Cook: Harrington shredded Lions ...with class

Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for the things we have. On Thursday, Joey Harrington was thankful for the Detroit Lions. Or, perhaps more accurately, the fact that he was playing against them instead of for them.

Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for the things we have.

On Thursday, Joey Harrington was thankful for the Detroit Lions.

Or, perhaps more accurately, the fact that he was playing against them instead of for them.

Earlier in the week, in an interview with the Miami Herald's Dan LeBatard, Harrington was asked what the best thing about Miami was. Harrington's response was that it was about 1,500 miles from Detroit.

But when in Detroit on Thursday, Harrington looked like the quarterback he was supposed to be when the Lions drafted him third overall.

After four years in Motown, the Lions finally gave up on Harrington and shipped him to Miami for a conditional second-day draft pick.

Harrington carved up the Lions like a plump turkey, going 19-for-29 with three touchdowns -- his first passing TDs in five Thanksgiving games as the Dolphins overcame a 10-0 first-quarter deficit to post a 27-10 win over Detroit.

And he did it while enduring cheap shots from the Lions public relations staff, which took jabs at him by playing Billy Joel's "Piano Man" during his introduction and showing his face on the scoreboard to induce booing from the crowd, which was stupid enough to play along much of the time.

Say what you will about Harrington, but he never gave up on the Lions as much as the Lions and the city of Detroit gave up on him. He took hit after hit and yet remained optimistic in the darkest of times, all while taking the brunt of the criticism for Detroit's failure to give the city a winning football franchise.

When Steve Mariucci and William Clay Ford deserved the real criticism, it was unfairly heaped on Joey Harrington, doled out on a regular basis by dopes in the Detroit media and fat idiots like Tony Siragusa who saw Harrington as an easy target who was too much of a class act to shoot back.

He shot back at Ford on Thursday.

And he did it with a smile and didn't rub it in, like some of us hoped he would.

The Tampa Two is designed to stop the big play and let the other team make fatal mistakes. You'd figure from his days in Detroit that Joey would be the guy to make those mistakes, but we saw a different and improved version of Harrington on Thanksgiving -- one who was patient, got rid of the ball quickly and made only one real mistake the whole day, throwing an ill-advised ball to Chris Chambers that was picked off by Terrence Holt.

The Lion offense looked unstoppable in the first quarter, marching down the field on their first two possessions and putting up an early 10-0 lead in what looked like it could turn into a laugher.

The joke was on Detroit.

Miami made some adjustments on defense, taking away the deep middle of the field that Mike Martz had exploited early, and the Lions' offense crumbled into near non-existence, never able to recover or consistently find holes in the Dolphin zone.

Rex Tucker didn't help matters. The generally solid right tackle instead was used and abused by Jason Taylor, eventually giving way to -- ack -- Rick DeMulling for a series, before Jonathan Scott came in and played most of the fourth quarter with much better effectiveness. Tucker just couldn't handle Taylor's speed and committed two false starts, was whistled for a hold and was only a witness on other plays as Taylor regularly wreaked havoc in the Lions' backfield.

Overall, it looked like the Lions had their fill in the first quarter, and then the triptophan slumber set in for the rest of the game.


  • Mike Williams caught his first pass of the year, a 7-yard reception in the first half. The Lions targeted him only once more on a long pass over the middle, which he dropped. It wouldn't have counted anyway, as the Lions were called for holding. The crowd gave him a standing ovation on his catch.
  • The Lions are missing one key ingredient in the Tampa Two defense: Intimidation. The defense is designed to make the opposition gain ground in small chunks and not give up the big play, but it also is supposed to make receivers pay when they make a catch. How many big hits have you seen from the Lions' secondary? Very few. Teams aren't afraid to go over the middle on the Lions, even when Kenoy Kennedy is in the lineup. Daniel Bullocks made a team-high 11 tackles on Thursday, but none of them were the kind that will make receivers think twice before coming into his zone. Fernando Bryant has been the Lions' biggest hitter in back, and that's saying something.
  • Without the Shauns -- Rogers and Cody -- the Lions are failing miserably in getting any pass rush from the front four. Cory Redding is playing admirably, but Kalimba Edwards is nearly invisible and guys like Tyoka Jackson, Marcus Bell and Jared DeVries are better used as role players instead of being relied so heavily upon. The fact that Ernie Sims' half a QB sack was tied with Redding for the team lead on Thursday speaks volumes. Without pressure from the front four, the Tampa Two might as well be scrapped and replaced with a man-to-man defense that Detroit's secondary is better suited to play anyway.
  • Why did the NFL even enact the horse-collar rule if the referees won't ever call it?

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