The Detroit Lions Have No Path Forward
The Detroit Lions are nothing if not a pointless franchise, providing only predictable disappointment to the increasingly shrinking sliver of the franchise still capable of feeling anything. For approximately the 61st time in the last 63 years, they are putting together a season that accomplishes nothing and produces frighteningly little. Matt Patricia's circus of underwhelming delights rolled into Minneapolis yesterday and was steamrolled with ruthless efficiency.
Dalvin Cook gashed a disinterested and particularly arm-tackly defense for 206 of the Vikings' 275 rushing yards. He sealed the deal with a 70-yard scamper on the first play of a drive that saw the Lions earnestly send 10 men out onto the field.
We've all come to expect atrocious defensive performances by a defense coached by supposed defensive wizard Matt Patricia. So there's really no reason to bat an eye. In fact, if anything, it was a better effort than the time they made Kirk Cousins look like a video game Patrick Mahomes.
Seeing Matthew Stafford play like a rookie making his first road start is more unusual. Battling a lingering injury and COVID mystery, the veteran threw two costly interceptions, looked out of sorts from the jump, and eventually left to enter concussion protocol, leaving the job to Chase Daniel. One of the scariest clauses in sports.
Shockingly, it did not work out. Detroit is now 3-5, has lost all momentum, and has little-to-no playoff hope. They are on a collision course with an even more excruciating brand of purgatory than has been its homeostasis. The Lions aren't good enough to compete for anything but are too good to benefit from another high draft pick.
For all Stafford has given this abominable team, it's prudent to ask if he should be at the center of any serious rebuild. And I say rebuild because there are no words in the English language that actually describe what the Lions have been doing for six decades. He'll be 33 next year and is past his prime, if still effective.
The best quarterback in franchise history will more than likely retire or explore greener pastures after failing to win a single playoff game and will largely not be on him. Godspeed to any stud collegiate prospect unlucky enough to become ensnared by the Motor City. The good news for all of them and bad news for Lions fans is that such a thing doesn't look like it will happen for a long time.
There will be no Justin Fields or Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson. There will only be aching and familiarity in 2021. And potentially still Patricia because all there is is aching. And perhaps you think this is all hyperbole penned by a loser. There may be some truth to that, but imagine if you will, a realistic path forward for this dumpster fire of a situation. Then let me know.
Because for now, and the near future, and probably forever it's irrelevant and painful purgatory.