After losing to the Giants during the late round of Sunday games, the Detroit Lions have completed an improbable collapse that saw them move from 6-3 and in control of the NFC East to 7-8 and eliminated from postseason contention.
The cliché of “who wants it more” was completely the opposite of Detroit’s latest effort against the Giants. In a game that can only be described as sloppy and careless, it really was a case of “who wants it the least.”
Matthew Stafford continued his slide through the second half of the season by tossing a pair of costly interceptions, including a Tony Romo-esque pick-six that allowed the Giants to tie the game at 20 points apiece with under five minutes remaining to play in regulation. Although the Lions were the recipients of a holiday gift from the officials in the form of a fumble that probably wasn’t, they were unable to cash in, and the Giants ultimately sent a dagger to the heart of the Lions’ playoff hopes with a 45-yard Josh Brown field goal.
In the coming weeks, the Detroit Lions may begin to look in a direction away from head coach Jim Schwartz, who has been unable to instill discipline in an outwardly talented roster. The Lions have so often victimized themselves with poor decisions and directionless play. If the Lions do go in a different direction, they’ll also begin taking a long look at the players on their roster that are productive and which players need replaced.
With the Lions collapsing in such spectacular fashion, largely due to a seizing up of the offensive unit, the Lions will also be taking a look at their quarterback situation. The Lions have now lost five of their last six games, and Matthew Stafford has thrown 12 interceptions in that time span while only tossing 9 touchdowns. Those turnovers put the Lions on the fast track for losing football games, and without a reliable defense, the Lions were unable to stymie the momentum working against them.
For their part, the New York Giants were able to overcome a late game deficit, winning a close game and playing the role of the spoiler. If there’s anything we can say about Tom Coughlin and the 2013 Giants, it’s that they’ve never given up, even in a meaningless game with only pride on the line, which is more than we can say of the Lions.