Sunday, December 11, 2011

Your Lucky Day in Hell

To be honest, it’s hard to know how to feel right now. Happy because the Lions won? Pissed off because both the offense and defense looked like shit for much of the game, including the entire second half? Relieved because for once we weren’t the team on the ass end of an epic ref buggering? Kinda depressed because, well, we needed to be on the giving end for a change in order to beat the fucking Vikings? All of the above? I don’t know. I just don’t fucking know. A part of me wants to be a homer and just celebrate the fact that the Lions won the damn game, and really, any other reaction at this point, given where we’ve come from, is kind of ridiculous and vaguely shameful, but there is the other part of me that spent large chunks of that game shooting laser beams out of my eyeballs and speaking in tongues, my face melting like I just looked inside the fucking Ark of the Covenant. This was not a good game. Anyone telling you that it was is either desperate to convince themselves that it was out of some need to believe in a thing called love or is outright delusional. I’m sorry to be so harsh, but . . . yeah.

The Lions won by six points. There were moments in that game when it felt like the Lions should win by 60. Yet, they only won by six. And they only won by six because they were outgained by almost 150 yards and, more specifically, they were outgained by almost 150 yards because they said fuck it and did all of the dumb little mental things which have driven me nuts all year. This is a talented football team, a damn beastly football team. It is not a sound football team. It apparently views containment as some sort of Communist plot or something, it refuses to wrap up when it tackles and it makes a million little mistakes throughout the course of the game that somehow add up to the point that they almost erase a five turnover advantage. This is not a good thing.

But still, the Lions won and the Lions won because they are an undeniably better team than the Vikings. This struck me early on – the Lions can beat bad teams now even when they are playing like shit. This is a radical departure from the normal order of things and somewhere Charles Darwin’s brain just exploded (Well, actually, his brain is rotten and crawling with maggots somewhere but honestly that’s not that different from the brains of most living people, so . . .) The Lions can fuck around and do all of the little things wrong and get away with it – mostly, anyway – against a team like the Vikings. That’s an undeniable sign of progress.

But there’s a big difference between actually winning a game like that and deserving to win like that. If we were Vikings fans, we’d probably all be howling now like we were following that atrocity in Chicago during Week 1 last year. The Lions got away with one. They survived this debacle because the refs are worthless and incompetent and so be it. But it doesn’t really leave me with a satisfied taste in my mouth, you know?

The Lions should have killed the Vikings, just fucking mauled them, but they didn’t. Not really, anyway. The Vikings mauled themselves and the Lions were there to laugh about it and dance in the endzone. In between, the Lions offense farted around and gave away drives and the defense let the Vikings slug their way down the field. The Vikings were so bad that the Lions were gifted with five turnovers and dropped three or four more gimme interceptions. And yet the Vikings almost won the fucking game. Think about THAT.

Indeed. And that’s where I am right now – happy and relieved that my team got the win in the end but kind of sad and mildly pissed off by how they got there. The truth is, is that neither team deserved to win this game. This game was a weary and ragged sigh of relief followed by a shake of the head and a shrug of the shoulders, not a leap off your couch and pump your fist and taunt the losers kind of win. I mean, okay, maybe some of you did that anyway, but you know what I mean, right? When this game ended, I actually felt a vague sense of disgust for the whole goddamn thing and then while I was watching highlights of the other games, I had to keep reminding myself that the Lions actually won. For instance, I saw that the Falcons came back to beat the Panthers and I remember thinking “Shit, they just went a game up on us,” before I remembered that the Lions actually won. It was fucking weird. It was ugly enough that even though the Lions won, it felt like they kinda lost. I’m not sure if that’s a sign of progress or of my own ungrateful need for more. Maybe both, but fuck it, I’m rambling again.

The point is this – the Lions won but they didn’t look like the team that they need to be if they want to take the next step in their evolution as a team. Maybe that’s my own impatience seeping in, but really, can you blame me? Still, while it’s nice to be able to beat up on the shitty teams, it would be even nicer to honestly beat them up without feeling like we just robbed them blind. I don’t mind slapping the shit out of the cripple in the wheelchair. I am not above such things. But it’s kind of unseemly to try to beat up that cripple only to have him swat us away and maybe ram us with his chair a few times, forcing us to retreat, and then to watch that cripple fall out of the wheelchair all by himself before running up and kicking him and acting like we just beat his ass. We didn’t. He just fell out of the goddamn chair and he and I both know that if he had working legs he would have whipped our ass.

Fortunately for us, the Vikings don’t have working legs. And so they’re the ones lying on the ground, whimpering and bitching at anyone who will listen about how unfair the world is and while it feels good – damn good – to not be the ones on the ground for a change, it’s not something that I’m reveling in either, you know? I’m just relieved and vaguely embarrassed.

I’m not sure where I’m going with all this but that’s because I still haven’t completely wrapped my head around this game. I’m sure someone will come in here and tell me I’m a bad fan for not appreciating what I have now, but hey, I’m just trying to be honest here, both with you and with myself. There is a big part of me – a giant part – which understands that my team is 8-5 and that is a miraculous light year or two or 1,000 away from where we were and this has me overjoyed. Don’t let that get away from you. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t be honest with ourselves either and recognize that, hey, this game was ugly as fuck.

There are obvious extenuating circumstances – the loss of both Suh and Nick Fairley crippled the line depth and the losses of Chris Houston and Louis Delmas critically weakened the back end of the defense – and we shouldn’t lose sight of that either. I mean, this was not the Lions at Maximum Warp Drive Fuck The World Here We Come capacity. But here’s the thing – the team that was out on that field should have been able to slap around the fucking Vikings and, well, they didn’t.

Yeah, you can frame the game a bunch of different ways. You can say that the Lions led 21-0 and that the Vikings had to scramble at the end to make it close. You can even say that the Lions let up after getting out to such a big lead, but such framings ignore what actually happened. The Vikings moved the ball on the Lions defense and the Lions offense failed to do so with anything even approaching consistency against the Vikings defense. The Lions were there to pounce on the Vikings mistakes and there is something to be said for that, but that just meant that the Lions should have won by 36. Instead they won by 6.

But again, they won and that can’t be ignored and again, I’m rambling, and going in circles, but that is because this is what my brain is doing right now. I’m confused. The Lions looked like shit. They did. You could argue this but you wouldn’t be right. Matthew Stafford was okay – not great, but okay – but the Lions offense as a whole couldn’t find a rhythm. If the Lions would have played a half-decent team today they would have lost by double digits. I don’t think this is all that outrageous, or even arguable to be honest with you. Had they played the Falcons again or the 49ers, they would have gotten their asses kicked. Again, there are some extenuating circumstances, but fuck extenuating circumstances. Right now, the Lions are not a good football team and if it makes me a bad fan to admit that to myself then so be it.

I apologize. That is more passive aggressive than I wanted it to be. I’m just in a confused place right now. Well, not really. I know how I feel. The problem is that, right now, there is a big difference between how I actually feel and how I think I’m supposed to feel. Hell, maybe that doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know. But it makes sense to me and in this strange and fucked up world, that’s something, you know?

This has all been a rambling mess and I apologize. Sometimes these things just don’t go like you want them to, which, I suppose, is a fitting metaphor in itself for what went down today. There is no flow to this piece. None at all. Just like there wasn’t any flow to today’s game. Again, I suppose that’s appropriate. I could try to fix it but that would be dishonest of me and wouldn’t do any of us any favors at all. It is what it is and it is up to us all to come to terms with that.

But since there is already no flow to this goddamn thing, I guess maybe I’ll just take this moment to say something we all can agree on: fuck you, Jared Allen. Just . . . fuck you, buddy. I understand that he’s basically doing the pro wrestling equivalent of jawjacking with the fans outside of the ring and strutting in front of retards so that they’ll boo him, and hey, he got me, but still, all that said, fuck him. Your team is 2-11, your old coach basically called you a soft bitch in the press and your fake bullshit is transparent and ridiculous. Once again, I turn to the words of my good friend Raven Mack, who had this to say about Jared Allen once upon a time, during one of our many insanity induced bouts of hysterical rambling (I think it was when we were doing our Armchair Linebacker All-Pro Team over the summer, but who can say for sure?):


“Jared Allen puts on this image of being a crazy redneck weirdo dude, and you would think he'd be the obvious choice for a team like this. But I don't know, something doesn't jibe with that dude. It all seems very contrived, like he's a cast member on MTV's Real World Minneapolis or something, not a for-real crazy ass redneck type who would tattoo a giant catfish eating a naked woman on his forearm saying BOTTOM FEEDER in old English letters. He does purposely choose the number 69, which is a sign that maybe he's for-real, but I don't know. I just don't trust those beady eyes of his. They're not beady in a "let's push the couch in front of the door because we've been up for four days and I'm pretty sure I hear the cops outside because those motherfuckers know about that girl in Henderson City last month" type beady eyes that make sense because you've been there; it's that shifty beady eyes of a guy who buys canning jars at Target to have a "moonshine party" where you really are just drinking vodka or gin, the beady little eyes of a used car dealer, not a meth dealer. Meth dealers do not lie to you - in fact, they are brutally honest. Used car dealers are fucking scum, even the good ones you went to high school with. So that's why I chose John Abraham, because we don't need a guy like Jared Allen around.”

And there you have it.

But I’m not finished. Oh no. An extra special helping of Fuck You to that asshole Thom Brennaman. First of all . . . “Thom”??? It’s either Tom or Thomas. Thom makes it sound like your parents had a lisp and confused the doctors. Okay, that cheap shot out of the way, fuck you, Thom, for sounding oh so eager to get on your Joe Buck deluxe model high horse and sermonize about the Lions and their fiendish, ghoulish thug ways. When the Lions were called for a lame personal foul following an interception in the third quarter, when Christian Ponder got bounced around, Thom practically came on air. It was ridiculous. The motherfucker probably had his pants around his ankles, sweat dripping from his forehead, an ugly erection in one hand, his other hand grasping for Brian Billick’s throat (I’m making an educated guess and assuming that Thom Brennaman is into breath play. Why not?), his voice all husky and filled with smoky sex and half-mad lust when he rasped “Finaaaaaaaaaalllllly” like he had been waiting all that time in the booth just for the opportunity to bust a moral nut in outrage. Fuck him. People like him are part of the problem. They make it harder for the Lions to get taken seriously or to be treated fairly by the officials. He is so obsessed with perpetuating a storyline that he lets it override everything else happening. The Lions jump offsides once and the motherfucker is carrying on like they just got caught taking a hatchet to Sheriff Goodell’s poor old mother. You could practically see him shaking his head, all paternalistic and dickish. It was shameful and it made the game a shittier experience for me, the fan. Fuck him and fuck everyone like him.

Okay, where was I before I jumped into cursing people out? I don’t know. All I can think is that the Lions were good, bad, lucky, unlucky and everything in between today. This game was both awesome and it really, really sucked. What do you say after that? How do you try to make sense out of it without just making a dumb mess? Well, if this shitty post is any indication, you don’t. Instead, you just do what I did after the game and you just sort of shake your head, you shrug and you move on. The Lions won. It wasn’t particularly satisfying to watch, but they won. This is a good thing. I suppose satisfaction will have to wait, but what the hell, we’re used to waiting. Blah blah blah . . . fuck it. I don’t know what to say. Fuck it. I suppose that’s all you can say. At least we didn’t lose. And hopefully, next week we’ll get both a win and blessed satisfaction. Until then . . . Jesus, this post sucks. Wait, am I still on the goddamn air? What do you mean I can’t say goddamn on the air? This is bullsh . . .

14 comments:

AutospeedConcepts said...

I'm there with U Neil.This game started out and I kept thinkin' to myself after the 1st TD off the forced fumble...."yeah, this will be a blowout". But then, then the other Lions showed up. The talented drunken mishaps, growlin' at the top of their lungs and beatin' their chests....but misisn' all the little things like tacklin' and sound assignment football. And I watched that large lead they had built dwindle into the gut wrenchin' last play of the game.

And strangely, I couldn't pull myself away as I said to myself....*U better not find a way to blow this entire game....don't U fuckin' even dare think about it....".

So yeah....they won. The refs missed yet another call that hey, actually went our way for a change. Nevermind the fact that after the huge Pettigrew 1st down earlier that he was facemasked somethin' kinda fierce and that went for a no call....*goes to prove these things balance out 1 way or another.

Stafford sacked 5 times. Again....5 times. I was havin' visions of some1 beamin' Allen in the center of his forehead with a sharp pebble or somethin' at that point but to no avail.

But hey, they held on to win. Wasn't pretty or dominant. But thats OK. Maybe when they are back to as close to 100% the defense will get back on track. Its not like there was a helluva pass rush....but the TO's did help to soften that....not that I'm complainin'. I think.

They won. 8-5. Didn't look good. But a win is a win. But they had better start findin' ways to actually play smarter football. Guess I said all that to make that point.

Neil said...

"I'm there with U Neil.This game started out and I kept thinkin' to myself after the 1st TD off the forced fumble...."yeah, this will be a blowout". But then, then the other Lions showed up. The talented drunken mishaps, growlin' at the top of their lungs and beatin' their chests....but misisn' all the little things like tacklin' and sound assignment football. And I watched that large lead they had built dwindle into the gut wrenchin' last play of the game."

I'm right with you on pretty much everything you said but this especially.

Jeremy said...

This was an incredibly frustrating game to experience. The entire second half felt like the castle we had built this entire season was slowly falling apart.

But in the end, this is where we stand: We all know the Lions are better than they have played in the past four or so games. The Lions still don't have a "bad loss" to their record. The Lions are 8-5 and likely will only need one more win the rest of the way to clinch a playoff berth for the first time in over a decade. And as much as I'd love to see the Lions make a deep run in the post-season, my realistic expectations start and end with "make playoffs".

So while in-game, frustrations are incredibly high. Post-game, I am living in a world of sweet, sweet relief.

Neil said...

Jeremy,

That is entirely well thought-out and rational. How dare you!

No, but really, you're right and I think that's where my mind is headed too. Contextualization is key, as Moses so famously said on the Mountain.

DarkStar said...

Yeah, watching this game was like watching a root canal in super slow-motion. The Lions had a chance (several chances, actually) to just put their foot on the throat of the Vikings and crush them like in the Chiefs game.

The fact that they got the win despite the platoon of missing players due to injury (Kevin Smith, Chris Houston, Nick Fairley, Aaron Berry, Louis Delmas, et al) and gross stupidity (Ndamukong Suh) helps quite a bit. The fact that the Lions had to pull off a last second Benny Hill skit in order to secure the win is maddening. The fact that galactic karma finally swung around on the DeAndre Levy non call, meh. (BTW, fuck ALL sportswriters on all national NFL beats for crying about this one ad nauseum. Seriously, fuck all of you. I can name at least a dozen calls against the Lions that were questionable at best (the chop block call on Thanksgiving when no offensive lineman was engaged with Clay Matthews) to flat out bullshit dead wrong fuckups (The "Roughing the Passer" call on KVB in the same game when he hit Rodgers at the exact same time that the ball left his hand). In conclusion, calls go both ways, things eventually even out, and FUCK ALL OF YOU BEAT WRITER FAGGOTS that have a hard on for the "Detroit is dirty" narrative.

Neil said...

Goddamn right, man.

Todd said...

The Gods smile upon us and give us the precious gift of a win, partly deserved and partly not deserved. What do we do? We whine about the win not being "right", or "pretty", or "meaningful". Boys, it is December 16, week 14 of the NFL season and the Lions are playing meaningful games (games that have meaning for them and for us). The Lions are in the thick of a playoff race. Why are we gnashing our teeth and wringing our hand? Why so much despair? At this time of the year take the win, put aside the negative thoughts about poor play, mistakes, try to get as healthy as possible and concentrate on the next "meaningful December" game.

HillHeeb said...

I've decided to write this game off. It was like the worst possible match up for Detroit once Ponder was executed.

The problem is Minnesota is a team of Running Backs. Best player is a running back. Best wide receiver is a running back. Running backs are running backs. Backup QB is a running back.

Detroit have a suspect run defence. If Ponder had stayed it, he'd have thrown 10 picks and fumbled five times. Instead, they went with a Running Back offence. Running back passes it to Running Back. Running Back runs it from the shotgun. Nightmare.

And now, enjoy Running Back looking like an alien word.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the game, I was there with the rest of you, screaming like somebody had poured burning phosphorus on my balls.

However, after I got a chance to process the Win and I saw the Hurt and Missing (Suh) List on Defence, I said "wow, fuck it".

True, the offence stalled a bit in the second half, but the real story is Minnesota ran all over the place on us and kept our offence off the field. This was due to injuries and the missing House of Spears. Like Hillheeb said, it was kind of a worst case matchup for us, under the circumstances.

Leos get a pass. This is not a game to analyze.

I don't want to hear anybody bitch about the refs for a bit. They just HANDED us a whole win and kept us in the playoff hunt! Not that Minnesota would have necessarily scored...but I refuse to even consider the dark thought that they MIGHT have.

Lord Anonymous

Neil said...

You're all correct, of course. This is what happens when you try to synthesize an entire second half spent shooting lasers from my eye-balls, gnashing my teeth and beating my wife (just kidding: I'm not married and if I was she'd probably beat me. I am a gentle lamb.) into coherent thoughts and words. In retrospect, OF COURSE I am happy about the win and I don't want to be one of those fans who is always showing up and Tsk Tsking everyone for being happy and acting like the fucking Grinch. So, yeah, Todd especially, you're right.

That said, that second half was ass ugly and I'm not going to ignore that, you know? I've been told by a few people now that I should just enjoy it and not try to analyze it, which ... well, yeah okay, great but then why the hell am I even writing then? I mean I could just write "Yay, we won!" and call it a day but I could just do that on Twitter too, you know? I'm not going to ignore the complexity of my feelings or thoughts just to placate some need within me - and within the fanbase - to just play Don't Worry Be Happy whenever the Lions end up ahead on the scoreboard. When they were losing the last couple of years, I did my best to try to maintain focus, look to the future and talk about how one day things would be better. I was honest with my thoughts, with me feelings, both the good and the bad and that's what's at the heart of this whole strange experiment of mine. So it would be completely dishonest and I would be betraying everything that I try to do here if I just erased a part of my mind and slammed the door shut on part of my feelings simply because people didn't want to hear that shit. I understand. I do. I get annoyed when people bitch in the wake of a win too, but, well, sometimes there are just things to bitch about and after that game was over, I felt like bitching more than I felt like celebrating. Maybe that's a poor reflection on me, but rewatch that second half and if you can do so with a smile on your face and joy in your heart, then you're a better soul than me, Mary Poppins. (No insult intended. Mary Poppins was a peach.)

Now, with all THAT said, both HillHeeb and Lord Anonymous are correct. Looking back, I'm just relieved that we won, and given the circumstances, I think we can give the ugliness a pass. It's just that I don't enjoy celebrating ugliness just because the Ends justified the Means. I am no Machiavelliest after all, just an insane man trying to make sense of this strange and terrible world.

But yeah, hooray! The Lions won!

DoubleA said...

Someone on the Lions 'D' said after the game that the didn't have a scheme for Webb at all, so they had to adjust on the fly. Therefor, I blame the offense for this game more than anything. Do they not practice 3rd-and-1 at all during the week? That killed us more than anything. We better get at least 2 or 3 starter healthy for the next game.

Neil said...

Yeah, the blown opportunities that were RIGHT THERE are what killed me throughout the game and are what turned this from YAY GUYS WE WON! into YAY GUYS WE WON BUT ...

Ryden said...

It is really sad when we have to pass it everytime we get into a 3rd and 1 situation. I really hope that somehow K Smith gets healed because I don't think any of RBs can get a yard when we need it.

Neil said...

Yeah, I remember there was a play in the 4th quarter where the Lions had 4th and 1 deep in Minnesota territory and were seemingly contemplating going for it rather than kicking a lousy field goal. I think it was 31-21 at that point and a field goal would've kept it a two score game (In retrospect, I'm glad they kicked it, otherwise it would have been a 3 point game down the stretch and . . . yeah.) And even though a part of me was all YEAH, PUT THAT FUCKING DAGGER IN THEIR HEART ALREADY another part of me felt like 4th and 1 might as well have been, like, 4th and 7 because the only way they were getting a first down was through the air.