Lions

Eric Thomas: Lions Face Adversity

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DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 23:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions throws a first quarter pass while playing the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field on October 23, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 23: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions throws a first quarter pass while playing the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field on October 23, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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Make no mistake, the only problem with the Lions on Sunday was the passing game. The Lions are blaming the wind, but the wind didn’t blow the ball out of Nate Burleson’s hand. The wind didn’t make Megatron drop passes. This game was ugly, and much more ugly than many of us were expecting.

Many of us were expecting a loss, but we weren’t expecting this. Soldier field has been a house of horrors for years, and there was absolutely no reason to think this was going to be pleasant going into this game. This was really bad.

The most alarming aspect is the progression of our third year quarterback. Obviously he plays a position that comes with it an inordinate amount of blame. But Stafford seemed younger than in other games. Yesterday, Stafford lacked the poise and leadership we have seen him display in the past. The Lions are blaming the wind, but the gusts that took Dorothy to Oz wouldn’t have made a difference on the second pick 6 where he threw into a crowd of three Bears defenders.

No. 9 showed a poor decision making and a lack of maturity, not stepping up and saying this loss was on him. I would also put this on Megatron, who fumbled the first possession and dropped several catchable balls. Lets call this 60-40 on Stafford, who was only three picks shy of Ty Detmer’s record setting day.

Nate Burleson needs to be demoted and make room for Titus Young, who seemed to be the only receiver who came to Chicago with the intention of playing on Sunday. Maurice Morris actually had a good day running the ball. The stats don’t really reflect it, but they got pretty solid yardage running the ball before the passing game laid an egg.

These things happen. The parity of the NFL means good teams have bad days and on bad days the wheels can come off in dramatic fashion.  But when the Lions lose, you can always hang it on the offense. I am tired of hearing about the offensive line. They are not the biggest problem for this team.

The problem is when the offense gets demoralized they seem to give up. In the games where the Lions make an impossible comeback, it usually starts with the defense making a play. Big time players make big time plays when the chips are down. The Lions roll when they are up and go three and out when they are down.

If the Lions’ third year QB wants to live up to the “second coming of Bobby Lane” hype, or his salary, he needs to become more of a leader than he has been. His behavior in the second half of the Lions v Bears game looked a lot more like arrogance than confidence and that is a dangerous road to go down. It makes this week’s game against Carolina a must win, because they need to show some guts after this massacre.

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