Every dog really does have his day.
Every blind squirrel really does find a nut.
The longshot came in. The House lost.
It was “any given Sunday,” finally. The dice came up snake eyes.
Someone had to be the victims of the Lions’ losing streak ending, and it happened to be the team with some of the most ravenous, venomous fans in the NFL.
The Washington Redskins are today’s NFL patsies. They will now officially spend the longest week of their football lives.
The Redskins have lost to the Detroit Lions. No team in the league has been able to lay claim to such a distinction since December 23, 2007.
Oh, what a week they’ll have in Washington, with all their radio shows and TV shows and chat rooms.
These aren’t the Houston Texans the Lions beat. Not the Jacksonville Jaguars. Not some team that plays in a city where you can hear a pin drop.
These are the Redskins, and their followers were scared to death of this matchup with the Lions.
Worst fears, realized.
Like my friend Big Al wrote over at The Wayne Fontes Experience, let another team’s fan base pull its hair out this week. Let another city’s radio airwaves be filled with hate and frustration.
The Lions walked off the field winners Sunday, a homely 19-14 win over Washington, but it was the Lions’ homely win and they’ll take it.
Linebacker Larry Foote, the Detroit native and U-M grad, was caught by the candid cameras in the locker room after the game, pouring champagne over head coach Jim Schwartz’s head. Not sure where Larry got the bubbly from, but someone obviously was holding it for just such an occasion.
The Lions won a football game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to hold their 26-game losing streak longer in purgatory. But here come the St. Louis Rams, who are halfway there with 13 straight losses.
Let the Rams’ fans wring their hands now.
It’s off now, that King Kong the Lions were lugging on their backs for 19 games. But ole King wasn’t easy to pry off.
You just knew it couldn’t end with QB Matthew Stafford taking a knee as the time ticked away. You knew the Lions wouldn’t be able to be streak busters that easily.
No, it had to come down to a heart-stopping final drive by the Redskins, who managed to get to the Lions’ 35 in the waning seconds.
But this wasn’t Brett Favre, it was Jason Campbell. And this wasn’t 31 of the 32 coaches in the NFL, it was Jim Zorn.
Zorn ought to know better. He was a gunslinging QB when he played for the Seattle Seahawks, bombing away to Steve Largent et al.
But he stared down the barrel of a franchise-shaking loss and shook like a leaf.
Instead of chucking the ball into the end zone—for who knows what can happen when you do that, especially when the other team wears Honolulu Blue and Silver—Zorn had Campbell try one of those goofy hook-and-lateral plays after a measly 12-yard toss. The ‘Skins didn’t even sniff the 20 yard line, much less the end zone.
Ever since Cal beat Stanford in 1982, football teams have been trying to recapture that miracle. Hardly any have been successful.
Zorn would have been better off with a Hail Mary, but that’s the other guys’ deal to worry about today.
Zorn also made a questionable move to accept a penalty against the Lions, turning a 4th-and-four and a long FGA into a 3rd-and-14, which the Lions converted, enabling them to score a TD later in the drive.
They say you should never take points off the scoreboard, if you’re on offense. And you should probably not take fourth downs off the board, either, if you’re on defense. But Zorn did—more fuel for the fire that will engulf Washington and Redskin Nation this week.
They’ll be talking about this one for years in D.C. The Lions—a team the Redskins have dominated (never having lost to them at home in over 75 years)—mustered their first win in 20 games against Dan Snyder’s bunch.
The fun thing is, you don’t have to be relegated to wishing you were the proverbial fly on the wall in order to see what they’re saying in Washington. Thanks to Internet chat rooms, you can get a very nice picture indeed.
The Redskins fans want Zorn fired. Immediately. Some wanted him canned somewhere between Ford Field and Metro Airport. No joke.
The Lions are on the outside looking in again, but this time the view is just fine. This time the Lions can peer through the glass and watch debauchery and barroom brawls take place. The subject is still them, but in an entirely different way.
The Lions can watch as Redskins fans hurl empty beer mugs at Snyder and Zorn and Campbell and the like. They can press their noses against the glass and see a football team’s entire fan base bust up the joint, beside themselves.
All over the little Lions.
The 1-2 Lions—same record as the Redskins.
Stafford was pretty good—21-for-36, 241 yards, a TD and NO interceptions. He played smart. He “left some plays on the field”—his words—but he made a veteran move by slinging the ball downfield when he saw Bryant Johnson in single coverage at the goal line in the fourth quarter, drawing a pass interference penalty.
There’s the smattering of a connection developing now between the kid QB and the star receiver, Calvin Johnson. Stafford was also allowed to pass the ball on first down, when offensive coordinator Scott Linehan sensed a momentum shift.
The Lions will still likely only win two or three games this season. The Redskins are hardly a barometer against which to judge your team’s development. But a win is a win as they say, and though it was no Mona Lisa, it’s the Lions’ and they’ll take it.
The million-to-one shot came in. The tortoise won a race. William Hung came away with “Best Singer.” The Italian Army won a war.
The Lions are 1-0 in their last one game.
But keep the champagne chilled. No more bubbly in September. Never again, right?