You don’t need a junkie to score a dose, when you find yourself ailing and in need of a pick-me-up victory.
For years, the Lions have been the NFL’s elixir—something you take when you’re feeling punky.
I can’t imagine that there was real, genuine panic in and around the Twin Cities after the Minnesota Vikings fell to 0-2 after last week’s loss to the Miami Dolphins. Disappointment? Sure. Anxiousness? Probably a little bit.
How could there have been, when the best cure-all since Dr. Jonas Salk accidentally discovered penicillin was on the schedule for Week Three?
If you’re the other team, and you need a win to chase away the doldrums, you take the Detroit Lions, wash them down with a glass of water and wait.
Sometimes the Lions kick in right away; other times, you have to wait three quarters for results, occasionally even longer.
But the Lions always come through. They’re the NFL’s Tylenol 3 to the other 31 teams’ migraines.
The Vikings were sniffing, sneezing and coughing on their way into their dome Sunday morning. The 0-2 start hit them like a ton of bricks. Something was going around the NFL and the Vikings had caught it. The Cowboys, 49ers, and a bunch of other teams had been inflicted, too.
The Vikings took a healthy dose of Detroit Lions and, a few hours later, they were feeling much better.
You watch the Lions and you can kind of see them in sepia tones, moving in super-fast motion with the occasional caption card, like the old Keystone Kops flicks in the days of silent movies.
Leading the Vikings 7-0 on Sunday and having just forced a nice three-and-out, the Lions were poised to get the ball back. Punt returner Stefan Logan awaited the booted ball.
I see the play now in sepia, in fast motion. The caption card flashes on the screen, the calliope music playing in the foreground.
Logan, running toward the football, diverted his gaze away from the ball and by the time he un-diverted it, the football was bouncing off his fingertips and into the arms of the eagerly awaiting Vikings kick coverers.
The Lions’ generosity continued on the very next play when they declined to cover Percy Harvin, and QB Brett Favre hit the wide open receiver for a 23-yard touchdown.
More sepia tones. More calliope music.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson torched the Lions for an 80-yard TD run in the third quarter. It was the sort of big play that the Lions swear after every game they can’t afford to surrender and yet manage to, the very next week.
More Keystone Kops images.
Lions QB Shaun Hill threw not one but two interceptions in the Vikings’ end zone, in the waning minutes of the game.
The Lions are the medication that never stops working.
It all added up to another of those 24-10 type losses in Minnesota, the kind beset with suicidal football plays and interceptions. The Lions have been losing that way in Minnesota for 13 years now.
After the game, there were a lot of “We can’t keep doing that” and “We’re better than that” quotes coming from Lions players, quotes that keep getting printed, as if they’re full of profundity—or as if we’ve never read them before.
If the Lions are subscribing to the “take one step backward to take two steps forward” method of improving, Sunday’s game was the step backward—presuming you recognize the closes losses in Weeks One and Two to be the two steps forward.
However they step, the Lions are 0-3. They were close twice, and not so close yesterday.
Doesn’t matter. This is the NFL, where the weak are eaten and moral victories are for losers.
Just another Sunday in Minnesota for the Lions. The spread was Minnesota giving 11 points, and they still covered.
Someone could have made a mint hawking the Lions off the back of a truck.