STOP SEASON; LIONS ARE GREAT

Stop the season. Right now. On a high note. Quick, somebody, knock me out and let me sleep until next September. After all, isn’t this what we dream about? Rodney Peete throwing touchdown bombs? The defense sacking the quarterback? A near-sellout crowd making airplane noise as the Lions dance on the Silverdome turf? A happy ending? Isn’t that what we dream about? Stop the season. Quick, somebody get me a hammer.

“But what about the record?” says the voice of reason. “What about the Lions’ losing record? After all, this just makes five wins against nine losses.”

“CAN’T HEAR YOU,” I say. “THE WATER’S RUNNING.”

Come on. Who wants to hear that stuff? We hear that stuff every week. Actually, every month. Well, actually, every year. But who’s counting?

Not this morning. Please. For once, I want to feel like I live in a town with a good football team. And that looked like a good football team at the Silverdome Sunday night. OK. So the Chicago Bears didn’t have a whole lot to lose. So they already had the division clinched. Don’t tell me they didn’t want to win. I mean, they were on national television, right? You think they want to get embarrassed like that? 38-21? Hey. Their mothers might be watching.

“But what about this Lions’ defense, which still has a lot of holes in it? And the offense, which still rolls the dice with the receiving corps?”

“CAN’T HEAR YOU,” I say. “VACUUM CLEANER.”

What holes? What dice? Here was that game that had been simmering inside the Lions for weeks and weeks. It was the game that was never finished against the Buccaneers, and the Packers, and the Redskins, and the Bears two weeks ago — all those games that should have been won, but went bye-bye in the second half. In those games, the Lions had been like a microwave popcorn bag, one that starts to expand and then, for some reason, begins smoking and burns up.

Not this time. It was kernels a-go-go Sunday night. It was Ray Crockett charging on Jim Harbaugh — who beat the Lions in overtime two weeks ago — and crunching him solo and putting him out with a dislocated shoulder. It was Mike Cofer being no kinder to replacement Mike Tomczak, slamming the ball away, forcing a fumble, Lions recover. And it was Rodney Peete, going nuts, bombs away, a 20-yard touchdown to Robert Clark, a 44-yard touchdown to Richard Johnson, a 68-yard touchdown to Terry Greer. How many all told? Four touchdowns? Did we say a 68-yarder?

“But what about the interceptions?” says the voice. “What about Rodney’s bobbled fumble that landed in the arms of Richard Dent and he ran back 45 yards for a touchdown?”

“CAN’T HEAR YOU,” I say. “I’M ON THE PHONE!”

Now, it’s true. This wasn’t a perfect game. But were you really expecting a perfect game? And does perfect really matter for the Lions at this point?

I say no. Far more important than perfection, or precision, is victory. More importantly — learning how to win, even when you feel as if you might lose. And the Lions found themselves in that position Sunday night, in the third quarter, when Peete’s juggle landed in Dent’s hands and it was bye-bye. The score went from 21-7, Lions, to 21-14. And emotionally, you could feel the shift. Chicago had the edge. The Bears, who are used to winning, were vibrating with that old feeling. “This game is ours. We can come back.”

The Lions, meanwhile, seemed to suddenly sag under their most familiar emotion. “Uh-oh. We’re gonna blow another one.”

But then, something happened. Maybe it was aggravation. Maybe it was impatience. Maybe it was just that the Lions were sick of giving these things away. But on the Bears’ next possession after Dent’s touchdown, Crockett leveled Harbaugh and Chicago was forced to punt and then Peete took a second- down snap, looked downfield, saw Greer with a step on David Tate and he let it fly. Beautiful. It fell in like a raindrop. Greer raced untouched across the stripe and suddenly, a game the Lions were in danger of losing was in their back pocket. Safe and warm.

“So what?” says the voice of reason. “One lousy game.”

“CANT’T HEAR YOU,” I say. “BLOW DRYER.”

Now, OK. The Lions won a few games at the end of last season as well. In fact, just about a year ago, they beat these same Bears. And what good did it do? This season, at the very best, can only equal last year’s by record, and until Detroit starts winning games that matter, when they matter, these victories will be little more than morsels that fall from the NFL table.

But you gotta start somewhere. And it is the holiday season. So, in the spirit of Santa Claus, I am shutting my eyes, throwing out my list, and banging myself on the head. I don’t want to know about Green Bay next Saturday

or Seattle the week after. I don’t want to know about .500 records, or sub-.500 records.

I want to meditate on those Peete passes Sunday night, dropping into the arms of his receivers. And on Cofer and Crockett, doing the “gotcha” fist on the Chicago quarterbacks. And on Mel Gray fumbling a punt, picking it up, and still returning it for a nice gain.

“You’re crazy,” says the voice. “When you wake up, all these same problems will be here. The quarterback controversy. The weak defense. The losing tradition.”

“WHAT WAS THE SCORE AGAIN?” I say.

“38-21.”

“Good night.”

Stop the season. Right now. On a high note. Quick, somebody, knock me out and let me sleep until next September. After all, isn’t this what we dream about? Rodney Peete throwing touchdown bombs? The defense sacking the quarterback? A near-sellout crowd making airplane noise as the Lions dance on the Silverdome turf? A happy ending? Isn’t that what we dream about? Stop the season. Quick, somebody get me a hammer.

“But what about the record?” says the voice of reason. “What about the Lions’ losing record? After all, this just makes five wins against nine losses.”

“CAN’T HEAR YOU,” I say. “THE WATER’S RUNNING.”

Come on. Who wants to hear that stuff? We hear that stuff every week. Actually, every month. Well, actually, every year. But who’s counting?

Not this morning. Please. For once, I want to feel like I live in a town with a good football team. And that looked like a good football team at the Silverdome Sunday night. OK. So the Chicago Bears didn’t have a whole lot to lose. So they already had the division clinched. Don’t tell me they didn’t want to win. I mean, they were on national television, right? You think they want to get embarrassed like that? 38-21? Hey. Their mothers might be watching.

“But what about this Lions’ defense, which still has a lot of holes in it? And the offense, which still rolls the dice with the receiving corps?”

“CAN’T HEAR YOU,” I say. “VACUUM CLEANER.”

What holes? What dice? Here was that game that had been simmering inside the Lions for weeks and weeks. It was the game that was never finished against the Buccaneers, and the Packers, and the Redskins, and the Bears two weeks ago
— all those games that should have been won, but went bye-bye in the second half. In those games, the Lions had been like a microwave popcorn bag, one that starts to expand and then, for some reason, begins smoking and burns up.

Not this time. It was kernels a-go-go Sunday night. It was Ray Crockett charging on Jim Harbaugh — who beat the Lions in overtime two weeks ago — and crunching him solo and putting him out with a dislocated shoulder. It was Mike Cofer being no kinder to replacement Mike Tomczak, slamming the ball away, forcing a fumble, Lions recover. And it was Rodney Peete, going nuts, bombs away, a 20-yard touchdown to Robert Clark, a 44- yard touchdown to Richard Johnson, a 68-yard touchdown to Terry Greer. How many all told? Four touchdowns? Did we say a 68-yarder?

“But what about the interceptions?” says the voice. “What about Rodney’s bobbled fumble that landed in the arms of Richard Dent and he ran back 45 yards for a touchdown?”

“CAN’T HEAR YOU,” I say. “I’M ON THE PHONE!”

Now, it’s true. This wasn’t a perfect game. But were you really expecting a perfect game? And does perfect really matter for the Lions at this point?

I say no. Far more important than perfection, or precision, is victory. More importantly — learning how to win, even when you feel as if you might lose. And the Lions found themselves in that position Sunday night, in the third quarter, when Peete’s juggle landed in Dent’s hands and it was bye-bye. The score went from 21-7, Lions, to 21-14. And emotionally, you could feel the shift. Chicago had the edge. The Bears, who are used to winning, were vibrating with that old feeling. “This game is ours. We can come back.”

The Lions, meanwhile, seemed to suddenly sag under their most familiar emotion. “Uh-oh. We’re gonna blow another one.”

But then, something happened. Maybe it was aggravation. Maybe it was impatience. Maybe it was just that the Lions were sick of giving these things away. But on the Bears’ next possession after Dent’s touchdown, Crockett leveled Harbaugh and Chicago was forced to punt and then Peete took a second- down snap, looked downfield, saw Greer with a step on David Tate and he let it fly. Beautiful. It fell in like a raindrop. Greer raced untouched across the stripe and suddenly, a game the Lions were in danger of losing was in their back pocket. Safe and warm.

“So what?” says the voice of reason. “One lousy game.”

“CANT’T HEAR YOU,” I say. “BLOW DRYER.”

Now, OK. The Lions won a few games at the end of last season as well. In fact, just about a year ago, they beat these same Bears. And what good did it do? This season, at the very best, can only equal last year’s by record, and until Detroit starts winning games that matter, when they matter, these victories will be little more than morsels that fall from the NFL table.

But you gotta start somewhere. And it is the holiday season. So, in the spirit of Santa Claus, I am shutting my eyes, throwing out my list, and banging myself on the head. I don’t want to know about Green Bay next Saturday

or Seattle the week after. I don’t want to know about .500 records, or sub-.500 records.

I want to meditate on those Peete passes Sunday night, dropping into the arms of his receivers. And on Cofer and Crockett, doing the “gotcha” fist on the Chicago quarterbacks. And on Mel Gray fumbling a punt, picking it up, and still returning it for a nice gain.

“You’re crazy,” says the voice. “When you wake up, all these same problems will be here. The quarterback controversy. The weak defense. The losing tradition.”

“WHAT WAS THE SCORE AGAIN?” I say.

“38-21.”

“Good night.”

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This