This is what the old heads warned us about.
The perfect run by the imperfect team would come to an end. The Detroit Lions run not only ended, but it crashed and burned on a chilly field in Charlotte as they suffered a humiliating 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers Saturday afternoon.
The Lions were on the brink of the Wildcard playoffs. That is still possible but now when the Lions peak over the edge they see two valleys – Same Old Lions or A great run fell just short.
An NFL game has so many moving parts, but often the winner is the team that runs the football best and stops the run. This game was no different. The Lions did not lose a game as much as they were bullied. The Panthers ran for 320 yards, which sounds like the box score for Michigan – Central Michigan.
“They got after us pretty good,” Coach Dan Campbell said. “That’s a hard pill to swallow.”
Here is a harder pill to swallow. This was a game billed around toughness. The Lions did not look really tough in the cold. That is surprising considering they shut down New York Giants star back Saquon Barkley in the cold.
“It hurts to tackle in the cold,” Panthers defensive end Brian Burns said. “Especially with the backs we’ve got.”
Chuba Hubbard ran for a career high 165 yards on 21 carries. D’Onta Foreman (12, carries, 125 yards) recorded a career best too as the Panthers set a franchise record rushing (320 yards) and in total offense with 570 yards.
Same Old Lions?
I’m not willing to go there. I would say SAL. Soft Ass Lions.
The Lions defensive line got beat up in the trenches, which led to more gash plays by the Panthers than you’d want to admit. They kept piling up the yards on the ground until the Lions submitted and screamed “No mas.”
We saw Lion players, especially Jeff Okudah flinch instead of fight on some running plays.
I do not want to trash all over the Lions because of the strides they’ve made the past few weeks. Despite this humiliation, the distant future looks bright with so many young stars on the team. Let me quote the great philosopher and Pistons forward Mark Aguirre.
“Now and then you spit out a bad one,” he said. “You don’t know why. You don’t know when it’s coming. But it happens to everybody.”
The key is not to let it happen again. The Bears (3-12) are next. The conditions won’t be a factor because the game is in warm and cozy Ford Field next Sunday. Same Old Lions allowed the stench of an ugly loss to linger into the next game. Brand New Lions kick the Bears’ ass.
Let’s see who shows up next week.
(AP Photo/Rusty Jones)