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Lions experts in self-destruction/Paul Peterson

November 17, 2010
By Paul Peterson - For the Gazette

You have to hand it to the Detroit Lions, they're experts on self destruction.

It was just two weeks ago they were being ballyhooed by nearly every National Football League pundit as the team on the rise.

And those lofty predictions were looking somewhat realistic when they had the haughty, self-promoting New York Jets by the short hairs with under five minutes left to play. Even their long-suffering fans were on their feet at Ford Field.

But an injury to oft-injured quarterback Matthew Stafford was quickly followed by a brain drain by coach Jim Schwartz, who forgot all about clock control in the final minute.

The grateful Jets forced an overtime, which they promptly won. All of sudden, the air went out of the stadium as well as out of the Lions.

That was evident this past Sunday when the Motowners played one of the most uninspiring games in recent memory against the winless Buffalo Bills.

They committed numerous penalties, dropped passes and had one of the most unimaginative game plans I've ever seen.

Instead of using weapons like Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew and Nate Burleson, the Lions preferred to run up the middle with undersized tailback Jahvid Best.

On defense, they also repeatedly missed tackles and permitted unknown Bills tailback Freddy Jackson to run at will against them.

Even Fox analysts John Lynch and Ron Pitts were at a loss to explain how a team with such offensive promise could be held scoreless late in the first half against the lowly Bills.

If Lynch and Pitts appeared embarrassed by the whole situation, imagine how die-hard (and there are a few left) Lions fans felt.

Even when Detroit finally scored a touchdown very late in the game to get within two points, quarterback Sean Hill made a most curious play on the attempted two-pointer.

Instead of putting up the ball for grabs, Hill inexplicably threw it over everyone's heads.

But these are the Lions, and since they had already played such a miserable game, why not chuck away their final chance?

Now, the team can look forward to extending its league record road losing streak in Dallas on Sunday, and returning home on Thanksgiving to serve as fodder for the New England Patriots.

You can only imagine what havoc New England quarterback Tom Brady will wreak on Turkey Day.

On the bright side, maybe the Lions will lose out and finish with the worst record in the league.

If they do, they better look at drafting a quarterback.

It appears that second-year man Stafford, who already has had four injuries, is too brittle to handle the job. And maybe they'd better find an adequate backup at the position.

As usual, the rebuilding beat in Detroit goes on and on and on ...



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