Matt Stafford’s posture was very poor during the Detroit Lions’ 24-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. It wasn’t really his fault, of course, as a porous offensive line allowed purple-clad rushers to rack up a franchise-record 10 sacks. So many plays left the veteran quarterback slumped on the ground, or completely horizontal, or with hunched shoulders. Matt Patricia must have hated it.
The lackluster effort showed a lack of respect for the process and was wholly unprofessional. A win would have put the Lions in the NFC North driver’s seat as they seek their first divisional crown since 1993. Now they are deeper in the cellar, likely out of contention, doomed to play out yet another wasted and pointless season.
Managing only three field goals — one which came in garbage time — shined a bright light on Golden Tate’s absence. Theo Riddick attempted to play the role with minimal success, grabbing seven catches for a grand total of 36 yards.
Moving the game’s most elusive wide receiver for a third-round pick was a controversial move. Fox’s booth of Thom Brennaman and Chris Spielman presented both sides during the broadcast. Spielman equated it to a parent telling one parent to handle disciplining a child, then second-guessing the methods. And he does have a point: Bob Quinn was supposed to instill the Patriots Way and make the Lions a viable franchise. He should be afforded the chance to do it without the peanut gallery losing their minds.
But let’s take that analogy further. Sunday’s result was a sterling example of the harsh punishment Lions fans have been subjected to over the past six decades. One’s left to wonder if this discipline structure is going to pay dividends or if it’s just cruel and unusual.
What’s clear is that Detroit is a mess right now, from the top to the bottom. Trading Golden Tate made them worse right now. Then again, he doesn’t block or throw passes, so they would have lost with him. The Lions have alternated between incredibly embarrassing and shockingly competent results this year.
A clearer picture of the balance sheet is emerging and it’s not pretty. They were a professional team in name only against Minnesota. And it’s becoming a trend.
Posture will be tested and we’ll find out just how much of a spine they have.