Allegedly, it is rude to say a team is choking. So let's figure out a more polite way to describe the Detroit Lions, after a 24-21 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Afraid of success?
All hype and no substance?
Whatever term best describes the Lions, there is a good reason why you should be careful before saying anything positive about this team.
Detroit looked like a squad that was poised to win the NFC North, especially after a close win at Chicago two weeks ago. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Chicago’s Jay Cutler are out of commission due to injuries. Minnesota decided Christian Ponder was a better option than Josh Freeman, which said more about the former Tampa Bay quarterback than the incumbent. With each team in the NFC North having issues under center, Detroit appeared destined to lock up a division title.
Then came a 37-27 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That was bad, but every team loses.
Then Detroit followed up that loss with a disappointing effort against Tampa Bay on Sunday. Tampa Bay started the season 0-8. Now the Lions are just 6-5, tied with the Bears for first place and just a half-game ahead of the Packers.
Yeah, this is bad.
Reggie Bush and Nate Burleson said they need to call a players-only meeting.
— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) November 24, 2013
Not only has Detroit lost two consecutive games, but both defeats were against teams with losing records. These are the games that playoff teams are supposed to win, but Detroit no longer seems to meet that postseason criteria.
The Lions had five turnovers against the Bucs. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw four interceptions (his previous high this season was two), while receiver Kris Durham fumbled once. Meanwhile, Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was held scoreless for the first time in four games.
More importantly, Detroit lost another game, and could face Rodgers when Green Bay comes to town on Thursday. Detroit swept Chicago this season and owns the tiebreaker, but that only matters if the Lions can find a way to stop losing games.
There are a lot of ways to describe the Detroit Lions right now. Maybe this is the most appropriate way: A team in trouble.
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