There is so much digest following the Lions 105-101 loss Sunday to the Green Bay Packers, a game where teams seemed to score on every drive and there was pass interference on every play.
First off you do have the right to be angry if you are a Lions fan. There were phantom calls and blown touchdown calls. There were phantom overturns and phantom no over turns. We saw a perfectly natural Titus Young touchdown taken away and thrown into Lake Michigan. It appeared as if the NFL was bent on making sure the Lions did not win even on a day Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson played to near perfection.
But the game also showed that the Lions are not quite ready for prime time. The Packers put out a shell of a team. There were starters out there but there was no Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson. Of course I wonder how much better Rodgers could have been than Matt Flynn who carved the Lions up every which way but loose.
Even with the blown calls I believe the Packers find a way to win. That is what they were there to do and they were going to do it no matter what.
This was a game the Lions absolutely needed and absolutely wanted. This was a game the Packers sort of wanted to win to finish 15-1. The bottom line is the Lions defense could not stop the Packers when they needed. Cornerback Alphonso Smith is still getting yelled at by his coaches and probably saw Packers blowing by him in his dreams last night.
If Flynn can act a fool on the Lions what do you expect New Orleans and Drew Brees to do? And I don’t want to hear how the Lions played New Orleans close last time and only lost because they melted down with penalties. The Saints were not as focused for that game as they will be for the first round of the playoffs. When the Lions walk out of New Orleans as losers they can all point to the Packers loss as the reason why.
I actually gave them a great chance to beat the New York Giants, but the dirty birds from Atlanta get honors because the Lions could not close out Green Bay and they could not beat Atlanta at Ford Field. That is what this possible one and out playoff run boils down to. Yet, I do not come here to bury the Lions. For them it has been a great and fantastic season because now they are getting their feet wet.
They are a legitimate NFL team. It is one with flaws but it is one that can win its share of football games and challenge for the playoffs. They are a year or two mentally and a year or two in depth from beating the top teams in meaningful games. The Lions need to use this experience as lessons learned and pack away valuable tidbits of information to make later runs.