Posts Tagged ‘Calvin Johnson’

No competitive Thanksgiving games for you!

November 30, 2009

 

Happier times: A Lions' Thanksgiving victory celebration after the 1999 triumph over Chicago. Since '99, the Lions have compiled a dismal 2-8 record on Thanksgiving

So Thanksgiving, one of the greatest holidays in the history of holidays, has come and gone in 2009.

For those who retained enough energy to overcome the inevitable tryptophan-driven coma and were able to catch some NFL action, well, if you’re a fan of Green Bay, Dallas, or Denver, congrats!

If you’re a fan of Detroit, Oakland, or the New York football Giants, or parity-laden football in general, Thanksgiving was a cruel, cruel day/night.

Going into Thanksgiving day, uncertainty swirled in the realm of Detroit football:

The statuses of both Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson were unclear until mere hours before kickoff (Calvin caught a TD and was otherwise blanketed by shoo-in All-Pro and Michigan alum, Charles Woodson, while Stafford channeled his inner rookie and tossed the football to Woodson and the Packers a grand total of four times).

Daunte Culpepper, he of the year 2004 greatness, seemed so blindsided by the Lions’ decision to start the injured Stafford (see: separated non-throwing shoulder), that what appeared to be a heated exchange between Daunte and GM Martin Mayhew ensued in plain view of tv cameras prior to the beginning of the game.

Ko Simpson, a decidedly mediocre NFL safety who took over for his decidedly mediocre predecessor, Marquand Manuel, when Manuel went down with an injury, was injured himself (the season-ending variety) against Cleveland. As a result, the Lions continued their rich tradition of embracing a patchwork secondary by inserting Marvin White, a relative unknown, into the lineup, and bringing Jahi Word-Daniels, a complete unknown, into the fold.

To make matters worse, although Stafford and Calvin were able to valiantly take the field and gut out 4 quarters of losing football, Brandon Pettigrew, the Lions’ stud TE and second 1st round pick from the 2009 draft, went down with a knee injury early in the 1st half.

 

Rookie TE Brandon Pettigrew went down with a season-ending knee injury, unrelated to his fan hand-shaking.

 

 

Pettigrew had caught 15 balls, including 2 touchdowns, in the past 3 games, and was really starting to round into form as Stafford’s favorite non-Calvin option. Pettigrew’s knee injury will ultimately be season-ending, thus cutting short a promising rookie season and obliterating the Lions’ TE depth. Only Casey Fitzsimmons, a serviceable albeit unspectacular backup, appears ready to contribute, as he did in stretches of the 2nd half against Green Bay.

So, just to quickly recap where we stand in the world of Lions’ football, the Lions dropped a briefly competitive decision to Green Bay, 34-12, in front of a strong crowd of Honolulu blue and silver-clad fans (until midway through the 4th quarter, when those with any sanity remaining began streaming toward the exits).

The Lions have now lost 6 straight Thanksgiving day tilts by an average of 23 points/game.

Elsewhere around the NFL on Thanksgiving, Oakland played, well, very Oakland-like football, in a fairly routine 24-7 thumping at the hands of the NFC East-leading Cowboys. Tony Romo played well. JaMarcus Russell didn’t play at all.

In the one game that NFL fans were anticipating to be a close, hard-fought affair, Denver capped off the evening by routing Tom Coughlin and friends, 26-6. Denver, which was in an epic free-fall after starting the Josh McDaniels’ era 6-0, picked up its first victory in five games and did so in convincing fashion in front of a packed house at Mile High Stadium.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Giants fell to 3rd place in the NFC East (trailing Dallas and Philadelphia) with a record of 6-5. Is this surprising? Of course it is. Eli Manning’s foot will be a topic of conversation for the rest of the season and the Giants, a team that looked like a surefire playoff team at the outset of the ’09 season, will now have to really turn things around in the face of mounting injury problems in order to avoid missing the playoff fun that Lions’ fans miss just about yearly!

So there you have it. Thanksgiving football was a letdown. But that’s okay. The Lions travel to Cincinnati on Sunday to take on the Bengals, who somehow, some way, are two games up on both Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

Win #3 on the way?

Well, we’ll see about that.

 

A Charitable Gesture: Lions sympathize with Rams’ plight, help end 18-game skid

November 4, 2009

The Detroit Free Press’ always entertaining columnist, Michael Rosenberg, provides an excellent account of the general absurdity of the Lions’ home loss to the lowly Rams on Sunday.

With a loss in a game that many had pegged as the Lions’ best chance to secure an elusive second victory, the Lions are left hanging their hats only on their victory over the comically free-spending¬†Zornskins .

 

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Is it time to get those bags ready again? Yes, yes it is

Sure, statistically speaking, in an historic season of bottom-dwelling NFL franchises, the Lions actually have a BETTER record than three teams (0-7 Tampa Bay and 1-7 St. Louis and Cleveland) and the same record as two other proud teams (Kansas City and Tennessee), but the levels of awful the Lions are achieving right now is truly a sight to behold.

Through seven games, three Lions’ quarterbacks have combined to toss a measly 4 touchdown passes against a robust 11 interceptions. The team’s leading receiver (receptions-wise) is its oft-injured running back. Nobody on the team has intercepted more than 1 pass (5 players have picked 1 apiece), while little-known Buffalo Bills’ rookie, Jairus Byrd, has picked off 7.

Now, almost halfway through the season, the Lions appear to be right in the thick of the race to be the NFL’s worst team.

Last season, the Lions’ beautifully crafted a revolutionary blueprint for achieving futility (re: lose all 16 games, most by comically lopsided scores).

This season, although some facets of the team appear to be headed in the right direction (see: the team’s work ethic under HC Schwartz, torpedo-like rookie Louis Delmas, or the always-stellar-when-healthy Megatron), the team’s lack of talent will inevitably lead them to the NFL’s crowded basement for yet another painfully inept season.

The only questions left to answer, are where, when, and how will win #2 materialize.