Derick Hingle/Icon SMI - Dont worry about the Lions...this guys good for another 10-15 years...and hell be back...
After experiencing the Lions playoff loss to the Saints, a 45-28 lopsided inevitability, I was overly emotional, irrationally enraged by the absurdity of how it all transpired.
As the scored again and again and again, a progression of thoughts occurred to me.
1. The NFL loves the passing game so much that pretty soon holding penalties will be abolished. Pretty much like it was in New Orleans.
2. Perhaps the NFL just refused to be denied their inevitable Saints-Packers NFC Championship game...as I watched Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairly get held on play after play after play. Three Saints held Suh back as Brees completed another deep pass. A Saint held a fist full of the back of Fairly's jersey holding him back just enough that Brees could launch another deep pass.
3. The NBC announcers, the ESPN announcers, the NFL Network team and the Fox crew want nothing to do with the Detroit Lions. Chris Collinsworth, while doing color for the game would routinely exalt the greatness of Brees while openly ignoring the blatantly obvious holding penalties happening all around him. On the play where Brees was sacked and fumbled the ball...only to have fumble picked up and by Justin Durant with a clear path to the endzone...instead of being appalled by the incredibly ignorant officiating, he complained that the refs hadn't screwed up enough to allow the Saints to somehow keep the ball...The NFL Network's Deion Sanders refuses to acknowledge the progression of the young Lions...
4. I'm not saying the Lions would have won the game if it had been called correctly. I merely say that this game would have been a LOT closer.
5. The Lions could not rebound from three dropped interceptions.
6. They could not find any way to get Brees and his horde of offensive weapons off the field...the Saints never had to punt. The only times their drives didn't end in touchdowns, they ended with a field goal (at the end of the first half) or in two turnovers the Lions simply were unable to capitalize on.
7. The Saints are an offensive juggernaut. And their complete dismantling of the Lions defense, they were generous to show Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz the team's most glaring need. Defensive backs. Look for the Lions to address the back 7 with as much fervor and single-minded abandon as they have their front four this offseason.
8. The "Wide 9" may not be designed to forsake rush defense in or to generate more pass rush...but that's exactly what it does and that needs to change. If that requires the dismissal of Gunther Cunningham, so be it.
9. Matthew Stafford, if he can stay healthy, is going to have the Lions in the playoffs in most years. He's that good.
10. The Lions simply HAVE TO sign Calvin Johnson to a career length contract as soon as possible.
11. The secondary must be addressed and do not be surprised if the Lions don't make a serious run at Titans CB Courtland Finnegan. Finnegan has experience with Jim Schwartz...just like Kyle VandenBosch and Stephen Tulloch...
12. I cannot remember, in my whole lifetime, the Detroit Lions having a probowl-worthy ball hawking corner back. Dre Bly was probably the closest...but he was really just a bit better than adequate. The Lions haven't had that kind of presence since Dick "Night Train" Lane.
13. Just like it was time for the Lions to find a replacement for Bobby Layne (which we've done with the play of Stafford), it is now time to find a replacement for the Night Train...