We are now a quarter of the way through the season. So how is the NFC North holding up? Are we meeting expectations? Or are we a disappointment?
Loss: Chargers, Vikings, Broncos, Seahawks
This is such a hard post to write. The Lions have seemingly fallen back into old habits. They seem to have that cloud back that no matter what they do, they just seem to lose the football game.
I watched the game against the Hawks last night. What really stood out to me was the mentality. Going into the 4th quarter the score was 13 to 7. You would have thought by the way the Lions walked off the field, hung their heads, the score was 56-0. Yet, they were only down by one touchdown. I kept yelling at the screen for them to stay in the game! This is why they play football! You just don’t know what is going to happen!
Needless to say, it did. There was a RW fumble for Lions recovery – although the Lions didn’t capitalize on it, it speaks volumes to how fast a game can change and to not give up. Then late in the fourth quarter, the Lions did what the Lions do best, suddenly start playing football. This seems to be a theme for them. They get down, then have flashes of, maybe not brilliance, but some good football. With 6:23 left to play, Stafford marches the Lions down the field. All the Lions fans want is the ball to be in the hands of their best play makers, namely, Johnson or Tate. They finally do just that! Lions fans rejoice – no stupid decisions! No under thrown passes! Yet … they find a way. Calvin Johnson has the ball punched out at the one yard, maybe half-yard line. Collective, utter, stunned silence from Lions fans around the world. They managed to screw up once again.
The thing is, the Lions have a lot to be proud of. They went into the Seahawks stadium and nearly beat them. They finished the game at 13-10.
Clearly, the Lions need to stop beating themselves. They also need to make their tackles – especially against a mobile quarterback. They had to have known RW would be running all day with ML out. Unacceptable.
Lions, yes, you are 0-4, but your season is not over yet. I really do think, with the right attitude, you guys could do well.
Just don’t give up, like you did in this game. Good teams know you play the whole 60 minutes (cough-cough, GB 2015 NFC Championship game) – you guys need to learn this, and fast.
As for the missed call, here are my thoughts on it. There are tons of times that calls are made no where near the ball, but they still count. Rules are rules. As soon as refs start deciding that they don’t want a whole game decided on a rule, as was the case here, then why even bother having rules? Yes, Seattle was the only one near the ball, it probably would have gone out on its own. However, rules are to be enforced by the refs, not to be turned into judgement calls.
Here’s an example, remember when the Lions coach Jim Swartz in 2012 threw a challenge flag? The rules had just changed – all scoring drives are automatically reviewed. However, the new rule was that you could not throw a challenge flag because of the review. If you did, you got an unsportsmanlike penalty.
It cost the Lions a touchdown.
Here is the link to the play. It will make you sick.
Again, that’s a rule. It is enforced. It changed the outcome of the game despite the fact it was a ridiculous addition to the rule. It’s why later, when Mike McCarthy did it, good old boy Jordy Nelson tried to sneakily walk over and pick it up so the Pack wouldn’t get called. You can see Mike and Jordy share a grin – like two school boys trying to get away with something behind their teacher’s back. I can’t remember if we got away with it or not. I just kind of liked Jordy more at that moment.
Anywho, all this, whether articulate or not, is to say whether you believe inthe rule or not (I guess I’m getting at there are some dumb ones), a rule is a rule is a rule.
Why are his lips always puckered?
Loss: Packers, Cardinals, Seahawks
John Fox’s team is exactly where everyone thought they would be. Well, I did think they would be lower in the standings than the Lions, but that’s more of an issue with the Lions and not Chicago.
Jay Cutler has displayed in the first 4 games that he is still Jay Cutler.
Brandon Marshall is gone, doing actually quite well with the Jets. Good for him. On an aside, I loved the article that was out earlier in the week about how he likes to go antique shopping. It couldn’t have been more charming.
However, back to Chicago, so what does losing Brandon to the Jets mean for the Bears? Well, a lot. Especially since Alshon Jeffery has not played since week one due to a hamstring injury. The receiving core is decimated. With Cutler as the quarterback, poor Forte has a huge workload.
The Bears realizing the dire position they are in started a fire sale on September 28th. They traded Jared Allen to the Panthers and Jon Bostick to the Patriots. In return, the Bears got a conditional 6th round and a 6th round draft for the trades.
Now the rumor mill says with Allen gone Willie Young is asking for a trade. Now, it seems like players are just trying to get off of a sinking ship.
The schedule this year does not get any easier, so the Bears might want to just chalk this year up to one large training camp for next year and try and make improvements where they can.
Win: Lions, Chargers
Loss: Niners, Broncos
I have to admit, I don’t know much about this team. I watched one of their games, and for the life of me, I can’t remember which one right now. I think the Niners. Yes, that was the one. I just remember thinking why didn’t they give the ball more to Adrian Peterson. Well, apparently, they have and that has helped. I do remember thinking the Vikes should have played better. I kind of thought the Vikings would be better this year. They have room to improve, and even though they didn’t start out as fast as I thought they would, I still think they are going to be tough to beat down the stretch.
They need to improve though, as it will be hard to keep up with the Pack, considering they are already two games ahead with the next to games at Lambeau.
Speaking of the Pack …
Green Bay Packers:
Win: Bears, Seahawks, Chiefs, Niners
The Packers could not get off to a better start. Not only are they 4-0, which is always the most important number, but the wins are mentally important.
The Pack has now beat one of their main rivals in regards to Seattle, and even their Achilles heel in the Niners.
Green Bay lost in week one last year to the Hawks, and, more critically, in the NFC Championship game in spectacular fashion. The Pack lost to the Niners on these occasions …
The defense against the Niners looked much improved. Even I, who am completely against Dom Capers, had to give credit where credit is due.
Now, that was against the Niners, and they are bad this year, but … still. The Niners always seem to find a way to exploit our weakness — but not this time. I’ll take the “w” on the defensive side of the ball.
Success has come this quarter of the season despite losing our deep threat in Jordy Nelson. This has caused more short, quick passes. Unfortunately, we have the injury big again this year. Cobb is clearly diminished. It’s not that he’s not doing very good, but you can tell he’s not 100%. The same goes for Eddie Lacy.
Our 3rd receiver was supposed to be Davante Adams, but he has been out with an ankle injury, and let’s be honest, even when he was in the game his performance was lacking.
Now, other teams can focus their coverage on James Jones and Cobbs.
On an aside, thank God for JJ. Remember when he was one of the dropsey twins with Jermichael Finley? Well, perhaps being carted around the league and left for dead caused him to be more focused. He is doing, as Mike McCarthy would say, one heckuva job. Thank you JJ.
What we need is for Cobb to heal up, but I don’t know how anyone can do that while the season is taking place. We also need Ty Montgomery and Richard Rodgers to step up. It’s a lot to ask, but you have the best quarterback in the league — if you are going to be successful with anyone, it’s going to be him.
Ty Montgomery has done very well on returns and RR had a touchdown in the last game. These are promising developments for the rest of the season.
Finally, to recap the first quarter of the season, why not a screenshot of the conference standings thus far …
Until next time … Go Pack Go!