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Lions' Struggles Not All on Replacement Referees: Fan Reaction

Yahoo Contributor Network

Yes, the controversy surrounding the National Football League's use of replacement officials and the horrendous attempts of said officials to manage professional games is well documented. They haven't been good. They haven't been consistent. However, neither have the Detroit Lions in their performance and ability to take the game out of the officials' hands.

As an excitingly brutal overtime contest came to a close in the Detroit Lions' September 23 meeting with the Tennessee Titans, the Lions luck had all but run out. Twenty-one year, veteran kicker, Jason Hanson, who gave the Lions their only nine points of the previous week's game, would be passed over for a chance at the win via a quarterback sneak by Shaun Hill, who entered the contest for an injured Matthew Stafford. Their highly-scrutinized veteran offensive line botched the snap, as center Dominic Raiola misplayed the snap count, causing the Lions' to be stopped short of their intended yard marker.

From the game's onset, Tennessee looked prepared and full of intensity. At times, so did Detroit. It was only when both teams turned up the heat in the fourth quarter that fans began to see the full potential of what each squad was capable of. With a total of 46 points being scored in the final quarter, including a miraculous "Hail Mary" reception by Titus Young, the back-and-forth action was without comparison. However, it wasn't so much two dominating offenses, as it was two lackluster defensive performances and a wild game of special teams luck on the part of Tennessee.

Referee decisions, once again, came into play as Tennessee tight end Craig Stevens had a catch wrongly overturned after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Detroit linebacker Stephen Tulloch. The call resulted in a misplacement of the ball, giving Tennessee an additional 27 yards.

Point spreads and botched officiating cannot excuse the team's performance, however, and the most telling tales were, for the third-straight game, the dismal performance of the Lions' defensive backfield in both containment and tackling. Until Detroit manages to either find talent or improve upon that which they already have, their season is destined to fall into obscurity and, once again, drop into the realm of failure.

The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, is a successful entrepreneur and published, freelance author, who has tailored works on various sports, health and fitness topics. He currently serves as a Yahoo! Contributor Network "Featured Contributor" and writes on the Detroit Tigers , Detroit Lions, Great Lakes Loons and Notre Dame football.

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