| Detroit Free Press
Insiders – Colts stomp Lions 41-21
Insiders Joel A. Erickson and Jim Ayello recap the Indianapolis Colts’ 41-21 win over the Detroit Lions.
The real Detroit Lions revealed a painful truth Sunday afternoon.
They are nothing but frauds.
That deceiving two-game winning streak was a mirage formed in the desert of false hope — a perennial state of being for Lions fans — that happened only because Todd Gurley forgot to take a knee.
The real Lions got pushed around, made a ton of mistakes, turned the ball over, made costly penalties and got pummeled by the Indianapolis Colts, 41-21.
The real Lions can’t even win in their home stadium — dagger time, indeed.
It’s like a bad comedy we’ve seen far too often. They take a step forward,then slip on a banana peel. Whoops. That hurt the old fanny. Cue the laugh track.
So after what feels like 100 years of Bob Quinn doing, well, whatever he does as the general manager, what do we have? The real Lions are 3-4, a below average team, swimming in the pool of mediocrity, once again. You are, as they say, what your record says you are.
And this team is below average.
It’s important to point that out, and stress it repeatedly, because Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp said she needs to see improvement and for this team to contend for this regime to continue.
Hopefully, she was watching this game.
Hopefully, she didn’t close her eyes in disgust, which would have been understandable.
Hopefully, she doesn’t make excuses and say: “Oh, well, this is a tough year because of coronavirus and there are some easier games coming up.”
“As the season goes on in the NFL you have to improve, no one stays the same,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said postgame. “Everyone gets better and competition gets harder. From that aspect of it, we have a lot of work to do.”
Um, yeah, you could say that again.
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Don’t be fooled
Let’s consider the Lions’ three wins.
They beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that has lost six straight games. And the only reason the Jags didn’t lose this week is because they are on a bye.
The Lions beat Atlanta, although I still contend the Falcons beat themselves when Gurley had a bad case of Lions-itis — apparently it is contagious — and forgot to take a knee short of the goal line.
The Lions’ only other win was against Arizona. And that is a fine win, I’ll give them that.
You could argue they would have another win if D’Andre Swift would have caught a touchdown pass in the opener. But this is the Lions we are talking about. That’s what the Lions do. They drop balls and throw pick-sixes. They commit interference penalties to set up a touchdown. They fumble the ball when sacked. And they rough the quarterback during a sack.
That’s what was revealed in this game.
And thanks to all of that, they have one solid win this season.
Simply put, the Lions’ track record this season suggests — and actually, let’s stretch it beyond this season and include the entirety of the Quinn-Patricia years — that they will not beat the good teams down the stretch.
Yes, I’m pointing out the obvious to make this clear and simple for Ford Hamp.
Right now, the Lions have to win five of their next nine games, just to get to .500.
When you study their schedule, that seems possible. They are about to play Minnesota, Washington, Carolina and Houston — all teams with losing records.
And maybe, they win some of those games. Maybe, that will give you some hope. But I implore you, don’t buy it.
They got the bejesus kicked out of them. At one point in the first half, it felt like the Colts were playing a nasty game of keep-away against the Lions. They were taunting them, controlling the clock and not letting them touch the ball.
So remember this.
A month from now, considering who they are about to play, they will still have only one win over an impressive team.
Still so far away
This game was revealing on another level. They ran into a team with an impressive defense, something you might expect of the Lions, considering they hired a so-called defensive guru.
But what do the Lions do well?
Other than hope Matthew Stafford can be a miracle worker in the fourth quarter? But when he’s off, like he was Sunday, this team has no chance.
“Indianapolis, they’re a great team,” Patricia said. “They’re really good in all three phases. They play very good complementary football and they did that today.”
And when you see the Lions against a good team, it shows how far away they are.
The Lions still have to play Green Bay, Tennessee, Chicago and Tampa Bay. Twice, they have to play Minnesota — another team that is having a disappointing season. But suddenly, those two Vikings games don’t seem so easy for the Lions, considering the Vikings just beat the Packers in Lambeau.
To make it worse, Kenny Golladay left this game with a hip injury.
Remember, the Lions lost their first two games of the season when Golladay was out with a hamstring injury. If he’s out, this team is in a heap of trouble.
“We haven’t won enough in the past couple of years and we have got to get it going a little bit this year too,” Stafford said.
Over the next month, if the Lions do indeed “get it going” and start to beat up on bad teams, I implore you not to buy into it. Don’t get excited.
Just remember Sunday.
That was the real Lions — and the warts and weaknesses were unmistakable.
Contact Jeff Seidel: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff. To read his recent columns, go to freep.com/sports/jeff-seidel.