Lions Look: Kicked Out
A fitting effective conclusion to this season.
When the story of the 2018 Detroit Lions is written, one passage will be penned will be expressing disappointment in the overall performance and output by the team's better players. Quarterback Matt Stafford saw a big decline in his overall numbers with an increase in turnovers. Free safety Glover Quin has been largely invisible. Many of their stars, such as defensive end Ezekiel Ansah and wide receiver Marvin Jones, were severely limited by injury. But there is another truth: each unit underperformed.
Especially special teams, and it showed on this day, as the Lions left 4 points on the field in the form of a botched point after touchdown attempt due to a bad snap and kicker Matt Prater missing a 48 yard field goal attempt wide right to put the Lions ahead late in the fourth quarter to factor in their loss to the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field, 14-13. This loss would officially knock the Lions (5-9) out of playoff contention.
The loss ensures Detroit of their first losing season since 2015, and unless they win the last two games of the season (Vs. Minnesota & at Green Bay), this will be Detroit's worst campaign since 2012. The result will only increase the pressure on the most high profile people of the franchise. Stafford, who has a legion of critics since being drafted in 2009, will be the target of fan angst as he begins collecting on his once record breaking contract extension. Head coach Matt Patricia will be excoriated for not at least meeting his predecessor's median win total. General manager Bob Quinn in particular will be feeling heat over the offseason, as he deemed previous head coach Jim Caldwell's results (9-7 but missing the playoffs) as "unacceptable", then hired a new coach that has given Quinn his first losing season as a top ranking executive. Expect much upheaval in the spring, from coaching changes within the staff to a significant change of the roster. We shall see what occurs in the coming months as the clock starts toward Opening Day 2019.
But for 2018, the Lions close out their home schedule with the Vikings calling. Last time they met in Minneapolis, Stafford was sacked an astonishing ten times. In Detroit, the Lions hope to spoil Minnesota's playoff plans. That'd be a nice slice of vengeance if they can pull it off.