Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Want More

Note to the rest of the NFL: When that cage gets torn down - and it's on its way down - run.



The Lions won 48-3. Honestly, had they been playing a team that wasn’t freefalling into the abyss, they might have lost. Okay, okay, I know that sounds a little ridiculous, but I think that it’s true. I’m not trying to be a total buzzkill here and I will carry on drinking the blood of Matt Cassel and feasting on the witless tears of Todd Haley along with all the rest of you in a moment, but I think that has to be said before we all get carried away. This was a weird game. For long stretches the Lions looked out of sync, both offensively and defensively. I thought they largely played like shit for most of the first half and yet they went into the locker room up 20-3. Well, okay then. The second half was an absolute circus. Kansas City apparently thought the ball was possessed and gave it away to anyone who came near, apparently in the hopes that their souls would not be harvested by the demons within. They were, of course, wrong, since the Lions both took the ball and then took their souls anyway. So much for that plan, Todd Haley. Possessed balls and soul-taking aside, this game was filled with penalties, guys getting their shirts ripped off, Ndamukong Suh and Tony Scheffler dancing, and I’m pretty sure I even saw a clown or two on fire at one point. Hell, Roary mortally wounded Jamaal Charles. It was strange and vaguely stupid and in the end it was all wonderful. Because even though the Lions looked out of sync, in the end they were able to sit back and watch while the Failure Demons spun around and devoured another team full of woeful misfits and that may be the single greatest sign that things have finally changed around here.

Finally – finally – the Lions aren’t on the other end of that shit. Sure, the Lions weren’t sharp but that didn’t matter. They were just the better team. And by that I don’t just mean that they were more skilled – even though, in the end, that became obvious – but because they stayed calm and just kept coming and kept coming and kept coming while the Chiefs eventually self-destructed. You see, sometimes it’s not even about beating the other guy, it’s just about waiting until he beats himself and the Lions are finally in a position, finally good enough, where they can do exactly that. Matthew Stafford was inaccurate for a lot of the game. The Chiefs were able to run the ball in the first quarter. There was a point when the game could have reasonably swung in either direction, but throughout it all, I think there was a sense that the whole thing was just a giant time bomb waiting to go off. For both sides too, not just the Lions. Throughout it all, I had the sense that the Lions could easily blow it open as long as Stafford could hit some of those third down completions and as long as the Lions could just stuff the Chiefs running game once or twice and force them to try to air it out. Done, and . . . done. And once those two things were accomplished, the Lions were on a rocket ride to a planet filled with candy, blowjobs and candy blowjobs. On the other hand, even when the game was close, there always seemed to be the sense that the Chiefs would fall apart, that the Failure Demons would reach up with those terrible claws we’re all too familiar with and drag them down to hell with them and then that would be that. And . . . done. Once both of those scenarios played out – once the natural order of the universe was restored (and how strange is it that the universe seems to have so been radically reordered that I can reasonably make this statement?) – obscene things happened. Todd Haley began making faces on the sideline usually only seen in the darkest wings of mental hospitals, Matt Cassel put a shotgun beneath his chin and pulled the trigger and I’m pretty sure I saw Roary on the sideline gnawing on what was left of Jamaal Charles’ leg.

And, really, that’s the key here. Even though the Lions didn’t play particularly well for long stretches of this game, they demolished the Chiefs precisely because, deep down, they are now a good team whereas the Chiefs most definitely are not. That contrast – and the realization that the Lions are indeed now a legitimately good team – couldn’t have been played out more clearly than it did today. The Lions made mistakes but it didn’t matter and it didn’t matter because they were simply . . . better.

That doesn’t mean that The Fear still wasn’t running wild through my heart while I was watching. A part of me – and I suspect a part of many of you – was afraid that the Lions little mistakes would come back to haunt them and we’d all be weeping and tearing our hair out following the Chiefs 34-31 come from behind victory, but that is a product of old thinking. We have been conditioned for so long to expect the worst that when the Lions aren’t perfect we believe that it will cost them everything. In a strange way, success doesn’t mean perfection. It simply means the ability to overcome your own mistakes, your own flaws. And the Lions did that, overwhelmingly. Ridiculously, and perhaps I should add, shamefully, The Fear actually crept back in the more out of control the game became. Not because I was worried about the outcome of this game – I am not that crippled for fuck’s sake – but because I began to fret and worry that the runaway joke that this game had become would somehow make the Lions soft for next week, that they would look at the score and then get drunk on their own success and spend the week stumbling around in a deluded haze, forgetting the fact that, well, they weren’t all that good. I mean, Matthew Stafford was a tad inaccurate – not terribly, but enough to make you go “Hmmm.” – the defense gave up too much on the ground and there were still a few too many mental mistakes. (Who can forget the twin penalties that killed big plays on that drive that ended up being a field goal for the Lions instead of a touchdown?) That shit needs to get fixed or the Lions could get slapped around a bit by a good team.

But that is all just a sign of how quickly things have changed around here. I am dizzy and confused, incapable of keeping my wits about me. Here I am, gibbering about The Fear, only a couple of hours after the Lions demolished the Chiefs, 48-3. What the fuck is wrong with me? I don’t know. All I can say is that I am completely incapable of managing my own expectations at this point and so I suspect that The Fear is stepping in to take the place of my own conscience. On the other hand, I take it as a sign of how much I believe in this team that I am not 100% satisfied with what I saw on the field today. Goddammit, I don’t just want the Lions to win, I want them to win the right way. I want them to maraud like wild Huns from beginning to end. I don’t want them to have to overcome mistakes. I want them to feast on the living and to terrify the dead. It is a sign of how far they have come that I’m already worried about what happens on the next level. Perhaps that is a tad presumptuous – and almost definitely ridiculous – but they’ve already proven they can buzzsaw through mediocre and shitty teams. I want to see how they do against the elite now. Oh Lord, it never ends. It never ends. I suppose as Lions fans we are continually doomed to fret and to nervously chew our lips. Shameful, just shameful. I apologize. That is unbecoming, especially given that, again, THE LIONS WON 48-3. What the hell am I gibbering about? The Fear? Honestly, man . . .

But that’s where I’m at right now. I’m satisfied but still restless, and I suppose that’s not a bad place to be. I enjoyed this – thoroughly – it’s just that, well, I want more. Lots more. The Chiefs are terrible. Just atrocious. Their souls belong to hell. Well, whatever’s left over that hasn’t been consumed by Ndamukong Suh and the boys anyway. Make no mistake, the Lions own the Chiefs now. They make them sit down when they pee and they won’t let them make eye contact lest they catch an ass whippin’. This was a prison rape style beatdown. It was rough, it was uncomfortable to watch and in the end, Matt Cassel was shitting blood. And yet, just like prison sex, it wasn’t entirely satisfying. (Good Lord, what kind of fucked up road have I stumbled down here?) I mean, not that I know whether prison sex is satisfying. I’m just guessing here. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. (Look, you know damn well I could have kept going with this for a lot longer. Just be glad that I ended things when I did.)

Anyway, the point I was trying to make before I took the Yellow-Bricked road to Oz (don’t even asked what stained that particular road yellow) is that while there is a definite satisfaction in watching the Chiefs be blown into their base elements, I don’t want to judge the Lions via the Chiefs of the world anymore, you know? That is like trying to use a yardstick to measure a skyscraper. Obviously that is hyperbolic as all hell, but you get my point. We didn’t learn that much about the Lions ability to compete with the Packers of the world. All we learned was what we had already suspected, which is that they have surpassed the Chiefs and their ilk. And that’s great, don’t get me wrong – I’m ecstatic – but damn it all, I want more. I want more. Who knew I could be so greedy?

Perhaps that’s what 0-16 wrought. I am not satisfied with being the King of the Turds. We’ve been there. We’ve done that. Prior to 0-16, we spent the ‘90s as the Kings of Shit Mountain. You know where that gets you? A first round playoff loss and an eventual rocket ride right down to hell, where Matt Millen wears a devil’s costume and spends eternity poking you in the ass with his Trident of Failure. I, uh . . . I don’t want to go back there. Forgive me. I want to run as far from that place as possible and build a suit of armor made up of success and victory. I want it all not just because I’m sure it feels great all on its own but because it is the exact opposite of that hell from which we have climbed, kicking, screaming and bleeding. (And there may have even been the occasional ejaculating but what happens in Hell stays in Hell, at least according to those ads by the Hell Chamber of Commerce.)

But never mind all that. It is unbecoming in the wake of the Lions 48-3 mauling of the Chiefs – and goddammit, part of me just wants to type 48-3 a few hundred times, press submit and call it a day – and really, we should be celebrating and so that’s just what I’m going to do. The Lions won and they won big and my heart soars even while my eyes glance above the horizon, towards the promise of a new world. That smile on my face is one of pure joy, even if it isn’t one of pure satisfaction, and I suppose, therein lies the heart of our continued journey that began in hell and right now ends in a place that exists only in our wildest dreams. But at least it exists somewhere, and thanks to wins like this the line between our dreams and reality has miraculously – and improbably – become blurred, and now I can dream of that place even when I’m awake. And I’m wide awake now and I’m dreaming.

19 comments:

Todd said...

from Kool Aid Man

Neil,

Do you believe yet?

Neil said...

Man, I've believed for a while.

Todd said...

from Kook Aid Man,

Neil,

I told you last week, I went to the game at Tampa, and the outcome was never in doubt. Also Schwartz taking his foot off the gas in the second half was probably due to the oppressive heat. This team is for real. Enjoy my boy, enjoy!

Todd said...

Neil sorry (last post from from Kool Aid Man not Kook Aid Man) too many Grolsch's down here in sunny Florida. Last time I bother you. I occurs to me that the real change in the Lion's fortunes is that we used to have guys who would make an interception only to turn around a fumble the ball away (yeah I know McGraw used to play for us). Anyway the reason we can all feel comfortable with our new reality is that Mayhew and Schwartz know how to find player and put them in position to win. Uncharted territory I know, but it hasn't really happened overnight so there should not be too much surprise.

Have a great Sunday evening. Can't wait for next weeks post, next week's game.

Neil said...

Thanks, man. Feel free to comment all you want.

Yeah, the pendulum seems to have swung the other way in terms of dudes fucking up. Jon McGraw is a great example. He's a dude that the Lions would have needed to lean on in past seasons but this year he wouldn't even have made the team.

Donnie said...

Totally agree. As much as i got off seeing more touchdowns than the scoreboard could keep up with I thought they played better last week.

Cant wait to see the team play their best ball, hopefully its just post lockout syndrome.

No more tripling Calvin though, Nate and Titus are sweet!

Neil said...

Yeah, basically the only thing that can stop this passing game are their own fuck-ups. It's just completely loaded. (Note: This is not an invitation to the Football Gods to injure Matthew Stafford. I have slaughtered a goat and drank its blood as an alternative sacrifice. I may be a vegan, but these are savage times and they call for savage measures. We all do what we can.)

Also, yeah, I don't even think we've seen them at their best, a frightening thought given today's evisceration.

CJ said...

Well, for the first time in a while I saw the 'same ol' Lions'...but they were wearing Chiefs uniforms. That was uncanny. At about the time, they unnecessarily roughed Roary (and in the future when everything we've ever typed into google is publically available and privacy is officially declared dead, 'is Roary concussed?, ' Mascot Wonderlic' and 'why doesn't he get to ride the little cart too?' will all come back to haunt me), my brother said "I never knew that was infectious" and I knew exactly what he meant. Poor bastards.

I thought for 3/4 of the game the defense looked pretty good. The offense was weird and unsatisfying in a sense. Scoring 48 points. (Several of the misses in the first half, I thought were actually catchable, but then a lot of his completions later on, I thought were near interceptions. I was a bit drunk though, so who knows?)

Up is down, black is white (to paraphrase one of your great posts)...but the announcers are still very, very dumb and you, Neil, were very very right. How's it feel?

I hope the people who wanted Stafford to get hit have had their fill though.

Awesome Nate Burleson is awesome. I hope you have time to do your prediction recap and discussion post, because you are one of the few people in these times that holds themselves accountable...and also a few of the things may have played out differently, you were so so right on the big ones.

Anyways, great post. The Lions just beat the Chiefs by a score of 48-3 and we're all 'make better choices, Lions'. These are indeed strange and wonderful times.

Matt said...

You summed up my feelings. I tried to explain this to folks earlier tonight, but I didn't know I could pull out Dante style ass raping references to make my point. Lesson learned. Earlier I was feeling 1 out of 2 would be just great on the next 2 road games ... But Really? I fuckin hate what the metro dome has meant to teams past and the cowpokes just ain't worthy. Fuck em. We might not be perfect, but let's win just for the he'll of it.

CJ said...

Just wanted to apologize...didn't mean to sound like it was a demand for a recap of the predictions post at all! We're lucky to have you write so much for us, and I know that. :) I just thought they were fun,a nd you should get to crow when you're right, that's all. :)

Neil said...

Thank you, CJ and don't worry about it. Say whatever the hell you want to me.

I think I'll probably do it this week at some point, so ... yeah, look for that this week.

Neil said...

"You summed up my feelings. I tried to explain this to folks earlier tonight, but I didn't know I could pull out Dante style ass raping references to make my point. Lesson learned. Earlier I was feeling 1 out of 2 would be just great on the next 2 road games ... But Really? I fuckin hate what the metro dome has meant to teams past and the cowpokes just ain't worthy. Fuck em. We might not be perfect, but let's win just for the he'll of it."

Hell. Yes.

AutospeedConcepts said...

Wow. I mean seriously. Just wow.

The early run defense gave me some reason for pause....don't know that it was J. Charles gettin' injured or the defense makin' some adjustments....but overall....the D....*especially the secondaries* played well overall.

The offense did seem somewhat "off"....but I think its probably more jitters and adjustments to be made more than anything else.

I mean I won't sit here and complain much when we made a team look like our old selves with 6 TO's and smackin' 'em down to the tune of 48 points.

I am not lookin' to GB or Chicago right now. I look to next weeks game at Minny.....and hope thats all the Lions are doin' as well.

Its the coolest fuckin' thing to watch as our young Lions cubs have grown into hungered and blood thirsty beasts with cold hearts leavin' nothin' but carnage and destruction in their wake.


I couldn't help the last Neil. Ur writin' is indeed very unique.

JP said...

"Much love to the fans, we gotta keep winning for 'em"

St. Calvin 9/18/2011

Oh, and I LOVE that Mayhew turned his back on Pioli after the game. This organization is starting to get an identity for, possibly, the first time in my life. Top to bottom, they just have that attitude of "don't fuck with us". Even during the St. Barry days, we were just a collection of dudes and Barry fucking Sanders. Now we are like Prince Vlad, and his House of Spears, ready to impale our opponents and feast on their entrails.

Jesus, that was unnecessary, and in the NFL alot of crazy shit can happen from week to week, but I just feel like we are, from both a mental as well as physical standpoint, getting to the point where we are becoming a team to be feared around the NFL. That being said, it is a long season, and I'm not so drunk on the kool-aid that I can't wipe the honolulu blue from my lips, and think that we will go 16-0.

And I feel like a bit of a pessimist because I feel like next Sunday is another trap game, but historically divisional games are always close, even when we were stinking it up a few years ago. It is obvious that we have better talent at a majority of positions compared to many teams in the NFL, but we just have to make sure that we don't get in our own way.

JP said...

Oh, and CJ mentioned that the announcing was bad, but I only half agree with that. Randy Cross actually seemed to have done his homework and actually seemed to have knowledge of the team and their strengths and what not.

The play by play guy though was pure shit. He even violated the number one rule of being impartial by saying that he "liked" the Chiefs to win the game. Of course that was in the first quarter, before Randy made him eat crow for the whole second half. And I still consider it a victory if the lizard king doesn't pop his head up in a game. His appearance usually means that the Refs fucked up and need affirmation from the league office.

Bubbalouuey said...

The Rookie Titus Young ripping the jersey off Flowers was a big highlight, he must be hanging out with Vlad and the boys to get such attitude

Neil said...

"I mean I won't sit here and complain much when we made a team look like our old selves with 6 TO's and smackin' 'em down to the tune of 48 points."

You're absolutely right, my man. Take all the bullshit away and this was an absolute demolition. The difference between the two teams was staggeringly obvious.

Neil said...

JP,

Yeah, I read that bit about Mayhew snubbing Pioli and was fucking delighted. Attitude, man. That's what it's all about.

Also, yeah, the play by play dude was fucking awful. At one point he said something - I can't remember what but it was hilariously dumb - and then waited for Cross to agree with him only to be met by a big stretch of embarrassed silence. Oh well, at least it wasn't Dick Stockton.

Neil said...

"The Rookie Titus Young ripping the jersey off Flowers was a big highlight, he must be hanging out with Vlad and the boys to get such attitude"

Yeah, the dude tried to fuck with him and got summarily owned, which I take as an omen for how this season is set to play out.