Did you see what happened on Sunday in Tampa Bay?
The Lions looked at the Bucs dead in the eye and didn't blink.
They calmly ran the football twice in overtime to give them a chance to win the game, to end the 26-game road losing streak and most importantly, go get two wins in a row.
Even more important, even to the most casual football fan, you saw a sense of digging in and saw key players in various points in the game put the team on their shoulders and do what they had to do to win the game.
Let's talk about Drew Stanton; many thought this guy had no business being in the NFL: 23/37, 252 yards and one touchdown and a pass rating of 100.28. That's right, all of you Stanton doubters—a 100.28 passer rating.
Stanton's first scoring drive, he took the Lions from their own 44-yard line and threw a nice 10-yard touchdown to Nate Burleson.
Let's talk about the Lions running game, an area that is finally getting healthy. A collective 181 yards by the Lions with Mo Morris taking the load with 109 yards and one touchdown. Yeah, we do so have a running game.
Let's talk about our receivers. A collective 23 catches for 252 yards and a touchdown.
News Flash: Calvin Johnson is really good. Did you see the catch he made in OT for a 12-yard gain to get the Lions closer for the game-wining field goal? It was perhaps his best catch of the game, in which he caught 10 passes for 152 yards. Not to mention the nice blocking he did on Burleson's touchdown.
Let's talk about the defensive line. It is becoming clearer with each game that this unit is becoming the heart and soul of the Detroit Lions. Constant pressure on Freeman, sacking him twice. The secondary and middle linebackers did their jobs for the most part as well.
And let's give it up to Dave Raymer, who has filled in nicely for the injured Jason Hanson. There isn't a Lions fan alive that knows Hanson wanted to be out there...but I'll bet there is almost no one more supportive and happy for his team right now.
Sure, this is only a two-game win streak...but it's our two-game win streak. The Lions have now beaten two teams in a row that have playoff implications. They have beaten two quality teams—one at home and one on the road.
Does this mean the ship has been righted and we can expect playoffs next year? Hold on to that glass of Kool-Aid folks. But nothing would surprise me if they did indeed make the playoffs next year.
However, we have two games to play and need to focus on them.
The Lions should shut down QB Matthew Stafford for the rest of the year. Stanton's performance over the last two games has earned him the right to finish the season and show the rest of the NFL that he belongs.
If the Lions were smart, they would find some way to keep Stanton as a Detroit Lion. He has proven his worth and could be a very capable backup to Stanton. Not to discount the value of Shaun Hill but I don't see Hill as sticking around after next year. He's been a starter and I'm sure he wants to be a starter again.
Perhaps the Lions could work a trade with the Washington Redskins to get some additional draft picks for Hill and then we can keep Stanton.
Sweet game folks...and some solid justification that this team is indeed coming together.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!