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A Third-String Coach Beating Tom Brady Would be Classic Lions

Kyle Koster
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
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Detroit Lions interim coach Darrell Bevell has made unfortunate history as the first NFL sideline bigwig to miss a game due to COVID protocol. Bevell, who took over for Matt Patricia last month, had a close contact with a confirmed positive case and therefore will be unavailable to coach in Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Neither will defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, defensive line coach Bo Davis, linebackers coach Ty McKenzie and defensive backs coach Steve Gregory.

The job now falls to Robert Prince, who is in his seventh season with the team as wide receivers coach. With little to play for and widespread attrition on the defensive side of the ball, shocking the world against the greatest quarterback who ever lived will be a tall task.

But don't be surprised if the Lions figure out a way to restore the roar for a few hours and pull a remarkable upset. Why? Well, there's no logical reason. And that's the point, because this franchise operates in its own bizarre reality. So much so that a third-string coach and free-falling team is the perfect recipe. Add in a nationally-televised window and, buddy, you have a stew going on.

In my three decades observing this curiosity from far too close, I've seen they excel in two situations. On the brink of playoff elimination and when they play an excellent team they have no business beating and will only hurt their long-term prospects by beating.

Oh, did I mention that Matthew Stafford may be playing one of his last games in Detroit, battling through otherworldly pain to show how it was he who could have multiple title rings had the Sliding Doors opened in a different way? Nothing would please him more than out-dueling Brady as a reminder of his value.

Adjust your expectations accordingly. A real post-Christmas David vs. Goliath situation brewing.

Of course, please forget this post exists if the Buccaneers rush out to a 21-3 lead.

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