Shame on me.
Shame on me for thinking that the Lions could actually win a big game on national television when the stakes were high.
You got me, officer. You’re a fair cop. I committed a crime. I confess.
Lock me up and throw away the key. I ought to be sentenced to viewing a “Waltons” marathon, for days.
I know ignorance of the law is no defense. I know that it’s not enough to say that others made the same mistake. I was the one who was caught so I should serve my sentence.
It was about 24 hours ago that I sat before the keyboard and started rapping out the tripe about the Lions. They hoodwinked me and I should have known better. My 43 years of following the team didn’t serve me well at all yesterday. I got caught up in the hype.
The Lions, I wrote in a column that I now wish was composed in invisible ink, would slap the Baltimore Ravens all over Ford Field on “Monday Night Football.” The Lions would destroy the Ravens, then likely lose next week at home against the New York Giants.
I thought I had it all figured out.
The Lions made a fool of me, and it’s little solace that I am hardly the Lone Ranger in that regard.
Six field goals did them in last night. No touchdowns allowed, but no matter, when the usual slapstick cocktail of turnovers, odd play calling and ill-timed penalties was served up by the boys in Honolulu Blue and Silver.
The Lions—and this is so Lionesque—became the first team to lose an NFL game on a field goal of 60+ yards, TWICE.
Somewhere Tom Dempsey must be smirking. It was on November 8, 1970 when Dempsey, half-foot and all, booted the New Orleans Saints to a 19-17 victory when he blasted a 63-yard field goal at the final gun, putting himself in the record books and the Saints in the win column.
Monday, it was Justin Tucker’s big leg that drilled a 61-yarder with 38 seconds to play to give the Ravens the 18-16 win. Tucker hit six times Monday night, and he keeps not missing. He made a 53-yard field goal earlier in the game that he made as easy as an extra point.
No wonder that Ravens coach John Harbaugh had no reservations about sending Tucker out to try the game-winning kick from the Ravens’ side of the 50 yard line.
Tucker has made 32 field goal attempts in a row. He’s as automatic as a car wash.
They say everything is bigger in Texas. That must include Tucker’s leg. He was born in Houston.
The Lions no longer control their own destiny. Thank God, because they clearly didn’t know what to do with it. Now they’ve slipped all the way to third place in the NFC North.
No more talk about magic numbers and winning out and needing no help. The Lions, in one ghoulish night, went from front runners to likely also-rans. The Bears and the Packers control things now—whichever team sweeps its last two games, wins the division, no matter what the Lions do.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz, whose seat is getting warmer by the second, told the media after the team beat the Bears in Chicago to go to 6-3 and gain sole possession of first place, “You don’t get any awards for being in first place after nine games.”
I wish he had told his team the same thing.
6-3 has turned into 7-7 due to the lather, rinse and repeat football the Lions have often played under Schwartz: turnovers, penalties and poor clock management.
Monday night was a three-hour slow death. You could see the Lions’ playoff hopes slipping away after the Ravens gave up a touchdown on Detroit’s opening possession. The sands in the hour glass kept gradually slipping away, and even when the Lions took a 16-15 lead, there were just too many grains of sand left.
Two minutes and 21 seconds is an eternity in pro football, and never more so than when you have a one-point lead over the defending Super Bowl champs, who just happen to employ a placekicker whose range appears to be that of a golfer’s driver.
Even facing a 3rd down and 15, Ravens QB Joe Flacco, ever cool, delivered a 28-yard strike to Jacoby Jones to keep the final drive alive and continue the Lions’ agony.
But this game wasn’t lost solely on Tucker’s leg. It was lost on missed opportunities, dropped passes (Calvin Johnson picked a bad time to turn human), the aforementioned turnovers and penalties, and the realization that the Ravens really didn’t do any of that stuff.
Shame on me.