Looking at the Lions' schedule going forward, wins appeared hard to come by. However, Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts provided them with one of their last decent chances at a victory. They were at home against an overachieving, young team with a rookie at quarterback who has had trouble on the road. Could Detroit, who has squandered a few potential wins this season, actually earn a victory?
The Lions got on the board first with, surprisingly, a field goal. This was quickly followed by a Colts touchdown, as Andrew Luck threw a 17-yard pass to Donnie Avery. However, the Lions were able to respond with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Brandon Pettigrew before the first quarter was even over. I was expecting a high scoring game, and the first 15 minutes did not disappoint.
Detroit opened the scoring in the second with a 6-yard Mikel Leshoure touchdown. The Colts quickly responded with a nice 26-yard touchdown pass from Luck to Coby Fleener. Hanson kicked two field goals before the half, and the Lions led 23-14. Would these field goals in lieu of touchdowns come back to haunts the Lions? Fortunately, that's not something that's happened before this season. Admittedly, two of these field goals were fairly long, but nevertheless...
In the third, Vick Ballard rushed for an 11-yard touchdown for Indy, and then in the waning seconds of the quarter Stafford and Calvin Johnson connected for a 46-yard score. A few minutes into the fourth quarter, Hanson kicked another field goal, a 31-yarder. That left the Lions up 33-21. This was a decent lead, but would it hold up? Would I bother mentioning this if it did?
With just over two minutes left in the game, Luck hit the immortal LaVon Brazill for a 42-yard score. Still, there wasn't much time left, and Detroit got the ball. However, they couldn't bleed the clock, and had to give the ball back to the Colts, although Indy was out of timeouts. The Colts had a bit of a ways to go, but they were able to march down the field. Suddenly, they were at Detroit's 14-yard line. The Lions held them a few times, and it all came down to fourth down in the final seconds. On the last play of the game, Luck flipped the ball to Avery, who was able to run to the end zone to score. The Colts pulled off the 35-33 win.
Or, you could say, the Lions blew this game, which wouldn't be unfair. All they had to do was hold onto a lead late. Maybe turn one of those field goals into a touchdown. Just play some decent defense down the stretch. All due respect to the Colts, and to Luck, but Detroit probably should have won this game. They picked off Luck three times and sacked him twice. The yardage was basically even. Detroit needed to win this game, if only to have a respectable season, but they could not manage to do even that.
Stafford went 27-for-46 for 313 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick. Leshoure didn't do much, but Joique Bell rushed seven times for 81 yards, albeit almost entirely on a 67-yard scamper, and had three receptions for 21 yards. Johnson was outstanding, finishing with a career high 13 receptions for 171 yards and a score. Ryan Broyles got hurt. Business as usual.
Detroit can play any team close, but they just can't seem to win. They should have won this game, but they blew it. They are now 4-8, and I don't see them finishing better than 5-11. It's going to be a disappointing season, and the Lions can't blame it all on injuries. At least the 2013 NFL Draft is looking strong for defensive players.