The Steelers' Bumblebee jerseys proved too slippery for the Lions tacklers early on, Jim Schwartz made, IMO, the wrong decision to run a fake field goal, Reggie Bush's effectiveness was neutralized by the dreary Pittsburgh weather, Suh & Co. couldn't get a breath on the oft-sacked Ben Roethlisberger and the looming sense of uneasiness I have on the Lions as we depart Week 11 is that the Buccaneers and Mike Glennon are looking formidable these days.
The Lions host the win-streaking Bucs next week. It's not a MUST WIN, but it's a must win.
If we rewind the calendar two weeks to the Lions' bye, at 5-3, I expected and predicted them to be right where they are this second. 6-4. Time travel back with me, and you'd agree too, right?
Loss at Chicago. Win at Pittsburgh.
Of course you'd like to win all the games you can, but if the last two weeks were going to go one win and one loss for the Lions, you need to ignore negative narratives that could arise this week about Detroit in exchange for the enormous tiebreaker the Lions hold over the Bears.
There's also little chance Aaron Rodgers is 100% healthy on Thanksgiving. So calm down.
The Lions lost on a day where a home-domed team was impeded by weather and by a prideful team that probably its finest game of the year.
It's the NFL. It happens. If you'd like evidence, and if you believe Seattle and New Orleans are the very best teams in the league, or among them, examine their scuffles away from home.
- Regardless of its outcome, I believe the fake field goal was the wrong call. One of the balls Bush put down was punched out, but if the stormy weather cut in to his playing time, it was not a wise decision to expect a punter to cleanly execute that play from beginning to end.
Yea, I know, if they'd converted and scored 7 they likely would've sealed the victory. But if they'd converted a 27 yard field goal there's NO reasonable way they can lose the game on the ensuing drive with the score being 30-23.
- The Lions have harassed QBs all year, right? Yes. Curiously, they do only have 16 sacks. Perhaps I underrated Ansah's absence, and it sucks not having the depth from Jason Jones, Fairley's been inconsistent and Suh was in and out of the game against the Steelers. That Pittsburgh line had given up 4 sacks a game, and the Lions only got 1 and 1 QB hit. You didn't need me to tell you that, or a stat sheet to know Roethlisberger had plenty of pocket time all afternoon. So what's up!?
- Did the Steelers unearth two ways of searing the Lions defense? One, whatever they did to block for Ben. Two, I thought the secondary was going to enjoy a painless Sunday without having to stop a Gordon, Green, Marshall & Jeffrey, or Bryant. Antonio Brown's done a fine enough job replacing Mike Wallace, but he's none of the physical marvels the Lions have tried to defend over the last month or so. Is the new strategy against the Lions porous secondary going to be get it to the fleet receivers and let them dart past a not-so-nimble linebacking core and a dreadful back end? With Desean Jackson, Jordy Nelson, Torrey Smith and Victory Cruz looming...uh. Oh.
- Did the DeAndre Levy INT magic wear off? He dropped one, and early in the game a ball was in the air that screamed 'DEANDRE CATCH ME' and the ball fell harmlessly for an incomplete, not an INT.
- The Packers lost.
- The Giants won again. This has me thinking they're about to go on another 9-7 Super Bowl run.
- After I tweeted disagreement with the fake, I got this from Zac at Side Lion Report. I like Zac's stuff, but sometimes we can bang heads.
Schwartz essentially said the same thing. From Justin Rogers a mlive.com...
"Because we're trying to win the game," Schwartz said. "You could have said the same thing about the Redskins game. Why risk it? Why risk it? Every play is a risk. We're going to try to do our very best to win the game."
So what happened in the Washington game?
A QB sneak from a yard away is not nearly the risk of a rookie punter busting through the line on a sloppy wet day trying to gain five yards. There's no comparison here.