Monday, November 25, 2002

You Know You're A Lions Fan When ...

... you turn on the game in the third quarter, see that the Lions are up by ten, and know -- with complete certainty -- that the Lions are going to lose the game. There has never existed an NFL team with greater skill at finding ways to lose football games than the Lions. If M&M (the GM and the Coach) didn't already deserve the axe at the end of the season based on the team's performance under their tenure, this game certainly changed that. It is impossible to understand Mornhinweg's end of game decisions. First, after winning the coin toss, he decides to elect to defend the endzone with favorable wind rather than to receive the football. Even I know that the key to winning football is to control the clock and that you do that with ball possession (read: offense). Mornhinweg felt he was taking advantage of the wind and that the Bears would take a bad punt or miss a tough field goal, giving the Lions the ball in good field possession. The realists among us see a few problems with this: (1) momentum -- the Bears had reestablished their offensive rhythm; and (2) no secondary -- the Lions defense couldn't stop my Grandma from scoring a touchdown (and had, in fact, just let the Bears score 10 points in the last minutes of the 4th quarter to force overtime). Then to top things off, when the Bears face a fourth and nine, and the choice of punting or trying a 53 yard field goal into the wind, Mornhinweg then decides that the wind wasn't all that much of an advantage and accepts (rather than declining) a Bears penalty, pushing the Bears even further out of field goal range but giving them another down to try and make something happen. I could forgive this decision if: (1) it didn't contradict the only possible (albeit weak) justification for not electing to receive the ball at the beginning of OT, and (2) if it weren't the Lions he was sending onto the field to prevent the Bears from taking advantage of that extra down. But, hey, I'm a Lions fan. If I'm not used to this yet ......

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