The Lions proved once again that they have a losing foundation.
The mix that was poured to create it includes an impressive blend of poor blocking, miserable tackling, and obscene pass rush and coverage.
It’s rock solid, this foundation, and the trouble is, their coach has been thwacking away at it with a hammer, when he really needs a medicine ball swinging from a chain.
On top of this foundation, the Lions play football and show us various ways every Sunday to come out on the losing side of things. It’s really quite an art, like David Copperfield showing us how he can make different things disappear.
But below that surface is the foundation—the common denominator, if you will.
The Minnesota Vikings were the latest team to make mincemeat of the Lions—27-10 in the Metrdome on Sunday.
The foundation was rock solid as usual.
Impenetrable poor tackling of running back Adrian Peterson. Concrete-like strength of a non-existent pass rush. Waterproof, non-porous protection of an accordion-like offensive line.
The Lions could give the Mafia a run for their money with the concrete they pour every Sunday.
The Vikings padded their stats but not the scoreboard in the first half. It was 10-3, Minny, and the Lions were still hanging around, like the kid brother who won’t let you spend time alone with your girlfriend.
The Vikings only scored ten points in the first 30 minutes despite raining long passes to Sidney Rice, who was as open as a 24-hour diner all afternoon, and despite Peterson running around, past, and through the Lions, who again showed why they’re the football version of the Washington Generals.
Mack Sennett, God rest his soul, would love these Lions. So would have Groucho, Chico, and Harpo Marx. The Lions could have been perpetual co-stars. Margaret Dumont would have been out of work.
But the Vikings didn’t do themselves any favors, either. They started shooting themselves in the cleats, with fumbles and penalties. So off they trudged at halftime, with a 10-3 lead and video game-like stats.
Peterson had rushed for 100 yards before the first beers were down, I think. Brett Favre would give him the ball and you could almost hear the Keystone Kops music and see everything turn to sepia and in fast motion.
But it was still just 10-3. Sennett would have put up a caption card in his silent short that said, “WTF?”
Ahh, but then Kevin Smith fumbled to open the second half, the Vikes pounced on it, and a couple of Peterson saunters later, the score was 17-3 Vikings and all was right in the world again.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford was harrassed by the Vikings’ front four more than Sean Penn by photographers on a Hollywood sidewalk.
Stafford was denied one of the creature comforts of playing quarterback: time enough to look for a receiver. The result was a flurry of hurried throws, many of which came nowhere near their intended targets. It’s hard to have accuracy when you can tell every d-lineman what he had for breakfast.
But a word about Kid Matthew.
On the occasions when he does have time to throw, why does he insist on forcing his receivers to make circus catches? The football is never delivered between the numbers; sometimes it’s rarely delivered between the shoulder blades. It’s like Stafford has sunk some dough into a highlight reel montage of diving, sprawling, mind-boggling catches.
Sometimes the Lions receivers oblige. Then again, sometimes Matthew gets the ball in the general area of the receivers’ chest or hands and it doesn’t matter, anyway. If the Lions don’t lead the league in dropped passes, then I want a recount.
Favre beat the Lions again. He’s spent about 13 percent of his career playing them—two out of 16 games every year—so I say we dock him and make only 87 percent of his numbers worthy.
The drumbeat of losing goes on for the Lions. They are 1-25 in their last 26 games. Jason Hanson is even missing field goals. Who do they think they are? The Italian Army? Wile E. Coyote? The Pittsburgh Pirates?
This isn’t a football season anymore, it’s a disaster management drill. Pretty soon they’re gonna call in FEMA and give Martin Mayhew pointers.
The Lions play the Cleveland Browns next week. Frick and Frack, at Ford Field. Football theater of the absurd. If there’s going to be any action on that one in Vegas, it’ll be done by members of Gamblers Anonymous.
The game is likely to be blacked out in Detroit, which is a version of the mercy rule.
Vikings 27, Lions 10.