Read it and weep: Lions season over
DETROIT – Well, that was fast.
The Detroit Lions' season is over. Their embarrassing 28-19 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on Sunday dropped the Lions to 1-6.
Sure, there are still nine games left in the 2015 NFL season. But if anyone honestly watched what took place in this game, it would be hard for them to have hope the Lions can get this disaster turned around.
The Lions were already fighting against history, trying to become the first team in the league to lose its first five games and make the playoffs.
In a must-win game against a division rival, that had already beaten them earlier this season, the Lions turned in a real stinker after the first quarter in which they scored two touchdowns.
After that, the Lions were just plain awful on both offense - it scored just three points in the final three quarters - and defense. "Obviously, a disappointing loss," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. "The offense moved the ball pretty well early on.
"We never, I don't think, stopped them completely defensively."
From the start of the second quarter until 3:21 was left in the fourth quarter, the Lions had a grand total of four yards. No, it's not a typo. We're talking four yards as in less than five and more than three.
That seems impossible when you have an all-world receiver in Calvin Johnson on your side. Or even quarterback Matthew Stafford, the former overall No. 1 pick with the big arm.
That didn't matter. The Lions were dead offensively despite a slew a weapons for Stafford.
Stafford, who had his way with the Chicago Bears a week ago here at home, had a rough day at the office as the Vikings kept coming and put a lot of pressure on him.
Stafford was sacked seven times. Worse, there were a few rushers that came in unblocked.
"It's not to say I didn't get angry or mad," said Stafford, who also got a X-ray on his non-throwing hand after the game. "I mean, football, if you're not playing, well it's frustrating."
This one hurts a lot. The Lions needed a win to keep the hope alive that they could, indeed, get this righted.
There's was another golden opportunity to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in London next Sunday. That could have gotten them to 3-5 and still in the mix at the halfway point.
Instead the Lions look a lot like the team that started 0-5 despite all the preseason hope to build on their 11-win season and trip to the postseason.
So many believed the Lions had built a foundation, especially with the defense that was ranked second in the league a year ago.
But the defense has been bad, especially in the last three home games. The Arizona Cardinals beat the Lions, 42-17. The Bears marched the ball up and down the field against the Lions in a 34-31 overtime loss.
Here the Vikings couldn't be stopped on offense. Minnesota QB Teddy Bridgewater had 316 yards and two touchdowns. Adrian Peterson had 98 yards on 19 carries, including a 75-yard run.
"It's unfortunate, but it's just a reality of where we're at right now," Lions' safety James Ihedigbo said. "We're 1-6. Defensively, we've just got to get back and execute. We're fighting, but we've got to fight a little bit harder."
Because the Lions were so lackluster after a hot start, some questioned if the team gave up.
Caldwell, of course, wasn't buying it. "I don't think it was giving in, we just didn't do what we were supposed to do. We just didn't block well enough, we didn't take care of our assignments that we had to take care of. We were just inept for a stretch."
The same thing could be said about the coaching. Caldwell is definitely in the hot seat. Many NFL experts didn't pick the Lions to make it back to the playoffs this season.
Still, few thought they would be this bad and undo all the success they had a year ago. It makes many wonder if 2014 was just a fluke.
The reality of 2015 is real. "It's tough on us right now," Lions' receiver Golden Tate said.
Tougher on Lions' fans with the realization that the season is over.
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