Monday, December 12, 2005

Game Notes - @ Packers: Another theft...

Photo: DAVID P. GILKEY / Detroit Free Press

If ever there was one picture worth 1000 words, that was the one. Samkon Gado intentionally fumbling - or attempting to pass as the ref's decided to call it after the fact - the Lions being awarded a Safety, and then having it taken away from them. We've seen this before, haven't we? Marcus Pollard against Tampa? That's twice in one season that the ref's have changed the outcome of a Lions game on a bad replay reversal. I don't know any other clubs that have as legitimate right to complain about the outcome of two of their games as the Lions have. And that's not even getting into the Panthers game.

Already in discussions, some people like to claim that if the Lions had played better earlier in the game, that a call like that wouldn't have mattered. That's a ridiculous argument - if the Packers had played better earlier in the game, the call wouldn't have mattered going the other way. Yes, had the Lions punched either of Hanson's sub-30 yard field goals into the endzone, the play would have been insignificant. Yes, if Jauron had kicked a field goal instead of trying for the TD on the previous play the reversal wouldn't have mattered. But again, those arguments are ridiculous. I watched the game at Buffalo Wild Wings in Lake Orion, and the entire bar was screaming about "why didn't they go for the TD" on the first two field goal attempts. When they finally do go for the TD, and don't make it, it's disingenuous to then state "they should have kicked the field goal". The fact is that the game played out the way it did, and that incorrect reversal changed the outcome of the game. And that is just wrong.

As far as the game play went, once again Roy Williams (iRoy) showed why I think he's one of the biggest prima donnas in football. On one hand, he makes a great juggling TD grab. On the other, he drops an easy one over the middle - which had he realized that he could have scored from about 70 yards out, he probably would have concentrated more and caught it. The inconsistency of his game play is maddening. He shows skills that are just awesome to see, and then he drops the easy ones. Until he starts catching all the easy ones, I'm not going to ease up with my opinion of him. Az Hakim was chastized and run out of town because he made some big catches but dropped the easy ones, so just because iRoy makes some highlight reel catches, I'm not ready to forgive him for dropping the easy ones either.

Kevin Jones started out looking like the back we expected to see all year, then he got hurt. This has truly been a sophomore season to forget for KJ. He's been injured a lot and had to play behind some of the worst O-Line play we've seen. Every time he looks like he's ready to bust loose, he gets dinged up or the coaches inexplicably decide to use Shawn Bryson and Artose Pinner. He's got to be the Lion most looking forward to next season as it will surely be better than this one.

As for Jeff Garcia... Well I now will make my opinion official - he's a step down from Joey Harrington. He just doesn't have an arm to be playing in the NFL. He threw one deep pass that Roy caught, but had Ahmad Carroll actually looked back, he could have intercepted it easily. In Garcia's last three appearances, he's now a combined 44 of 83 for 392 yards - 53% - with 2 TD's and 2 INT's. There are people who will argue that we've got to give him as many starts as Joey had to truly judge him, but again, that's BS. It's week 14 of the season, he's 35 years old, a 3-time pro bowler, and has played in this system for 7 years. If anything, he should have been ahead of Joey from day 1 of training camp, and Joey beat him for the job in camp easily. Again, I'm not saying Joey is great, just that Jeff shouldn't be our starter. He just doesn't have it anymore.

At least I don't have to talk too much about the O-Line today. There were a few stupid penalties, but it was fewer than in previous weeks. KJ was running well while he was in there, and Jeff actually had time to throw for most of the day. Sure Dominic Raiola can't hold ground against Grady Jackson - but he's outweighed by almost 60 pounds and that's never been his strength. The problem is that the Lions don't seem to understand that dynamic of their own team, and kept pounding Pinner up Raiola's back in short yardage, only to get stuffed again. Had they paid any attention, they would have been running behind Woody and Butler who are their two best road-graders.

And that brings me to the playcalling. Once again, I was able to put up big numbers on QB1 when the Lions had the ball. If you're not familiar with QB1, it's an electronic game at the bar where you try to predict what play a team will run and get points for correctly predicting the plays. When Mooch was coach, it was easy to post big scores. But when we switched to Olsen, supposedly we thought the playcalling would be much less predictable. How wrong we were. I'm not sure if he feels handicapped by Garcia so he can't call any deep passes, or if he forgets that KJ can make some of those carries go for big gainers, but Pinner and Bryson can't. But the playcalling is still amazingly predictable. Especially in short yardage in the red zone. If anyone doubts why the Lions have only scored 14 TD's in 32 red zone trips, just look at the playcalling we had in there. In 4 possessions, we had 20 plays in the red zone. Of those plays, 13 were runs, 6 were passes, and 1 pass was called back on a penalty. Of those plays, only 2 passes were to the end zone - one to Mike Williams and the TD to iRoy. How easy is it to defend the Lions in the Red Zone when only 10% of their plays actually are throws into the end zone? Pretty darn easy.

As for the D, they did a decent job of holding the Pack in check, save the one long Samkon Gado TD run. In fact outside of that run, Gado was pretty average - 28 carries for 107 yards - 3.8 per carry. But the 64 yarder happened, and it was a huge momentum shifter. The D-Line played pretty well, and we've already covered the Saf...err..incomplete. The only real negative on their play was the Shaun Rogers unnecessary roughness penalty. I'm not sure what he was thinking, but I'd guess it's a culmination of frustration over the entire season, capped by being mad that they even had to play in OT to begin with. Other areas of the D were pretty solid as well. Yes, Favre completed 21-31 (68%) for 170 with 1 INT, but it was all dink-n-dunk type of stuff - the same stuff that our QB's get ripped on mercilessly for doing.

In the end, the Packers were given a gift win. It's hard to be frustrated any longer as the same pathetic output from this team has been happening for far too long. For the second time this season, the Lions were flat-out robbed of a victory. Just imagine the uproar if this had happened to one of the NFL's 'glamour' teams like the Patriots, Colts, Giants or Cowboys. There would be heads rolling in the officiating ranks, and there is no reason that there shouldn't be for that call. But it's just the sad-sack Lions, so nothing will be done about it.

Thankfully there are only 3 more Lions games to watch this year. I don't know if I could take any more heartbreak than that...


jimmm said...

I can't wait until you get to write your fine column about our winning franchise - and all of the positives! (Next year ;~))

Uncle Miltie said...

Thanks for the compliment. I wish I could write about a winner right now. This losing really wears on the eternal optimist in me...

The Bear said...

As always, I enjoy your writing. I put a link to your site off mine, so hopefully you will have some more readers this week.

Anonymous said...


brickmyers said...

Roy is a complete moron. What about the celebration on T-giving? YOU WERE LOSING 27-7 ROY!!!! Way to embarass yourself and the team. As for qb's, time to start over. Orlovsky is a Batch wannabe, Joey is done it Detroit and so is Garcia. Vince Young? Leinart? Nah, I think ol' Matt is gonna bring in Jesse Palmer. Thats right, the batchelor, that would make sense to Matt.

"With the 4th pick in the draft, the Detroit Lions select...Jason Avant, University of Michigan"

That will make it better. The pain is almost over.

I would love to have Herm Edwards here next year to show these losers how to play.