Posts Tagged ‘St. Louis Rams’

Updated power(less) rankings : Ineptitude reigns supreme at the bottom

November 9, 2009

After Matt Stafford tossed his fifth INT of the game and Josh Wilson scampered 61 yards into the Lions’ endzone to seal Detroit’s 16th straight road loss, an idea suddenly popped into my head.

With the Lions’ record now standing at 1-7 (2-30 over the last 32 games, for those keeping score at home) and the NFL sporting a plethora of woeful franchises this season, I’ve decided to compile an elite list of the NFL’s bottom 6 teams each week.

Quite frankly, when your team is as poorly prepared for NFL competition as the Lions are on a season-by-season basis, it’s just no fun to scroll all the way down the page on ESPN’s power rankings, past the Colts and Patriots of the world, to find the Lions residing somewhere in the 30-32 range.

So, without further hesitation, I bring you the first “Power(less) Rankings” of 2009.

Chiefs Johnson Football6. Kansas City Chiefs (1-7)—Tied for the worst record in the NFL with Cleveland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and the aforementioned Lions, the Chiefs and new HC Todd Haley’s awful-level has been vaguely palatable. Five of KC’s seven losses have been by an average of 6.4 points/game (blowouts at the hands Philly and SD, not included). The Chiefs also have a solid quarterback (Matt Cassel), a GM with a reputation for greatness (former Pats’ boss, Scott Pioli), and, just today, shed one of the league’s notorious malcontents, the fading Larry Johnson. While the road out of the cellar will be long and winding, the Chiefs have the type of framework in place that, if they can scoop up a couple additional pieces in the offseason (i.e. secondary help, impact RB), they could be competing for a playoff spot sooner rather than later.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7)buccaneers-loss-300x225—After picking up their first win of the season (38-28 over the respectable Packers) behind recently-inserted rookie QB Josh Freeman, the Bucs finally have something to rejoice about. Losses at Washington and Buffalo were defining low points for this once-competitive franchise, but rookie HC Raheem Morris appears willing to let his youngsters run the show despite the rugged conference the Bucs occupy the bottom position in (hello there, unbeaten New Orleans). Time and patience are going to be necessary in Tampa, but a rousing home victory is exactly the type of remedy necessary for the young Bucs’ waning confidence.

Redskins Lions Football 4. Washington Zornskins (2-6)—Owners of a pair of the worst losses in the NFL this season (see: road loss at Detroit, home loss vs. KC) and a pair of the least impressive wins this season (see: home victories over St. Louis and TB), it took a lot for me not to rank the Zornskins lower. Couple the dreadful season-long funk the ‘Skins have been in with the fact that owner Dan Snyder is willing to spend freely (and recklessly) to make his team a contender, and one could certainly argue that the ‘Skins have put together the most dismal half-season in the NFL this year. With an absurdly challenging eight games to close the regular season, in which the Zornskins will only potentially be favored once (@ Oakland in week 14), things could get a whole lot worse for this bumbling train wreck.

3. 58559750St. Louis Rams (1-7)—Having scored the fewest points in the NFL this season (77), while surrendering the 4th-most points in the league (221), the Rams would likely occupy the #1 spot on this list, save for a ‘battle of the titans’ 17-10 road triumph over the Lions. Only two of the Rams’ seven losses have been by single digits (@ Jacksonville and @ Washington) and the only functional offensive skill player on the roster is stud RB Steven Jackson. This franchise has fallen a long way from the “greatest show on turf” days of 2001, but with patience being preached during a massive rebuilding project, the Rams’ time will eventually come again (just not anytime soon).

lions dejected 2. Detroit Lions (1-7)—Perhaps it’s merely bias that prevented me from selecting the Lions as the #1 team in the inaugural “Power(less) Rankings.” Detroit has allowed the second-most points in the NFL (237), while prevailing only once over the lowly Zornskins. Although the ouster of the GM-who-shall-not-be-named has led to increasingly astute drafting (see: Pettigrew, Delmas, Levy) and Matt Stafford certainly has the talent to eventually develop into a franchise QB, the cupboard is simply too bare for HC Schwartz to put a consistently competitive team on the field. Schwartz has the Lions hustling and working harder than at any point last season, but the climb is really just getting started for the Lions.

1. Cleveland Browns (1-7)—SPORTS FBN-STEELERS-BROWNS 2 AKCapturing the dubious #1 spot on the list is Detroit’s opponent in two weeks, the Cleveland Browns. The Browns’ ravenous fans, the Dogpound, have had precious little to cheer about as “Mangenious” and co. have blundered their way to a horrific 8-game stretch. The only win on the Browns’ resume at this point was likely the worst game of the season thus far, a 6-3 road triumph at Buffalo. The Browns have only stayed within single digits in one of their seven losses and have lost by an average of 19 points/game. GM George Kokinis (in his first season) has already been axed and the league’s worst QB tandem (Derek Anderson/Brady Quinn) has done nothing to make up for a punchless defense. If you can’t wait for the Detroit/Cleveland showdown in two weeks, well, friends, you’re not alone.

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 .

 

detroit-lions2

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.

 

 

644 Days Later: A Triumph to Remember

September 28, 2009

(Courtesy, Detroit News)

19-14. It was by no means the prettiest NFL game ever played. Heck, it wasn’t even available on local t.v. to those who have, for better or worse, bled Honolulu blue and silver for so many hapless years.

Of course, some national pundits forecasted week 3 as the Lions’ time to return to the winners’ circle. Even Washington Redskins’ mammoth defensive tackle, Albert Haynesworth, saw the Lions as a dangerous challenge that he wouldn’t overlook (or so he claimed).

After all was said and done, though, nothing could take away from the pure, unadulterated joy that came about from this victory.

I think I can confidently speak for many ardent Lions’ supporters, that, when the final whistle blew after the Redskins’ bizarre hook-and-ladder prayer foundered (found at about 4:20 of the video below), a tension was released that had played such a prominent role in our lives for what seemed like an eternity.

I, myself, began shouting unintelligible things and pumping my fists uncontrollably, as I sat alone in my room, flanked by my Lions’ banner, savoring the unfamiliar.

 

Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom penned an excellent take on Lions’ victory #1.

Yahoo! national sports columnist Dan Wetzel’s article is equally moving.

 

The Lions' longest-tenured player, kicker Jason Hanson, and teammates Grady Jackson and Don Muhlbach (from l to r) celebrate wins fans (courtesy Detroit Free Press)

The Lions' longest-tenured player, kicker Jason Hanson, and teammates Grady Jackson and Don Muhlbach (from l to r) celebrate with fans (courtesy Detroit Free Press)

Perhaps the most poignant moment of the Lions’ triumph over the Redskins, came when HC Schwartz instructed his players to return to the field to celebrate with the remaining fans of what was initially a 40,000 person crowd (the smallest to attend a Lions’ home game in 20 years). After so much suffering and so much dejection associated with the second-longest losing streak in NFL history, Schwartz felt the fans needed to know just how much his team appreciated their dedication.

So now, the Lions have broken through. 

At 1-2 and headed to Soldier Field next Sunday to take on the NFC North rival Chicago Bears, the road to end futility has ceased.

Some of us, the greedier ones, will already start thinking about when/where win #2 will materialize. Will we have to wait until week 8, when the new owners of the league’s current longest losing streak, the St. Louis Rams, take on the Lions? Will it be sooner; could it be later?

For now, a new hope has soared to the fore of Lions fans’ collective conscious. 

A new day is upon us.

Sure, in the literal sense, it’s just 1 win. 

But, even if for a fleeting moment, it feels like so much more.