Lions Leftovers is the weekly post-game commentary from Detroit Sports Nation contributor Rob Otto. The opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Detroit Sports Nation.
The final score of Sunday afternoon’s game between the Lions and the Buccaneers was 24-21. If you pay any attention to the post-game comments on the Detroit Sports Nation Facebook page and what you’re hearing on sportstalk radio, you might think that Detroit was on the losing end of that game. The exact opposite is true.
So why are the fans acting like it was a loss?
I believe it is because the fans have finally come to the logical realization that this team, as currently coached and constructed, is nowhere good enough to take the step forward. Yes, they can beat a bad team like Tampa Bay, but that means nothing when the goal is to win the division and perform well in the playoffs.
Sure, the Lions won on Sunday, but they were bad. Every offensive lineman was called for holding at least once. Matthew Stafford took a bad sack to knock them out of field goal range, and had two chances to put points on the board in the last two minutes of the first half before throwing them both away. They managed less than three yards per rush. Theo Riddick was their leading rusher with a whopping 29 yards.
Don’t think that the defense was any better. They gave up 400 yards to a team that came in averaging fewer than 350. 133 of those yards were on the ground, where Tampa Bay came in averaging 88 per game.
Of course, you cannot leave out the coaches. Who called those questionable pass plays at the end of the first half with a quarterback at less than 100-percent? When the Bucs completed seam pass after seam pass after seam pass, who was in charge of making the adjustments to stop it, but never could? Jim Bob Cooter, Teryl Austin, and especially their boss Jim Caldwell did (or didn’t do) plenty to lose that game.
It was sloppy, with the only saving grace being that the Buccaneers were sloppier. Their five turnovers trumped Detroit's three.
So, yeah, it was a victory, but really not anything to celebrate. Certainly, it is a step in the right direction that Lions’ fans realized that.
Then it turns out that so many people wanted to pay good money to see the team play against the 4-9 Chicago Bears this Saturday that Ford Field sold standing-room-only tickets.
One step forward, two steps back.