Detroit Lions: Loss to San Francisco Does Not Mean Playoff Hopes Are Gone

Derek TislerContributor IOctober 17, 2011

DETROIT - OCTOBER 16:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions reacts after failing to make a first down in the fourth quarter of the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Despite the history of poor football in Detroit, the post game atmosphere following the Detroit Lions' loss to the San Francisco 49ers brought an unfamiliar feeling to fans. This game brought the first loss for the Detroit Lions since Dec. 5, 2010.

The devastating loss Sunday will surely bring talks about the Detroit Lions' chances of success this season. People will begin to question whether Detroit has been overrated this season and the early wins were simply a fluke. Talks of the "same old Lions" may start to rise.

This loss, however, is nothing like the others that the Detroit Lions have been through over the past decade. There has been a huge sense of disappointment, not because the city of Detroit is doomed to another embarrassing season, but because the players, coaches, and fans of the Lions now expect to win football games.

The loss against San Francisco doesn't bring hopes of a better NFL draft pick. It represents a setback on the way to the playoffs, or even the Super Bowl.

This is a new Detroit Lions football team, and the goals are being set much higher.

I can never say that losing a football game is a good thing, but it does bring opportunity for the Detroit Lions. Throughout the Lions' five wins and one loss, they have played a lot of sloppy football. Detroit has had almost no success running the ball, the rushing defense has been shaky.

The offensive line has struggled to protect Matt Stafford, and the Lions have failed to come out strong in the first half. The only difference between the first five games and the game last week is that the Lions were able to overcome these mistakes in the first five games by playing exceptionally well in their strong areas.

Following the loss to the 49ers, the Detroit Lions will have the opportunity to look back on these errors and make large improvements to their game play.

The hopes of the 16-0 dream season may be over in Detroit, but it doesn't mean the Lions are now out of the Super Bowl picture. What makes a great team is not just your victories, but how you respond to your failures. 

The Detroit Lions' success in the upcoming weeks is going to depend on how they respond to the loss to a very good San Francisco football team. 

The Lions need to use this setback as motivation for their next game. From the looks of the postgame events that took place, the Detroit Lions did not enjoy losing. The Lions need to come out next week with a renewed desire to win and an urgency to prove that they belong among the nation's elite. 

Every good football team has its struggles. The important thing for both the Detroit Lions and their fans is that they do not lose hope. The Lions need to accept their defeat and come out stronger than ever. When playoff time comes, expect to see these Detroit Lions ready to go.