prater's point after).
Many cynical Lions fans would bemoan such a result, believing that a loss would serve the team better in the long term, as it would improve the Lions draft position in April. This is preposterous. Selecting high in the draft is no guarantee that the league's next great player is just there for the taking. Players like... Tom Brady? No, he was a sixth round pick. A Hall of Famer, like Kurt Warner? No, he was undrafted. The point here is that the greats of the game aren't found in plain sight. It's based on the individual athlete, surrounded by a sound organization that can help them reach their potential. That is something that the Lions can control. If they make themselves a steady ballclub, they stand a better chance to groom that special player when the time comes. And that is what general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia are trying to accomplish going forward. Granted, at this point, there is a level of skepticism, even with your humble scribe. Only the next couple of offseasons will dictate if the direction they choose will be the right one.
The Lions conclude the 2018 season with a 6-10 record. Both the record and divisional finish (last in the NFC North) are the worst results for the team since 2012. Since Quinn, Patricia, or anyone else in the Lions organization ever referred to 2018 as a rebuilding year, the pressure will be on to greatly improve upon this year's work. The good news is the defense has grown by leaps and bounds. Ever since the Damon (Snacks) Harrison trade, Detroit's D has steadily improved their yardage and points surrendered. The bad news? The offense regressed severely, with QB Matt Stafford turning in his worst statistical season in a full 16 game campaign in his career. What did not help matters was the loss of many of his weapons. WR Golden Tate was traded to the Eagles. Injuries to electrifying rookie RB Kerryon Johnson and WR Marvin Jones would derail the unit, rendering it to a shell of its former self. With needs at pass rusher, wide receiver, tight end, & offensive line, Quinn has his work cut out for him come late February to April.