It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye…

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye…

Stirred, Not Shaken blogger Kevin Remenap has poured his heart out to fellow Detroit Lions fans about his love and frustration with his favorite football team. This is his last blog piece.

It’s always difficult to say goodbye. Whether it’s your grandma leaving after Thanksgiving, or closing the door on an experience that you have enjoyed very much. Unfortunately for me, two of the later experiences are happening at the same time! It could be an interesting week.

Obviously, and the reason you are reading, is about my Detroit Lions. The beat-down Seattle delivered to us Saturday was a heart-wrenching experience. It bordered on downright embarrassing, honestly. The Seahawks running game exposed our defense in ways that probably made the eight teams we beat (Minnesota twice!) feel pretty silly. Our defensive line was getting pushed around all night by Seattle’s big bullies up front, and thy weren’t even considered a good offensive line. They dominated us. What does that say about the Lions defensive front? They were downright bad. And, if you weren’t watching you saved yourself a very aggravating experience.

Even worse, though, was the performance of the linebacking corps. They were so bad against the run that maybe “corpse” is a better descriptor. The group couldn’t fill gaps or plug holes, but did manage to run into double teams, hit our own defensive linemen a few times and take terrible angles at Thomas Rawls all night. Rawls set a franchise record for playoff game rushing yards for the Seahawks last night. A franchise record. And unlike the Lions, those Seahawks have had some playoff success of late, so breaking that record actually meant something.

[graphiq id=”g9KpSWAd5ad” title=”Lions at Seahawks on January 07, 2017 8:15pm – Game Recap” width=”600″ height=”751″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/g9KpSWAd5ad” link=”http://nfl-games.pointafter.com/l/60340/Detroit-Lions-at-Seattle-Seahawks-on-January-7th-2017″ link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

And here’s what is worse than the linebacking play: the performance of the offense. The line protected Stafford fairly well most of the night, only really giving up consistent pressure when the Lions were in hurry-up, have-to-pass mode because they were down three scores late in the game. The defense knew we had to pass, and really started to pin their ears back at that point. The Lions may have drafted a gem in Taylor Decker — he was rock solid against a really good pass-rushing defense. The rest of the line needs addressing, but even Cornelius Lucas — a third stringer — held his own on the right edge.

That’s about where the highlights end on that side of the ball. The Lions never crossed the Seattle 35-yard line during the game. The running game, seemingly finding itself the past few weeks with the emergence of Zach Zenner, looked out of sync and was totally ineffective as a whole. Zenner had one 17-yard run early on, then tallied 17 more yards on his remaining carries. I can’t say he was totally to blame for his ineffectiveness, either, because there just weren’t any holes.

Further, the passing game sputtered. I appreciate Matthew Stafford’s sentiment that his finger isn’t messing with his game, but game film shows otherwise. Stafford wasn’t nearly as sharp the last four games of the year as he was early, and this offense — as evidenced by Stafford’s eight fourth-quarter comebacks — isn’t good enough without their star playing a top-tier level. He simply hasn’t been great since injuring the finger, and it mattered these past few weeks.

[graphiq id=”rDVoAY8DBj” title=”Detroit Lions Profile” width=”640″ height=”1000″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/rDVoAY8DBj” link=”http://nfl-teams.pointafter.com/l/21/Detroit-Lions” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

To make matters worse, the receivers were plagued by drops in big situations. Golden Tate and Eric Ebron had drops early that caused drives to sputter out, and Marvin Jones followed with his own in the third quarter. All killed drives, and with those dead drives, lost our momentum after stopping Russell Wilson and his mates early on.

Finally, our coaches also looked out of their depth Saturday night. From the fourth-and-1 roll out/throwback to… Matthew Mulligan… behind the line of scrimmage…to the stupid penalties on Anquan Boldin (2!) AND Haloti Ngata — two of our most veteran players — to the lack of effective offensive game planning, it looked like our coaching staff hadn’t prepared their team for the crowd noise or the Seattle running game.

As usual, though, I will take a quick peak at the bright side before I wrap up here: this team overachieved. Bob Quinn has a plan. It seems to be working. While I would never argue that Jim Caldwell is the guy to lead us to the promised land, there is something to be said for a coaching staff that had a fairly garbage-level roster in nearly every single game for an entire season. If Caldwell goes, do Teryl Austin and Jim Bob Cooter go, too? Because aside from being out-coached Saturday night, for the most part, they’ve done a really good job. Imagine what they might do with better on-field talent!

And so, another year comes to a close for the Honolulu Blue and Silver. It saddens me that I will have to actively look for an excuse to hang out with my dad and brother and our families over the coming weekends. That’s a lot of work! But aside from getting drubbed Saturday, I can’t tell you that I have huge regrets about this season, either.

Lastly — the other goodbye we must say — is to the NFCN Barroom. Unfortunately, the doors are closing on this venture. There are some really quality guys turning out some really quality work for us Lions fans (and for your other franchises, as well), and that opportunity has passed us by for now. I wish things had worked out for founder Aldo Gandia and friends — I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the team this past year, and I wish it could go on, but I understand why it cannot. I also want to thank everyone for their work here, too. Aldo, namely, for taking a risk on something he is so passionate about, and Von Lozon for editing some of the junk I’ve sent in. The guys who worked on the excellent graphics, and all the rest of team, too — it’s been fun.

So I give you my Stirred, Not Shaken farewell, merry reader — I hope I’ve entertained you over the past year, and maybe made you think a little bit, too. I wish you all the best. I’m going to kick around continuing my blog on my own in the future, so if you’re interested, follow me on Twitter @BDHOF and maybe we can knock one back again while discussing next year’s squad.

Go Lions!

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