Never, ever trust the Detroit Lions to rise to the occasion. Under any circumstance. You should know this by now. We should all know it by now. Understanding this truism will always be so is the main factor in remaining sane as brisk Michigan autumns flirt with an early winter.
And yet, dear readers, there was a small part of my downtrodden soul that allowed itself to think, ever so briefly, that things were there for the taking this year, if only Matt Patricia's team conducted itself with some competency.
We're not yet to Halloween and this has been one of the more bizarre and exasperating campaigns in recent memory. A Week 1 meltdown resulted in a tie, which resulted in no one truly understanding how that would impact the standings all year. Then came two victories. Then three-plus exceptional quarters in Green Bay, where a commanding lead in the NFC North appeared to be within reach.
Enter some questionable officiating, a lack of execution, and the inevitability of Aaron Rodgers.
Desperately needing a division win against Minnesota at home yesterday, the defense opted not to show up. Bob Quinn's unit allowed a Kirk Cousins-led offense to put up 42 points. The porous secondary was exposed. The supposedly strong front-seven presented few road blocks.
For what seems like the thousandth time, a brilliant performance by Matthew Stafford wasn't enough to bring victory to the Motor City. Rinse, repeat. Another empty season appears to be on the docket. Rinse, repeat.
The Lions aren't catching 6-1 Green Bay. They likely aren't catching 5-2 Minnesota. Any reasonable chance at securing a Wild-Card spot means going 8-2 down the stretch. Good luck with that. That familiar hopeless feeling is setting in.
Patricia and the new blood has tried so hard to distance itself from the franchise's woeful past. That's understandable. But I still maintain that to lead this team is to be the main character in a Final Destination-like film. The sad end result is going to come find you, no matter how hard you try to outrun it.
The lesson here? That understanding the definition of insanity can insulate you from future pain. Andy Dufrense thought hope was a good thing, maybe the best of things. This looks good on a throw pillow. But let's not forget that he had to crawl through a never-ending tunnel of stench to finally see the light.
The Lions, somehow, may still be in the chiseling phrase of the whole operation, even after all these years. It's going to take a bigger rock hammer and at least another year.