The Detroit Lions Have Shed Some Big Gorillas

Michael SuddsCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2010

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Drew Stanton #5 of the Detroit Lions throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

After an ugly, but satisfying win against the Green Bay Packers last week, the Lions did the unthinkable. The remarkable. The historical.

The Lions won a road game. Repeat, the Lions won on the road.

Not just a road game, mind you, but a road game against a resurgent Tampa Bay Bucs team who had legitimate aspirations for a 2010 playoff berth.

The Lions have become the spoilers provocateur of the NFL. In addition, the banged-up Lions have not only found their identity but have added the kind of mystique that lends itself to a burgeoning legend, like last year’s darlings, the Cleveland Browns.

The Lions have finally arrived. While the Lions will not get an invitation to any postseason parties, they have found their way upon everyone’s radar.

It’s true. The evidence cannot be found in the win-loss column. The evidence is found in the synergies that have developed over the course of this 2010 campaign. To wit:

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who has been vilified for his conservative play calls, has found new, creative ways to use his playmakers, as well as new blocking schemes and a third-string QB that demonstrates Linehan’s creativity.

The RBBC (running back by committee) approach has found a heretofore hidden gem in Maurice Morris. Morris had an incredible day and scored a nice TD.

Morris was another guy that I was ready to cut in the preseason. Sheesh!

One can only wonder how successful Linehan would be with a full cast that have played together for two to three years.

OK, I have to get this painful moment behind me. The Drew Stanton moment.

I was a proponent of cutting him in training camp. I was a proponent of cutting him during the season. I guess that’s why I will never make the big bucks in the NFL.

All Stanton has done is win over his teammates, beat two very good teams in Green Bay and Tampa Bay and has built an untarnished reputation for tough, solid play.

Stanton’s contract expires in 2011. What appeared to be a no-brainer release by the Lions suddenly looks to be a certain contract extension or a trade with second- or third-round draft pick value in 2011.

The demand on quarterbacks in the 2011 draft is going thermonuclear, with 13 to 15 teams in the market for a starter or a depth QB.

Stanton’s stock is rising, and I expect that trend to continue.

We should address the much-maligned Lions defense. That defensive line of Turk McBride, Ndamakong Suh, Corey Williams, Sammie Lee Hill, Cliff Avril and Laurence Jackson have become the identity of the Detroit Lions.

While the back seven struggles to make a play, that Lions' front four is becoming a recognized force by competitors and fans everywhere.

Imagine if the Lions had a linebacker—or three.

Anyway, the Lions have shed three 800-pound gorillas in two weeks. They have ended the 19-game losing streak against divisional rivals.

The Lions have ended the 10-game losing streak against the Green Bay Packers.

Most importantly, the Lions have ended the historical 26-game road losing streak. Put an exclamation point on that one!

Now, the Lions have the confidence and wherewithal to win out.

The Lions have shed the gorillas.

 

Mike Sudds is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Mike is also an analyst and correspondent for DraftTek.com.