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Old 11-09-2009, 07:36 PM
stevo stevo is offline
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Default Big surprise? Only the gullible got their hopes up

Big surprise? Only the gullible got their hopes up
By DREW SHARP
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST


SEATTLE — How about a show of hands, Detroit?

How many of you foolishly took the bait, believing that surreal first quarter of Lion excellence on both sides of the ball was proof that not only might the Lions actually win on the road, but dominate as well?

File this latest edition of criminal eye slaughter under the category of “Shouldn’t You Have Known Better?”

The Lions blew this one.

There’s nobody to blame but Matthew Stafford.

Dropped passes or missing offensive weapons weren’t the problem. It was the rookie quarterback misfiring, failing to take advantage of the bountiful opportunities an equally inept Seattle team provided them.

Stafford finished with five interceptions, clearly the worst game of his young professional career.

The Lions teased everybody — once again.

It’s not uncommon.

They took a 17-0 first-quarter lead against Tampa Bay last year, prematurely feeding the optimism that they finally stumbled upon a game they couldn’t lose.

They trailed by halftime and ultimately lost, 38-20.

The Lions actually resembled a NFL operation in the first quarter.

But it certainly helped that the Seahawks looked anything but that.

In fact, the Seahawks borrowed a page from the Lions’ playbook — their first two offensive plays resulted in two turnovers, a Louis Delmas interception and a fumble that former Seahawk linebacker Julian Peterson forced.

It was the Lions’ first 17-0 lead following the first quarter on the road in 27 years. They led Green Bay that day, back in the day when they actually won occasionally in the state of Wisconsin.

But you knew that, despite the Seahawks’ generosity, the Lions would find a way to give back what they got.

As bad as 0-16 looks among the blighted faces of NFL ignominy, it might be even worse that the Lions are now 8-60 on the road since the beginning of the Matt Millen era eight years ago.

This is the bigger embarrassment.

They’ve only won 12% of their road games since 2001. Calling that statistic a joke is an insult to sarcasm.

The Seahawks are a troubled franchise — and they’re almost four years removed from their first Super Bowl appearance. They know they’re not that far away from breaking in a new quarterback.

Yet the Lions come to town and they’re the NFL equivalent of Ponce de Leon. They’re pro football’s Fountain of Youth. After seeing the Lions, every team is invigorated with a flush of enthusiasm.

That’s the Lions’ role now in the NFL, especially when they venture away from Ford Field, making teams feel a little better about their respective turmoil because it could always be worse.

They could be Lions.

The Lions’ biggest dilemma is public apathy the remainder of the season.

The team has always maintained that indifference would never be an issue because there always remained a high degree of anger over the team’s disappointment.

But this game might have been the Lions’ last chance of convincing the ticket-buying and television-viewing populace that there’s at least something minuscule worth salvaging from this season.

Big surprise? Only the gullible got their hopes up | freep.com | Detroit Free Press
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