No team in football plays the what-if game like the Detroit Lions. It happens nearly every week, whether the organization is trying to explain why it didn’t have enough players on the field during a crucial third down or why it didn’t have enough juice to implode its old stadium.

You want to know why the Lions lost to the Ravens, 44-20, at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday? Check out the video of the Silverdome’s botched demolition.

It’s the easiest metaphor in the world. Yet hardly a joke. Not much is funny about a franchise that keeps telling its fan base to wait one more … decade.

Harsh? Yes. But then so is this team’s history, and its ability to keep teasing you.

It happened again Sunday, after the Lions had cut a 20-point lead to seven, when the Ravens faced a third-and-7 late in the third quarter, and the Lions generously chose to defend with only nine players.

Two players later, Baltimore scored, and essentially ended the game.

“That’s something we have to do better at,” said safety Glover Quin of the mishap, and who didn’t realize the team was shorthanded on the play. “Whatever’s going on, we have to be on top of it.”


It’s the head coach’s. And that’s inexcusable. Though it’s predictable. Because there is precedent – the Lions screwed up their personnel grouping a week ago against the Vikings. Because no team in professional football tortures its fan base like this one, even if receiver Golden Tate thinks this year’s implosion feels different.

“I don’t know,” he said, “this is something that I haven’t felt since I’ve been here. Typically, over the years, we’ve done well late in the season.”

Let’s see, a year ago, Tate’s Lions lost their last three games and blew any chance of a home playoff game; Seattle crushed them in the wildcard game. Two years ago, yeah, the Lions won six of their last eight … after starting 1-7 – that season went nowhere.