Stirred, Not Shaken: 60 Years of History

Stirred, Not Shaken: 60 Years of History

So, NFL nation. This is what it’s like to be a Lions’ fan.

Rough start, going 1-3, and we, the fans, are ready to give up on the season. The undefeated Eagles, playing behind wunderkind quarterback Carson Wentz, are coming to town to drop the final nail in the Lions’ season-coffin and send them to 1-4, too far back in the division race to have a chance.

But a miracle happens. The defense finally wakes up and Matthew Stafford finds a little fourth quarter magic. Wentz throws his first career interception to seal the deal, and the Lions are 2-3.

A tiny little bit of hope appears. The hope begins to flow freely as they rip off three straight…toss away a game to the Texans, then beat the division-leading Vikings to start a five-game winning streak, and the Lions are a full two games up on the Green Bay Packers and the aforementioned Vikings. The Lions are going to win their first divis…

Alas, 60 years of history sneaks up at that point and rears it’s ugly head. The Lions muster six lousy points against the Giants, and suddenly the Packers are on a hot streak. That cushy two-game lead falls to one.

Surely, the Lions will have the firepower to beat the Dallas Cowboys…on the road…on Monday Night…right?

Nope. Now the division lead is zero, and we are tied for first with the hated Packers.

This is how history repeats itself in Detroit. A team gives us some hope — in this case, quite a bit of hope, in fact — and then it is stamped out like so many cigarette butts in the slush filled December gutters. Just like those cigarette butts swirling down the sewers, so goes the Lions’ season — straight down the tank.

Like always during the past 60 years, there are new and unique ways of having hope snatched away. The first was on a phantom defensive holding penalty — who was it on? We still don’t know, but we do know that it offset a Dallas penalty on a third-and-7 incompletion and gave the Cowboys another shot at the end zone before the half. The result, as only the Lions can do it? Touchdown Cowboys, and a tie game: after the phantom penalty, Dez Bryant gets behind Johnson Bademosi for a touchdown.

Not only was there a phantom penalty — wiping that play from the books — but Bryant nearly removed Bademosi’s head via the facemask on the touchdown pass. Somehow, the ref manages to not see the Lions’ defender’s helmet spin nearly all the way around, and grants the touchdown to Bryant. Replays showed that Bryant was bobbling the ball as he slid out of bounds also, but “the process” only matters against the Lions. In three chances to get a call right, the NFL managed to bungle all three, and the Cowboys now had a tie game and all the momentum.

That momentum carried through halftime, when the Lions came out and, after a first down, laid out three plays: holding penalty, sack, interception. The game, at this point, is essentially over.

While the officials blew one series for the Lions (nevermind the unsportsmanlike conduct called on A’Shawn Robinson for…tackling… Zeke Elliot), the real blame here lies with the Lions coaching staff. Where did Zach Zenner go in the second half? Why could the line suddenly not block when the Cowboys went to their dime package? What happened to Eric Ebron — or any receiver — when the Cowboys jammed up the line of scrimmage? How could no pass routes end up in the middle of the field? How did Bademosi continue to end up in single coverage? Why was Asa Jackson allowed to wear a Lions’ uniform?

So, Lions fans…here we go again. Week 17, for all the marbles — barring a Washington loss, the Lions MUST win to get into the playoffs, and they must also win to the clinch the division crown. They are playing a league-wide favorite with a future Hall of Fame quarterback with a great receiver coming off an injury. We are injured and desperate.

Can we turn around 60 years of history? Here’s to hoping.

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