The Detroit Lions always do this. They bring themselves to cliff's edge and hang off it by their knuckles. They dangle for a bit then begin to climb up, elbow after elbow hammering the level Earth above. There's something about fighting to keep the faintest of faint playoff hopes alive that turns them into small-sample-size champions with alligator blood.
For the last three decades or so, the Lions have had a familiar script of starting 4-6 or 5-7 and needing to win out. This was the plot for so many seasons from Barry Sanders or Charlie Batch. They can't win them all if they don't win the first, and they seemingly always do.
So it's no surprise this version of the Lions, playing for the first time since Darrell Bevell replaced Matt Patricia, decided to come from behind late to shock the Chicago Bears, 40-34. Winning games after trailing by 10 points or more is something that hasn't happened for Detroit since Nov. 19, 2017. Matthew Stafford's 402 passing yards and a heroic strip-sack by Romeo Okwara combined for a Soldier Field bummer.
And do you want to know the sick thing? I rather enjoyed it. The playoff picture graphic including them in the bottom righthand corner was a delight. There may have been some schedule-scouting to see if the Comeback Cats could really get the job done and play for its first postseason win since 1991 and second since 1957.
This brand of Lions' victory is so specific and addictive. It's the last heaved breath praying for a Hail Mary. Actually, yesterday's was a perfect storm. In normal times these can be alluring, even with a lame-deck coach. But having a new coach and slim-to-some hope is truly an intoxicating blend.
A warped brain begins to believe somewhere in its rotten core that perhaps the team will play harder than anyone's ever played under recent regimes. The storybook begins to lay out its plot. It's fun to dream without any risk of being hurt because you've already accepted grim reality. Or been beaten down by so many empty seasons before.
Man, this franchise does incredible things to people. They sucker people back in with moderate competence and becoming an almost pitiful thing to be shown sympathy. So strangely predictable and addictive all at once.
See you back here in about three years, when a coaching overhaul brings renewed energy and at least the appearance of being in the hunt for a few weeks.