CHICAGO – At one point in Sunday’s game, Roy Williams caught a pass, bounced up, and struck a pose.
Not long after, Chicago’s Bernard Berrian caught a pass, bounced up, and struck a pose.
The difference? Williams had a first down.
Berrian was in the end zone.
Guarantees are silly, always have been, always will be, but they really look dumb when your team comes out and lays an egg. Williams, the Lions receiver of eternal promise, may have guaranteed a victory last week in the euphoria of a three-point loss to the NFC champion Seahawks (only the Lions can turn defeat into the heady nectar of self-confidence), but he ought to know better.
After all, Williams was in Chicago last year – same stadium, same second game of the season – when the Lions thought their engines were running and suddenly the Bears were a giant monkey wrench. They embarrassed Detroit, and the season hit the skids.
The score of that game was 38-6. The score this year was 34-7. I could go through the whole thing, but I’m not that mean. Here’s a sample:
On the Lions’ second offensive play, Jon Kitna was sacked and fumbled. The Bears scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive.
Two plays later, Kevin Jones fumbled. The Bears kicked a field goal on the ensuing drive.
After that, you flipped to the Tigers game.
And after that, Williams caught his first pass of the day and struck a “thataway” pose, drawing boos from the crowd.
Uh, Roy, about this score thing
“Shouldn’t poses like that wait until things are looking better?” I asked Williams after the game.
“I celebrate first downs all the time. I’m not gonna stop that. I’m an exciting player. If I do something exciting, I’m gonna show my actions.”
“But you were losing, 10-0.”
“What does that mean? … That means nothing to me. The score means nothing.”
Oh. My bad. I thought that’s how they determined who won.
Look, Williams is talented and plenty smart. But until the Lions do something on the field, all this promise, projection and guarantee stuff only makes them look like amateurs.
“It’s a show me’ game,” said offensive lineman Damien Woody. “You can’t just talk about what how special this offense is, you have to produce on the field. Potential is a scary word. All people care about is results.”
Right. Here are Sunday’s results. Fourteen penalties for 104 yards. Three fumbles lost. Six sacks allowed. One third down converted. One?
“We laid an egg,” said tackle Jeff Backus. “A horrible display of football.”
What pose do you strike for that? Maybe a man with his hands over his face?
Believe it when you see it on the scoreboard
Now, last week, after a defeat, the media was generally more upbeat than the team. The Lions defense was tough and their offense at least presented a nice blueprint. On Sunday, the passing game built on that blueprint, showing elements of production for which Mike Martz is known.
But an exciting offense – even if it works – is no fast lane to a Super Bowl. Remember the Run ‘n’ Shoot? That was exciting, too. To advance in the NFL, things have to jell on both sides of the ball. Not the see-saw of good and bad/offense and defense that the Lions show far too often.
New coach Rod Marinelli blamed himself for this loss (“it’s my fault, 100%”) but he is running low on admirable positions in defeat. His team is 0-2, has one touchdown in two weeks and already is two games behind the Vikings and the Bears in its division.
Look. It’s fine that the Lions believe in their offense. It’s good they think they can be something special. But when Williams says things like, “We left 40 points on the football field last week,” it makes you want to state the obvious: Points only count when they’re on the scoreboard.
And words never won a game.
“Do you regret the guarantee?” Williams was asked.
“No, because everyone believes what I said.”
The Bears don’t.
Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or firstname.lastname@example.org.