Well well well where do we begin?
Let me start by saying this season has been like no other the fact we've managed to get the regular season completed during a pandemic is nothing short of a miracle some teams have managed the virus better than others but all have successfully completed their schedule.
Coming off a dismal season under Matt Patricia we didn't have very high expectations coming into this year let's make that clear him and Bob Quinn were on the hot seat long before others and knew they would be under lots of scrutiny early on.
We went into the 2019 draft needing to replace Darius Slay who wanted too much money and was shipped to the Eagles, a fresh face in the run game to take advantage of the revamped OL and to plug holes in one of the leakiest defences in the NFL.
This resulted in picking Okudah, Swift, Okwara, Jackson, Cephus, Huntley and Stenberg I'll be mentioning these guys in more detail later on...
Now let's get into the nitty-gritty of it
Up first was the Chicago Bears in W1 and this will be remembered as the game where D'Andre Swift made a name for himself but it wouldn't be for the right reasons he dropped a game-winning walk-in touchdown with seconds left on his debut I felt incredibly sorry for him at the time! For a coach and front office already under pressure, this was a disaster starting 0-1.
Next up would be our old friends the Green Bay Officials no sorry the Green Bay Packers 😉 Jeffrey Okudah would be called into action for the first time as a rookie and behind a strong ground showing the Lions would be rolled over 42-21 courtesy of Aaron Jones 0-2.
Week 3 is where we finally put it together and lose the goose egg the D was too hot to handle for Kyler who would throw x3 interceptions including JO first of his career and Stafford would have a clean tidy game to outduel the Cardinals 26-23 and chalk up the first W 1-2.
Not surprisingly a week later we just couldn't keep pace with a high powered Saints team Stafford wasn't very efficient and we would struggle to hang on falling 35-29 but we did prove we can move the ball and the chains but also we still can't stop the run not a great way to start the season 1-3.
Bye now (see what I did there) lots of fans were calling for Patricia to be fired a guy already under pressure had a bad start to the year, but the Ford family didn't budge coming out the bye a little healthier we had a Jaguars team who we knew we could bounce back against and that started with Swift having a break out party rushing for 116 taking the pressure off Stafford who could pick his shots to Golladay who racked up 105 to comfortably win 34-16 and move to 2-3.
For anyone who didn't watch the Falcons game what were you doing?!?! Come on man... it was WILD Ryan and Stafford put on a show but ultimately on a classic miraculous game-winning drive with less than a minute left including no time outs and a bad spot Hock would be found in the endzone for the game-winning TD with no time left and suddenly we're 3-3 game on? (Go watch the highlights I can't do it justice the ending)
The next four games were pretty ugly we were dominated by the Colts, shut out by the Panthers with an XFL QB for the first time in 11 years and Stafford whole career, we scraped by Washington thanks to magic money Prater and were comfortably beaten by the Vikings leaving us 4-6 by this point but was more worrying was the injuries Golladay hasn't played in weeks, Trufant and other members of the secondary are all banged up and Stafford is starting to show some wear and tear from eating too many shots!
Eurgh, the Lions and national tv never go well together happy holidays everyone it's the Thanksgiving beat down - this year's main course was Deshaun Watson with a side of Will Fuller V and boy did they chow down on us spitting us out for the world to see 41-25 by this point 4-7 the season is looking lost and the organisation is at breaking point all confidence in the front office has been lost it's just a matter of time...
It turns out that was the straw that broke the camels back on the 28th of November Matt Patricia and more importantly Bob Quinn were relieved of their duties it's never nice to see someone lose their job but it couldn't really be argued we were in free fall with ugly losses and cliche repetitive post-game pressers to boot BQ had done some good work and brought in some great players for that he won't be forgotten I think we owe him that much 🤝🏻
Looking at the last 5 games of the season you would feel for whoever had to oversee them as they were daunting and ranked 1st in difficulty via the strength of schedule calculation from NFL/ESPN etc. but one man wasn't afraid to step into MP shoes and that was the OC Darrell Bevell who is well respected and we knew he would take the stabilisers of this offence and Matthew Stafford HALLELUJAH I hear you say but he would also have to try balance that with our D that has more holes than Swiss cheese.
Darell lived up to the hype and went back to what he knew best Stafford and MJJ torched the Bears D while our own gave up just enough to secure a famous 34-30 victory in his first game as interim HC but more importantly for his resume as potential HC, he went toe to toe with the Packers in a much-improved performance from the previous meeting just falling short 31-24 despite the loss you felt he had something about him that we lacked before a fire in our belly to win not just for him but for themselves.
Unfortunately, we were then quickly brought back down to earth and humbled by electric performances from Derrick Henry and Tom Brady been blown away by the Titans and Buccaneers (still feels world saying it doesn't it ha) this HC malarkey isn't as easy as we all thought is it you can't ride on the wave of excitement and adrenaline that long and it had peaked at 5-10 heading into the season's finale v Minnesota.
Before that day we had managed to go most of the year with very little controversy or blown calls but this crew said 'hold our beers' 🍻 no coach can outduel the officials and we learned that the hard way... again... for all our great play two terrible calls at crucial moments sealed our fate in a crushing 37-35 loss and put a pretty little bow on an up and down 5-11 season, oh why do we do this to ourselves every season get our hopes up to have them dashed well ladies and gentlemen that's just another day in the life of a Detroit Lions fan and guess what?
We'll do it all again in 2021.
Before I sign off I'll leave you with some of the stats, figures and rankings plus my personal positives and negatives on the year -
NFC North : X GB 13-3 / .813 / PF 509 / PA 369 Y CHI 8-8 / .500 / PF 372 / PA 370 MIN 7-9 / .438 / PF 430 / PA 475 DET 5-11 / .313 / PF 377 / PA 519
Where the Lions ranked : Power Rankings - 30th Total O - 20th
Pass - 10th Run - 30th Total D - Last v Pass - 30th v Run - 28th Special Teams Returning - 7th Kicking - 25th (yikes) Punting - 3rd (yay?)
Positives - Swift had a nice rookie season Hockenson top #5 TE sophomore year OL is clicking Decker and Ragnow slaying it Okwara exploded with double-digit sacks
Negatives - This year's defence managed to give up the most yards in franchise history - yes more than the 0-16 team! Stafford had more ailments Secondary looked very thin at times Coombs got fired for being an idiot despite a great ST unit
It's hard to put in words just how odd this season was we sent some great guys to the Pro Bowl, we have some great young weapons but we also have a tendency to switch off at key moments or shoot ourselves in the foot and that's just the Lions we wouldn't them any other way.
Peace Out ✌🏻