This year, the Chicago Bears were able to close heir season out on a high note and the Detroit Lions are the ones heading home dejected, owners of an abysmal 4-12 record with worse problems between their ears. Instead of stalking the Bears hungrily and passionately, the Lions gave up on this hunt early with more sloppy and lackadaisical play, then sprinkled in enough positive momentum to give fans hope in the second half. Yet, it wouldn't matter, as the team predictably fell in the end, unable to make a handful of plays needed to turn around another close loss.
The season's mercifully over and the long drive through another offseason begins now. Before we worry about any of that, though, there's still some housekeeping left to sort through from Sunday's game. What else went wrong? Oh, the usual.
The Lions Just Can't Quit Making Big Mistakes Against The Bears. In an ugly close loss in Chicago, it was four turnovers. Today, it was four again, three via fumble. The Lions haven't been taking care of the ball at all in recent weeks, and eight turnovers in two 2012 meetings with the Bears will not win those games against a hungry team. The margin of Detroit's defeat in these two meetings against Chicago, ironically enough, is eight. Thus, it can only logically be argued that if the Lions were ale to cut their turnover number in half, it would have been good enough to get them one or perhaps two wins against the Bears.
It's Sad To See Calvin Johnson Miss Out On 2,000 Yards. Credit Johnson for another historic season, but 1,964 just doesn't read the same as 2,000 yards receiving for a given year. The Lions should have tried harder to get Johnson the ball to ensure the barrier was broken. In a game where there was little to watch for, Johnson's pursuit represented something to cheer. When it came just short, it was just another reason for fans to be disappointed in the team.
The Secondary Needs To Be Completely Redone. There wasn't anything close about the Lions' defensive performance today, and the root of the problem, as always, was the horrid play of the secondary. While not completely accurate, Cutler had a decent day passing for 257 yards and a touchdown without any interceptions. Over the middle of the field at safety, the Lions couldn't compete. On the edges at corner, as well, things looked very ugly.
If Reports Are Accurate, Jim Schwartz Might Have To Actually Be Sent Packing. Earlier in the day, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that upper management wasn't satisfied with the team's recent culture under Schwartz, and discussions about his job security are underway. Considering how the Lions looked early in today's and to close the season as a whole, there's no reason that shouldn't be the case. In fact, to remedy the problem totally, Schwartz might have to be fired. There's problems with the mental and physical culture on the team, and it starts with the leader. Fans should hope there is serious discussions about Schwartz and his leadership. An eight game losing streak is another scarring indictment on the coach.
Lambs? It's hard to single out just a few. The secondary performed horribly. Matthew Stafford's day was inaccurate and mistake filled again.
What About The Five Things? Entering the final game of the season, we said it would be important to watch the mistakes. Detroit made four again which aided in their demise. Jay Cutler outplayed Matthew Stafford, who made several big mistakes. The spoiler mentality wasn't a factor, and the Lions looked unmotivated. There wasn't a hint of dirty play aside from the Bears spearing Stafford, and the return game was a mix of good and bad.
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