Now, I’ve been meaning to write this for a while to get over last season, but finally here goes….Let’s review the disappointing 2013 7 and 9 season. What’s that you cry? That was in the past? Well, yes I know April is a strange time to write about the previous season, but I tweeted out some #lionstherapy tweets about a month ago that were well received so I feel the following may well be useful. Heck, even if it’s just cathartic for me I’ll write it…
1st Quarter – 3 and 1
The Lions faced a determined Adrian-Peterson-led Minnesota Vikings side in Week One but thankfully saw off the challenge 34-24. Detroit then looked to go 2-0 but Rashard Mendenhall saw to that by scoring with 1:59 to play to ensure a home victory for the Cardinals. Lions then recorded consecutive wins to round out the 1st quarter 3-1, beating the Redskins and Bears (and who didn’t love that Bears game – we pounded them).
2nd Quarter – 2 and 2
Detroit wanted to end their Lambeau Field duck in Week Five but missing Calvin Johnson to injury for the week put paid to that. A convincing win over the Browns followed and a heart-breaking loss to the Bengals preceded the Lions best moment of the season, a 31-30 thriller of a victory over the Cowboys. It was a last-second QB sneak by Matthew Stafford that decided it, a sure favourite for any highlights video needed for Number 9. The Lions went into the bye week at 5-3.
3rd Quarter – 2 and 2
Completing the clean sweep over the Bears was what effectively completed the first half of the season. The Lions then went 1-6 in November and December which ultimately led to the firing of Jim Schwartz. It began with an away loss to the then 3-6 Steelers and a home loss to the Buccaneers (where we had 5 turnovers). It seemed as though we would still be celebrating come playoff time when the Lions delivered a home-pasting to the Aaron-Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Thursday to go 7-5, but it was just more teasing.
4th Quarter – 0 and 4
At 7-5, beating Philadelphia 14-0 deep in the 3rd quarter in the snow, things looked good. I was ready to start dreaming. But then the wheels fell off the wagon. The defense conceded 28 points in rushing touchdowns in the 4th quarter to begin the end. A loss to the Ravens by two points, then to the Giants by three points meant the Lions went from 6-3 to failure. A meaningless game saw the Vikings beat the Lions in week 17 in the last ever game at the Metrodome.
This was the season of the lost opportunity. Both Green Bay and Chicago had their starting quarterbacks injured for a significant spell of time, adding more misery and salt in the wounds of long-time suffering Lions’ fans.
But of what to the future? On the flip side, there were many positives to take. There was Joique Bell. There were the many good performances that led to 6-3. There’s the fact that 3 of those 4 December losses were by three points or less. There was Joseph Fauria. There was, prior to all of those interceptions, Matthew Stafford.
If the team can find a way to finish games, they can come on top of those close games. If a change in coaching staff can enforce discipline, they can win the turnover differential, avoid costly penalties, ensure locker room unity. If Golden Tate can help spread the field, the offense could be unstoppable. If the Lions could come good in the draft, we could become solid.
Going into last season, I always felt that the Lions were short of that statement win. What would it do to the confidence of Stafford if we beat the Packers at Lambeau, or beat a top contender from another division? The Lions need to get to a place where they can travel to teams with winning records, expecting not an easy win but still be able to compete. The Lions need to get to a place where same old Lions is a thing of the past.
Here’s to the future.