Sunday, November 06, 2005

Game Notes - @ Vikings: Same Old Song and Dance

fate comes a-knockin', doors start lockin'
your old time connection, change your direction
ain't gonna change it, can't rearrange it
can't stand the pain when it's all the same to you, my friend

it's the same old story, same old song and dance, my friend
it's the same old story, same old story same old song and dance

I needed a little Aerosmith to unwind with after watching that debacle. Funny how you can find a song to express every emotion in life, isn’t it? Well, at least every emotion in football. What emotion do I have after the last game? I’m getting startlingly close to the last one that anyone in the Lions organization wants a fan to have – indifference.

What was remarkable about this game is how similar it was to nearly every other Lions loss in the last 4+ years. The funny thing is that I’m coming to another realization about why it’s so easy to hate Joey or Mooch – they’re the only names that have consistently been there. The so called core players – Kevin Jones, Roy Williams, Charles Rogers – have been invisible for most of this season. The latest rookie – Mike Williams – has been playing about as bad as a rookie can play and he hasn’t gotten benched. Oh, that’s right – there’s no one on the bench to replace him, and he’s already playing next to a couple of guys who got cut in pre-season. Marcus Pollard has had to be so busy blocking to give whichever QB is back there a few precious seconds that he’s been all but forgotten in the offensive plans.

But really, how is this any different than any other game we’ve seen in the Millen era?

And that’s what is the most frustrating part of being a fan. You know that there are several guys out there who could help, but we can’t seem to get all of them on the field at the same time. Or in the case of today’s game, Mooch decided to keep CRog inactive since he just came back from his suspension. I don’t know if the punishment was meant more for CRog for not practicing hard, for Joey because Mooch’s golden boy Jeff didn’t prove he was any better than him, or for the fans who still have clung to whatever strands of hope we could.

I mean seriously, when you realized that Joey was going to be throwing to BMW, Scotty Vines and Glenn Martinez again, you didn’t really expect anything great out of the passing game, did you? And when KJ went down and Artoose Pinner and Shawn Bryson were left to carry the mail, you didn’t think we’d be able to run it, did you? In fact, would a lineup of BMW, Vines, Martinez, Pollard and Pinner scare anyone in the NFL? Nope, didn’t think so.

So what exactly were we hoping for anyways? That Joey catches lightning in a bottle following his benching? That his new-found propensity to throw it deep, and to even throw a shuffle pass would lead the Lions to the promised land? Won’t happen when the rook is dropping 4 passes. Won’t happen when the RB’s have a combined 16 carries for 41 yards, and Joey is the leading rusher with 17 yards. Won’t happen when the QB is under constant pressure yet again. Won’t happen when this rag-tag squad of receivers can’t get any separation from the defense. In fact, absolutely nothing will happen with the assortment of players this team is fielding.

Enough about that side of the ball as it just depresses me too much. On to the Defense which also is missing a few key players. It’s my belief that the most key of those players has got to be DrĂ© Bly as the D has exactly 0 interceptions since he’s been out. His presence forced opposing QB’s to lock in on the other side of the field, and allowed the rest of the D to cheat that way. The previous 4 games where Dre played, the D averaged 4 takeaways per game. It’s pretty simple math as to how much the D misses Dre.

Shaun Rogers being out also hurts as he could have been all over Brad Johnson today. The pass rush wasn’t too bad, but the Run D really missed Big Baby. Surprisingly I think we may have missed Teddy Lehman even more today. Nearly every one of Minnesota’s big runs were over James Davis. If Teddy were healthy, he’d be starting for Dirty by now, and he could have made a lot of plays that Dirty just can’t make.

And just to add insult to injury, Hanson missed another FG attempt, and we gave up a couple of big returns while getting basically nothing ourselves.

This was just a completely forgettable game. Against a team that was in the middle of their own huge set of troubles, the Lions found a way to make them feel good about themselves. Too bad they can’t ever seem to make their own fans feel good.

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