Where to start, where to start ...?
First -- Jon Kitna. Passer rating 103. And ... we lost.
Why? Couldn't stop the other team and couldn't run effectively particularly in clear running situations. Simple as that.
I watch a lot of games. Not NFL ticket. But -- I'll see 4 to 5 games a week. And it's rare to see teams that appear incompetent in one or more phases of the game.
In the past several years, our Lions have bucked that notion -- appearing incompetent plenty often in 1 or more phases.
In yesterday's game:
1) Run defense.
2) Tackling in general.
3) Running in short yardage.
4) Returning on special teams.
1) Wow -- run defense. There wasn't any. First, why is our MLB (Paris Lenon) acting like he's on special teams and being a wall breaker instead of a tackler? He's doing the missile thing at a lead blocker, then we watch the RB cut right into where Lenon should have been. He missiles himself right out of the play -- voluntarily.
Next -- well -- what's there to say? The play by everyone on the run defense was abysmal. May as well now discuss the general tackling issue. We've asked it before -- do we have our guys dip their hands into canola oil or olive oil before taking the field? It was pathetic tackling.
When I say these things -- I mean: not even NFL level stuff. Shouldn't have to pay for this crap. Incompetent.
Now to short yardage running. Well -- again -- we got to see Raiola tossed into the backfield like a ragdoll. Just not something you see happen much to other centers. But there it was. And just lots of penetration being permitted across the board in clear running situations. Laughable. But I'm not laughing. Again -- this isn't just bad -- it's incompetently bad. Bordering on fraud. They misrepresent themselves to provide NFL level play when they don't do so.
Returns. Rod simply doesn't appear to value that aspect of the game at all. Simple as that. And we suffer as a result. It's like always serving a second serve in tennis even on first serves. Put the ball in play. Don't turn it over. Well -- that's just not a professional level of play -- you MUST try harder than that. Pathetic. Not NFL level. Fraud. But hey -- at least we have 11 DLs on our roster. Rod just loves DLs and can't bear to let one go.
On another issue. Kitna. First -- we KNOW he's got guts. He hangs in there. And he'll toss a high pass to a covered Roy in the end zone and watch it work.
But, boy, he has an opening to run into the endzone and doesn't do it -- opting to try to fit a pass someplace it's just not going to go. AND ... whoa ... he has a chance to run for a first down -- knowing he needs to get to the 30. And just before getting there, he ... slides, by rule forcing the mark to be short of the 30. It was a crucial first down and he had it but declined to take it.
Guts? I guess -- but at times, no guts and no glory.
This game -- the goat was the defense. The run defense. Of course, the pass defense started things off by giving Falcons' WR Michael Jenkins the longest play of his career. And we didn't force the rookie Matt Ryan into anything all that risky.
But truly -- the run defense was scary bad. 318 yards rushing against us.
And midway into the second half -- we appeared to stop trying. Again.
One other matter. Once again, we came out to start the game seeming to be not ready. Then we got things going in the second quarter. But halftime comes and we come out for the second half by ... seeming to be not ready. This has been a common theme for the Lions. And has been a big theme during the Rod Marinelli era. Reputed to be a good motivator, the reputation seems much bigger than the reality. Playing hard? Or hardly playing?
Sorry for being vicious -- but it's deserved. I'll read YOUR comments tomorrow. Perhaps I'll have settled down by then.
Again, my biggest problem is that the Lions display something we just don't see often other than when watching our Lions: incompetence -- below-NFL-caliber level of performance in one or more areas of the game. Yesterday, it was run defense, run offense in short yardage, and the return game. And just tackling in general.
Not just weak. Criminally bad.