Dec. 03, 2019
Lions Look: Raw And Cooked
The hits just keep coming.
As starting quarterback Matt Stafford is convalescing from broken bones in his back, backup signal caller Jeff Driskel came up on the injury report with a hamstring problem. So in his stead was rookie David Blough, a preseason trade pickup from Cleveland. And this young man would face the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving Day; the Lions perennial national game with that ferocious defense coming to town. While the Lions did lose 24-20, there was one positive takeaway and one negative one.
The upshot is given the stage and the reputation of the competition, Blough had a fine game. Not a stellar outing (22 of 38 for 280 yards, 2 TD's & INT for an 87.6 passer rating), but for a developmental talent thrown to the wolves, not an abomination, either. He showed poise in the pocket, patience when things broke down, and confidence in his arm, even if some of those throws came out hot. And the interception, for the record, was a last gasp heave toward WR Kenny Golladay on fourth and a mile where Bears defensive back Eddie Jackson made an easy snag to seal Detroit's fate. On to the negative, and you can guess who is being put on blast. The defense, who have practically shown an allergy to holding a lead, caved once again when the offense handed them a lead to protect. The factoid that Detroit has held a lead in every game they've played in 2019 and yet possess a 3-8-1 overall record is the most glaring indictment of head coach Matt Patricia and defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, where the former is squarely on the hot seat and latter may be sacrificed at the end of the year to sate the bloodlust of the Lions fan base.
While the win for Chicago puts them at 6-6 and keeps their postseason hopes alive, the loss officially eliminated the Lions from playoff contention. Detroit becomes the first NFC team to be shut out of the postseason and the second behind the hapless Cincinnati Bengals. To say that this has been a disappointing season in the Motor City would be a breathtaking understatement. Everything looked to be in place for the Lions to not only return to the playoffs after a two year hiatus, but challenge to win their first division title in 27 years. Instead, the organization will perform a post-season autopsy and the fans will seethe and reflect on another lost campaign.
All that's left is to play out the string, which means the Lions now could play spoiler. Next up will be a road trip to Minnesota, where the Vikings look to keep the pressure on the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North title and the home playoff game that goes with it. At the risk of sounding craven, hampering the Vikes' push to the playoffs would be a notable accomplishment in a season devoid of them.