Hope. I have gibbered on embarrassingly about the word for a while now. As a Lions fan, it is the only thing I have to cling to, the only thing that keeps me from getting sucked completely into the vile hellmouth of despair that has taken so many of my fellow fans. It is an absurd thing really, rooted in nothing but fairy hopes and idiot dreams, and at its core it is probably nothing more than a mechanism necessary to keep my head above water even as the shit tide rolls on in.
I have no concrete reason to hope, no real reason to think that anything will ever get better with this shitbag of a franchise. But I do anyway. This is probably because I am a great fool, but what the hell, we are fools for caring about any of this nonsense anyway. I rant and rave and howl at the moon about this shit, making a general ass of myself along the way, but at heart, I am a ridiculous optimist. I say that often, usually as a joke, but it's true. I am. I know that doesn't mesh with most of the foul bullshit I write, but what can I say, these are complicated times and none of us can afford to be simple men.
After the last couple of games, it is becoming harder and harder to find that hope. Sure, it seems like there is still hope for the future. I mean, Matthew Stafford is young and will only get better, St. Calvin is St. Calvin and the reign of Archduke Millen the Foul has come to an end, so yeah, I still have hope for the future. But this season already feels kind of lost, doesn't it?
I know, I know, only a great fool would have expected anything from this team, but my hopes for this season weren't even rooted in some grand fantasy of riding to the playoffs and then slaughtering some powerhouse in the Super Bowl while Matthew Stafford soared to the Hall of Fame on the wings of angels. My biggest hope for this season was that the Lions would go 7-9. That's it. That is unfathomably sad, but there it is. After 0-16, after the last decade of screaming misery, after Always Take The Wind Marty and Do It The Right Way Marinelli and That's A Handsome Wide Receiver You've Got There Millen, 7-9 is pretty much a dream season, all that Lions fans could hope for. It is brutal and it is pretty pathetic, but it is what it is. It's what we get.
And here we are, at 1-6. The last couple of games have destroyed any notion that the Lions might scramble out of the muck of failure and onto the shore of mediocrity - at least for this season - and as usual, we as Lions fans are left watching as our pathetically modest dreams crumble and die in front of us. All we can do is watch with heavy hearts and hope that next season might be different.
It's a hard thing, tempering hope. Once it's there, once you believe that something good might actually happen, it's hard to put it all into perspective, hard to accept that the present might still be ugly and brutal and mean. You can see the light, and all you want to do is reach it, but it's a long way off. Unfortunately, seeing it, knowing it's there, just makes the darkness that much worse, that much more agonizing.
This season is tumbling out of control, like so many seasons before it have done. Oh sure, we can make all the excuses for it that we want, talk about the injuries to Stafford, Kevin Smith and St. Calvin, and about how that hasn't allowed the team to get into a steady rhythm on offense, and all that is true. But the Lions just lost to the Rams, the first team they were favored to beat in more than a year. Before that, they were humiliated by the Packers in a truly putrid game. Right now, they don't look like they can beat anybody. That's a hard thing to accept. It's nearly impossible to convince most fans that the present isn't all that important. Everyone wants to win and everyone wants to win now. Even if it's just for one week. It feels good. And when you're watching some other team celebrate while yours gets stomped on the way it always has, it becomes even harder to believe that one day it will all be different. You can hope all you want. Until it's here, it's all just dumb noise.
Yeah, that's not a very positive take, and so why the fuck do I even care about any of this at all if it's so ugly and terrible? And why would I write a billion words every week about a team that is pretty much dead in the water? Because I'm a fan, that's why. I really don't have much of a choice. I am not some asshole who just decided to get into this shit because everyone else liked it and the team was awesome and it was fun to celebrate and laugh at everybody else. I've been a Lions fan for as long as I can remember. It just is what it is. I can't turn that off. I can't not care. That may be a ridiculous notion and some of you might be reading this and thinking "What a ridiculous asshole," but who gives a shit? It's not like I'm going to say to myself "Hey, you know, those dickheads are right. This is stupid. Self, stop caring." Caring is by its nature a fairly involuntary thing. It's something you can't really help. If you can control it, well, either you have evolved past the rest of humanity, in which case, congratulations, please don't melt me with your eyeball lasers, or you never really cared at all. I mean, not really. It's fine if that's what kind of fan you are. But, just understand that you are essentially interested in a fad. You don't really care, and that kind of sucks. I mean, sure if the team loses, then big deal, right? But if your team wins it all, well, you kind of have to say big deal too, right? I mean, what's the point? I am all about ironic detachment, and ha ha ha everyone is dumb for caring, blah blah blah, but fuck it, that shit can get old after a while.
Okay, okay, fine, this is just sports, and you wouldn't be wrong if you said the whole thing was stupid and pointless. I have said many times, including in this post, that we are all dumb assholes for caring about this shit at all. So I am a dumb asshole. Okay. I can't help it. And writing about it is fun for me, believe it or not. I like to write. I like to write a lot, in case you haven't noticed. I like to make other people laugh. Hell, I like to make myself laugh. I like putting this all into some idiot perspective that maybe only a handful of people really give a fuck about. I love doing this because I know that there are others like me - God help them - and I know that they understand the weird place that I am coming from. Sometimes, it is terrible to be a fan, and really, being a Lions fan, that is really the only side of the coin I've been able to gibber on about. But, when it's good, it's really, really fucking good, and I can't wait until I get to rant on in my own idiot way about that side of it all.
Anyway, I apologize. That is all a bunch of self indulgent horseshit, and I have seriously considered just deleting it all and pretending it never existed. I'm still thinking about it and if it's still there when I make it to the end of this post it will be a minor miracle. But long and whiney as it may be I think there is a nugget of truth in there that for whatever ridiculous reason I feel fairly strongly about. I don't know, maybe I'm yammering at myself more than anyone and just trying to come to terms with the absurdity of all this. Would that surprise you? I mean, I write a lot of weird bullshit, why not this?
Okay, okay, anyway, moving on. This weekend, the Lions play the Seahawks. Obviously, there isn't a lot of optimism here - see the above Morrisseyesque screed above - but we are champions in our hearts and we will get through this. The good news is that the Seahawks are pretty fucking bad. Unfortunately, they are much better than the Rams, and well, we all saw what happened against the Rams.
Seattle has, as usual, been beset by a host of injuries this season. I am fairly confident that there is some sort of foul beast hiding in Puget Sound who slithers out to drag another Seahawk into the murky depths every week. Both starting offensive tackles, Walter Jones and Sean Locklear have been hurt. Jones is out for the season and Locklear probably isn't quite ready to come back yet. Meanwhile, the dude they are paid to protect, Matt Hasselbeck, has been laid up with a broken rib. Hasselbeck will play, but he should be fragile, especially with Jones and Locklear out. Unfortunately, the Lions pass rush probably won't be able to make that big a difference, because as we have all already see all season long, Hasselbeck will probably be able to take the snap and throw within milliseconds on the nonexistent Detroit secondary.
The Seahawks haven't exactly been overwhelming running the ball this season, but all they really need in this one is for Julius Jones to keep the Lions defense honest while Hasselbeck does his thing.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks' defense has also been plagued by the Puget Sound monster. Lofa Tatupu is out for the season and Patrick Kerney is also banged up. Kerney should go for Seattle, which means that he will likely be slapping Matthew Stafford around all day while Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus lie dead and bleeding on the ground behind him.
The good news, though, is that Calvin Johnson should play too, meaning that we finally get Stafford, St. Calvin and Kevin Smith all on the field at the same time. Unfortunately, their rhythm will still probably be off and playing in a tough stadium in Seattle probably won't make that any easier. I can see the Lions struggling to move the ball at times, overwhelmed by both the noise and the pressure from the Seattle defense, but I can also see Stafford and St. Calvin making enough plays to keep the Lions' meager hopes alive - at least for a while.
I don't like this game for the Lions. They get some dudes back, but so does Seattle. If this were in Detroit and Stafford and St. Calvin had more time to get into an effective rhythm, I would be far more optimistic. But, neither of those are the case, and so I see a game where the Lions struggle valiantly to hang in there, but get overwhelmed far too often, allowing the Seahawks to escape with a fairly comfortable victory.
1. Stafford continues to struggle a bit, although not nearly as much as last week. He throws the ball 30 times, completing 17 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown. After the game, Stafford kills the Puget Sound Monster by throwing a beer keg at it. It is later revealed that the Puget Sound Monster is really an escaped seal from the zoo and Stafford is vilified by animal rights groups everywhere. His defense of BUT I WAS DRUNK is rejected and he is banned from the state of Washington for life. This is rescinded after Stafford shoots a series of public service announcements alongside a collection of seals. This backfires on him when behind the scenes video shows him drunkenly riding one of the seals in a swimming pool.
2. Kevin Smith plays, but struggles to run the ball once again. He finishes with 17 carries for 51 yards and no touchdowns. His backup, Maurice Morris, runs for 45 yards on 8 carries and everyone starts to openly wonder whether or not Smith should just sit out for a week or two. Smith appears willing to consider it until he receives a rousing pep talk from Ernie Sims' monkey, who inspires Smith to run for 2000 yards and 20 touchdowns over the last 8 games of the season, thus saving my fantasy team.
3. Calvin Johnson plays - finally - and catches 7 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown. I try to write some more gibberish about Shakespeare and Dr. Manhattan, but St. Calvin senses that it is about to happen and he wrestles me to the ground until the orderlies can sedate me.
4. Matt Hasselbeck wonders how he woke up in the middle of a pee-wee football game, completing 25 of 35 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns. After the game, he buys a rifle and sits quietly by the Woodland Park Zoo in case Matthew Stafford shows up with a beer keg.
5. Julius Jones has a modest game, rushing for 65 yards on only 15 carries. After the game, I foolishly try to once again assert that the Lions run defense is stronger than people realize and then I spend the rest of my post gibbering on apologetically about the self indulgent bullshit from this post. I then spend the next post apologizing for that idiocy and so on, and so on, and . . .
PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: Seahawks 27, Lions 13