Everything indicates that a long-standing tradition is coming to an end in the NFL: the Lions are no longer a bad joke.
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This team, often ridiculed in recent years, even decades, had already proven its seriousness in recent weeks. With a convincing 34-23 win over the Vikings, the Lions added a layer to their newly earned credibility.
Since the realignment of divisions in the NFL in 2002, the Lions have repeatedly contented themselves with obedient purring, collapsing to third or fourth place in the North Division, at the rate of 16 out of 20 seasons.
Imagine such a filthy state of mediocrity! 16 out of 20 times, in the bottom two rungs, including the last four seasons in the basement. One could easily come to believe that for the Lions, it was not a bad patch, but a perpetual subscription to insignificance.
Not anymore ! There are too many weapons on board, despite obvious shortcomings, that suggest Detroit is done with endless suffering.
If it is obvious that it will be necessary to invest still massively in the defense to extricate this team from the shadows definitively, it is clear that the attack has come out of its cave.
After another poor start to the season (1-6), the Lions have won five of their last six games, their best streak since 2016, their last year in the playoffs.
Better still, according to the Associated Press, they have just scored at least 25 points in five games in a row, a first for them since, wait for it, 1954!
Against the Vikings, quarterback Jared Goff completed 27 of 39 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns, without committing a turnover.
It’s his second straight game with over 300 yards on the clock and none of his passes have been intercepted in his last five games.
That’s not too bad for a center that has been ridiculed many times, especially since he was part of the trade that sent Matthew Stafford to the Rams.
Of course, Stafford helped the Rams win the Super Bowl last February, so no one is going to question the trade.
Except that today, Goff clings awfully well to a role that everyone saw as ephemeral.
He is pushing Lions to some interesting thinking. With the first-round pick they got from the Rams, can they turn to anything other than quarterback? Should they instead bail out their defence? The question has become legitimate in recent weeks.
Goff is oddly well surrounded in this attack. Three receivers (DJ Chark, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds) gained more than 50 yards against the Vikings. He distributed the ball to nine different targets. Even rookie receiver Jameson Williams is being quietly brought into the picture after his knee injury with Alabama last winter. The offensive line protects Goff well.
It may be too little too late for this season’s Lions in terms of a playoff berth. They are alive, but the fight will be difficult. For years to come, however, it is impossible to look down on them. That era is over.
A short word on the Vikings in conclusion. The defense gave up 464 yards to the Lions. It’s the fifth straight game in which she’s given the opposition more than 400 yards, the longest such streak in franchise history.
The defense drops to last place in the league after this debacle. It’s a bit embarrassing.
The Mauves will still win their division in the coming weeks, but their defense will eventually cause their loss. The Eagles (12-1) are now virtually assured of home-court advantage in the playoffs, having already triumphed over the Vikings. Even the 49ers (9-4) have not said their last word. It thickens…
The Eagles secured their playoff berth. AJ Brown becomes their first 1,000-yard receiver since Jeremy Maclin in 2014. Miles Sanders becomes their first 1,000-yard rusher since LeSean McCoy, also in 2014.
The young quarterback had another great game with 368 yards through the air and three touchdown passes, in addition to a rushing touchdown. It’s been a few times this season. It seems to have gone to another level.
Without being spectacular against the Browns, the Bengals signed a fifth straight victory, even without having to do without receivers Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. The defense limited the Browns’ excellent rushing game to 71 yards.
The Ravens carrier had missed the last six games. He had a productive return with 120 rushing yards and a touchdown. Luckily, because the Ravens were struggling with the pass with Tyler Huntley, who suffered a concussion in the second half.
The Jets quarterback lost, but he gave a real lesson in courage by taking hard hits time and time again. His trainer, Robert Saleh, would even have had an interest in protecting him against himself.
The Titans lost a third straight game playing horribly to the Jaguars. They committed four turnovers that led directly to 20 Jaguars points. Luckily, their division is worthless.
The Steelers lost the game and their quarterback Kenny Pickett, in concussion protocol. His replacement, Mitchell Trubisky, threw three interceptions. To convince the staff to play, we have seen better.
Deshaun Watson played better than last week with 276 yards through the air and 33 on the ground, in addition to his first touchdown pass. However, the Browns have only scored one offensive touchdown in two games since he started.
The G-Men looked terrible against the Eagles. The loss is not a surprise, but we can expect better than a beating by 26 points from a supposedly winning team…
Nothing, but then there really nothing, worked against the 49ers. The Bucs seemed to have given up quickly. To say that an interesting team will be deprived of the playoffs because the Bucs play in a lousy division.
5 games of the week
1) Purdy impresses
In his first start, Brock Purdy looked great as the 49ers’ starting quarterback in a crushing dominance against the Buccaneers. Purdy passed 16 of 21 for 185 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and one rushing touchdown. The final draft pick is always nicknamed “Mr. Irrelevant,” but in his case, it’s quite a story. Purdy was well supported by Christian McCaffrey (two touchdowns, 153 total yards).
2) Knox’s Pirouette
In inconvenient weather conditions, the Bills were not as explosive as usual, but still got the better of the Jets by 20-12. Their only touchdown through the air came on a pass from Josh Allen to Dawson Knox. While jumping, the tight end was hit in the air by cornerback Sauce Gardner. Knox gave himself a spectacular spin through the air before landing in the end zone for six all-important points.
3) stolen jefferson
In the loss, Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson shined again with 11 receptions for 223 yards, a total that gives him a franchise record. The worst is that he was robbed late in the game. On a gain of 39 yards, the referee ruled that he put one foot off line, but the video replay shows that he was in play. Not only would he have added to his total, but he was spinning in the area goals for an important touchdown and the Vikings wasted valuable time. If in doubt, the referee should have let the game take place, even if it means going to the resumption afterwards.
4) The Cowboys got hot
The Cowboys were favored by 17 points against the poor Texans. They won, but with difficulty and misery, by four points. Trailing 23-20 late in the fourth quarter, they avoided the fatal blow from the Texans. Tremon Smith intercepted a pass from Dak Prescott and the Texans had the ball four yards from base. The Cowboys defense held firm, however, and the Cowboys orchestrated a game-winning 98-yard drive. Ezekiel Elliott scored the touchdown.
5) Poor Russell Wilson!
For a rare time this season, the Broncos’ unloved quarterback Russell Wilson was having some good times against the Chiefs before the sky fell. After a nightmarish start to the game, Wilson and the Broncos pulled themselves together. The pivot had amassed 246 yards and three touchdowns in addition to some good rushing gains. On a run early in the fourth quarter, trying to reach the end zone, Wilson was tackled and stunned, leaving the game with a concussion. Not pretty to see…