Monday, December 19, 2005
Game Notes - vs. Bengals: 2 to go...
Rarely am I at a loss for how to begin one of my game notes posts, but I just don't know where to begin today. There were too many things that all went wrong in this game, and too many distractions to discuss. How about chronological order? OK, here goes...
Angry Fan March - I wish the anger and frustration of the fans in our area could be transformed into intensity, desire and production on the field. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet. At least the march was peaceful, but it accomplished nothing other than to show nationally how upset our fans are with this franchise.
Orange Out - This could have been the dumbest idea I've ever heard of. It's one thing to hear fans booing you, it's another to feel like a visitor in your home field. If you've ever played, you know the advantage of home field fans can have on your emotions, adrenaline and intensity. When the fans turn their back on you like that, it would have to be the most utterly defeated feeling you could ever have.
Opening Kickoff - If there was ever an omen about what was in store for the day, that was it. If you don't think the booing and the orange in the stands had anything to do with that fumble, you need to re-think what you're saying. At least the D held the Bengals to a field goal on their possession.
Lions first possession - And this was the omen for the Lions O. Three and out after Garcia throws two moonballs under a heavy rush. Wait, I thought he was starting because of his mobility and that he could buy more time? Oh, that's right, he threw both of those from the pocket - or what was left of it. Does anyone really think he's the Lions best option at QB any more? I sure don't. He has no arm. None.
Bengals next three possessions - TD's. Sandwiched around an interception, and the only decent drive for Garcia on the day. Garcia's first two picks were not his fault, any more than the first two picks in the first Bears game were Joey's fault. Both hit our receivers in the worst possible place - right in their hands. The first went to some backup TE/FB that I've never heard of, and my first reaction was "who is this clown, and why the heck is he on the field? The next one went to iRoy, and he alligator armed it, creating an early Christmas present for Delthea O'Neal.
In between those two INT's, the Lions actually scored. Although it took a great run after a dump off to Bryson to keep the drive alive on a 3rd and 9 and a strike to a streaking CRog to give them first and goal before iRoy snuck it in. The most important thing there - we had a CRog sighting! Holy cow, he does have hands, and speed, and the ability to get open! We haven't seen that since... um... last year in preseason when he and Joey looked like they were reading each others minds. So Garcia and Jauron thanked CRog by playing Vines and not throwing him the ball again. Typical for this franchise...
Going into halftime, we saw another Lions 3 and out, and another Garcia interception, this one on a moonball. Sorry, but Garcia has no business ever attempting another throw longer than 10 yards, simply because it's too highly probably that it will be intercepted. I was waiting for Garcia to get the hook to start the second half, but Jauron obviously wanted to see if the Lions could become the 4th NFC North to give the Bengals 5 INT's in a game. It turns out we fell short of that goal, only throwing the 3 in the first half.
Start of the second half, the Bengals march right down the field and score again. It's now 31-7, and the D has looked like they couldn't stop a Junior High team from running on them. They have had a couple of INT's in the 2nd quarter to keep the Bengals from scoring even more on them, but the Bengals still haven't punted. The problem appears to be simply the lack of our starters at LB and the secondary. Another of the "Who the heck is this guy?" players is this kid named LeVar Woods who looked like our best LB'er out there. Of course he was picked up all of about 5 weeks ago, and he was formerly a backup for the Cards, so that definitely qualifies him as the best LB on the squad. But without Bailey, Holmes, Lehman and Lewis playing, what more could we expect? And now we're also without Holt at S, and Bryant has been done for a long time at CB, and Dre' is playing with one hand, so the secondary is getting shakier by the minute as well. Opposing runners need only to break through our line, and it's free sailing for them. At least until Baby catches them from behind - that guy is still just a freak of nature. But it's still 31-7 with 9:30 left in the 3rd quarter. Ouch.
The next drive, Pinner and Garcia manage to move the Lions a bit down the field, enough for a FG. Pinner does most of the work, and Garcia gets credit for another field goal. He's now responsible for the Lions scoring 46 points in the last 13+ quarters (7 vs ATL, 16 vs MIN, 13 vs GB, and 10 vs CIN). And he follows this up by posting yet another 3 and out, dumping off to Pollard for a 3 yard gain on 3rd and 5. And FINALLY Jauron has seen enough. After the Bengals score AGAIN, it's time for the hook, and in comes Joey.
And how does Joey do when he comes in? He lights it up. Seriously. Joey goes 5-6 for 68 yards including the TD to CRog on his first drive. The TD play was one we expected to see a lot before the season started - CRog taking a slant to the house. And this once again raises even more questions than it answers, like "Why did it take this long for us to see this?" and "Can they do this again?" and "Who are those two going to be playing for and making the Lions look like idiots next year?". And once again, Jauron rewards Joey and CRog by calling plays to run out the clock - after a missed onside kick and ANOTHER Bengals score.
At least we now are pretty certain that Jauron won't be the head coach next year. But the questions are once again going to be flying from every direction. Who is going to start next week? Will CRog get more PT? Who are these scrubs dressed as football players? Will Millen fire Jauron before the next game? Are the Lions cursed? Is Dre' now going to rip Garcia the way he ripped Joey? Or is Dre' just going to rip the fans? Will Killer now write that the problem is 95% Jauron? Will Mitch Albom and Joey go play piano at a bar and sip martinis as they discuss the mood of the team while remaining upbeat and positive about life in general? Will Garcia's GF call another radio show, or will she go dancing in Windsor? And if so, where?
At least Bernie has it right on channel 4 - "Like sands through the hourglass, these are the day of our Lions." The soap opera continues...