Following yet another heartbreaking loss on yet another heartbreaking Sunday, my buddy Drew (a longtime Lions fan) said to me on the phone, “It’s almost like someone back in the day made a deal with the devil in order for the Lions go to the playoffs or something and now the rest of us have to live in misery for the rest of our lives.”
Well said…and, ouch.
The Lions had their third victory in their grasp on Sunday against the Jets. They led 20-10 with just over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and even after the Jets scored to make it 20-17 with 2:46 on the clock, Detroit was still in control.
Of course, they had no kicker and Drew Stanton as their quarterback so I use the term “in control” loosely.
In more misery for Lion fans, Matthew Stafford re-injured his right shoulder in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Stanton. Earlier in the game, the Lions had rookie first round pick Ndamukong Suh (a defensive tackle, mind you) kicking extra points because Jason Hanson injured his knee. He later returned to kick an extra point later in the game, but who knows what Hanson’s availability would have been if the Lions needed to attempt a long field goal in overtime.
So there the Lions were, ready to collapse and once again shank their fan base. Stanton and the offense failed to pick up a first down and run out the clock, so the Jets took over and immediately drove down the field to kick the game-tying field goal. In overtime, Mark Sanchez hit Santonio Holmes on a 52-yard pass play to set up a Nick Folk 30-yard field game just 2:18 into the extra period.
The come-from-behind victory was crucial for the Jets, who rebounded after they were embarrassed by the Packers lat week in New York. It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was key on a day in which the Patriots also lost.
But for the Lions and their fans, the loss was yet another painful reminder of how doomed their franchise is. Jim Schwartz’s team has been in virtually every game this year but only have two wins to show for their efforts. Nobody expected Detroit to be good this season, but the way the Lions have toyed with their fans this year has been rough. At least when they were getting blown out in years past, fans didn’t have to watch the entire game in order to know what the final result would be.