Detroit Lions: Broken Tackles Tell the Tale of a Lost Playoff Race

Evan SelleckContributor IIJanuary 7, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:  Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints lunges towards the goal line on his way to scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against Amari Spievey #42 of the Detroit Lions during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have had a hard time for a long time. The team has made it to the playoff race for the first time in 14 years, and with tonight's game against the New Orleans Saints, Detroit has a lot to prove. They've already done more than a lot of people expected, and that speaks volumes.

However, the race is only the beginning, and each game is just another step to the ultimate goal: the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for the Detroit Lions, broken tackles tell the tale of not only a lost game, but also a lost playoff race.

Any game is a complicated puzzle, put together over four quarters with a million different little pieces. Like any puzzle, just one piece that is misplaced or just doesn't fit can mean that the whole puzzle won't come together.

For the Lions tonight, that missing piece was the defense's ability to make tackles. Without a doubt, there were other pieces that may not have been missing but were just slightly too big or too small to fit into their needed spots. Specifically, the Saints' offensive line has probably never been better in a single game. However, the Lions defense was just unable to bring any of the members wearing black and gold down.

There are one-sided games and there are games that are decided by just one side of the coin. Offenses and defenses can win games by themselves, but when only one team is bringing the one-sided game to the field and the other team is promoting both sides, the results are usually decided before the first half is over.

The Detroit Lions were able to get on top early, showcasing how the Lions' offense is obviously more than worthy of being in the playoff race. But from that point on, the Saints' offensive ability broke any and all tackles seemingly at will, making the game.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though. The Detroit Lions have shown that they can make it to the playoffs. They made it to the postseason, and the celebrations that occurred because of that milestone were warranted. While the team will not make it any further than tonight's wild card game, it shows that next season is going to be another chance at greatness. The Lions have a team that can make the impossible perfectly plausible, which makes any Lions fan more excited for what's coming later this year.