Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson played his first NFL game in 1992; more than 20 years ago.
Every one of his 21 NFL seasons has been in Detroit, yet he still hasn’t beaten the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
21 seasons ago, in 1991, the Detroit Lions went to Wisconsin and beat the Packers. Since then, Detroit has exactly zero wins when facing the Packers on the road, and that trend continued on Sunday.
The Packers came out of a snowy Lambeau Field with a 27-20 win, running the Lions’ record to 4-9. The Lions’ ninth loss of the year clinched the NFC North cellar, a position they have become all too familiar with in the last decade.
In addition to finding themselves in last place in the NFC North, the Lions also find themselves at the bottom of the entire conference. At 4-9, Detroit is ahead of no NFC team, although they do own the tiebreaker with the also 4-9 Eagles.
Can it be that the Detroit Lions are the conference’s worst team? Or have they just found themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time?
Stafford’s play must improve or the Lions are doomed
Both arguments can be made, and both are right in some ways. The Lions have an immensely talented roster that has shown spots of excellence at times this season. In the first half of this game in Green Bay, Detroit moved the ball effectively on the ground and through the air, and jumped out to a 14-3 lead.
It was then that the game changed dramatically.
Matthew Stafford dropped back to pass for the Lions, but lost control of the ball and couldn’t dive back on it in the slick conditions. Instead, Packers defensive end Mike Daniels scooped up the loose ball and ran it in for the score.
It was all downhill from there for Detroit.
The fun part now becomes the finger pointing. Who is to blame for the Lions’ demise in 2012? In this game it was a team effort, but Stafford sticks out as a good starting point. After losing the fumble that resulted in a Green Bay touchdown, Stafford never looked the same. He began the game on point, but after he lost the fumble, Stafford unraveled.
The next trip down the field, the Lions were driving once again and Stafford once again turned the ball over, this time via interception. I can’t say for sure that it was Stafford’s fault, as his new wide receiver Kris Durham may have run a bad route, but he threw into tight coverage nonetheless. His play only got worse in the second half; he was floating balls much too regularly and his accuracy was poor.
Defensively, Justin Durant played as bad a game as I can remember him playing as a Lion. When Aaron Rodgers scrambled Durant’s way in the third quarter, Durant seemed more concerned with shoving Jermichael Finley out of bounds than he was with stopping Rodgers short of the first down. Rodgers not only got the first down, but scampered 27 yards into the end zone for the go-ahead score. Durant also missed several tackles, and got burned for a ten yard run because he missed his gap assignment.
Next comes the coaching speculation and critique, which won’t stop in Detroit until the beginning of the 2013 season or when Jim Schwartz is fired.
As if this team didn’t have enough to worry about.
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