Every Lions fan knows the Lions had the opportunity to take a big step forward yesterday. A win shows progress and puts 0-16 one step further into the rearview mirror. A win keeps the attention on how bad the Rams are and the Lions move into the relative obscurity of 2-5. No more punch lines, no more 1st pick in the draft talk, no more references to last season, just progress. Instead, it’s all back.
The foundation of a winning team was being laid this year, with hopes of a .500 season next year. The 2009 Lions were supposed to be good enough to beat teams like the Rams and give a contender a scare or two, maybe even score an upset. We were supposed to be competitive and start to see signs of life. That foundation is crumbling and the construction site may be sitting on a sinkhole.
On the surface yesterday’s game was just another loss in a season expected to be full of them. On the surface, it was one bad team vs. another bad team. It was a desperate team vs. a not-so-desperate team. However, below the surface it was much more. Yesterday was a game that held hope for a well-played and decisive win over an inferior team. The Lions were supposed to be headed in the right direction working their way back up from rock bottom. The Rams are in a rebuilding mode too but they were still sinking towards rock bottom. The Lions were supposed to take advantage of a break in the schedule that saw them face teams with a combined 26-13 record until yesterday.
The Lions may still turn it around and win some games that they weren’t supposed to. Truth be told, any win they get this year will be one they weren’t supposed to win since they won’t be favored the rest of the year. All the talk of progress and moving forward was stopped yesterday, and it’s as if we were thrust back to 2008. Almost every Lions fan is thinking, “If we can’t beat the Rams, who can we beat?” Hope was supposed to be this year’s theme, not frustration and doubt. We’ve had heaping spoonfuls of that for eight and a half years.
It even seemed like the Lions were destined to win. Interception thrown in the end zone, resulted in a safety instead of an actual turnover. Dewayne White makes a huge play when it seemed like the game was about to get out of hand. The momentum shifts as Stafford marches down the field and scores to tie it up. Zack Follett blows Danny Amendola up on the ensuing kickoff and the whole stadium gets back into it. Louis Delmas breaks up a pass on 3rd and 3 and the Lions will get the ball back to drive for the win…then the little yellow flag appears on the screen and I knew the game was over.
I woke up yesterday morning expecting the Lions to play like a winner in a game they should have won. It was like the cartoons, a little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other. One saying, “It’s ok to get your hopes up, today is the first step towards having a real team again.” The other one saying, “This team has burned you every time you get your hopes up, don’t be a fool they will lose.”
The only difference was the angel was the one telling me not to believe, and the devil was selling hope. I listened to the little devil and got a pitchfork in the backside for it. I’m not giving up on this team, I will wake up next Sunday with high hopes for a win, but with each loss it sure is getting harder and harder to wake up on Sundays…