Football has long since overtaken baseball as America’s game, and it was proven Sunday as a full house of close to 60,000 packed Ford Field to see a team that had lost 18 consecutive regular season games.
It would never happen for the Pistons or Tigers. Imagine if either of those teams lost like the Lions did last year. You can bet the farm they would not be greeted with a sellout.
Sure, there are not as many games played in an NFL regular season to be fair, but you get my drift.
No matter, the Lions continued their losing ways, succumbing to the Minnesota Vikings 27-13. Still it was an interesting football day in downtown Detroit.
The Lions started its first home game of the 2009 season on the right foot by honoring legendary Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell as an honorary captain and a participant in the coin
In another classy move, just prior to the National Anthem, a moment of silence took place for four fallen members of the Lions family: defensive end Corey Smith, director of security Ricky Sandoval, former head coach Monte Clark and guard Bob Kowalkowski.
However, the Vikings, led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, and in most NFL watchers’ opinion the best running back in the game today, Adrian Peterson, did not fall prey to the Lions thoughtful and considerate reflections of the moment.
One thing I observed is the Lions did play hard and were even in a position to win the game, as the they jumped out to 10-0 lead, then took a 10-7 lead into halftime.
“We were not good enough today to get the win,” said a dejected starting tackle Gosder Cherilus. “It’s not good enough to play two quarters and expect to win, because it is a four quarter
Noted linebacker Julian Peterson: “We had a couple of opportunities that slid out our hands and we missed it. We have to do a better job of finishing. I know the fans are desperate for a win
and we want to give it to them.”
Minnesota had no trouble finishing as it put up 27 unanswered points, 20 of which came in the second half with help from a Lions fumble and an interception.
Kevin Smith’s fumble and an interception of Matthew Stafford directly led to 14 Vikings’ second-half points and the score ballooned to 27-10.
Smith, who played a very solid game, said the momentum changed with his fumble: “It was 10-10 a real close game and I give it up. Then A.P. (Peterson) comes back and scores.”
The sad part to me is that the players, especially the defense and offensive line, came to play, but the rookie quarterback is simply not ready yet. I do not see the pocket presence that is
needed to avoid the rush but still stay focused downfield on his receivers.
If my assertion is correct, then how does head coach Jim Schwartz look Larry Foote, Dominic Raiola, Calvin Johnson, Peterson and others in the eye and tell them that he’s putting the
best players, at least right now, on the field?
Maybe they would have still lost, but I believe Daunte Culpepper gives the Lions the best chance at a victory.
I know all the rhetoric like Stafford is the future, the Lions have invested millions in him, and the best way to learn is to play. All that has some merit, but the fact remains that this team has lost 19 consecutive games and they simply need to win right now.
Said Schwartz in the post-game press conference: “We’ve got great fans in the city of Detroit. They want to support a winner and it’s our job to put that on the field.”
If Schwartz’s words are more than lip service, I cannot see how an all-pro quarterback with football moxie and experience should be sitting on the bench while a rookie learns on the fly.
The future is now and the Lions need to win now!
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