Off track or regressing? Whatever they call it, Lions aren't winning
December 6, 2012
By Carlos Monarrez
Detroit Free Press Sports
No one wants to admit it, but it's hard to deny that the Lions have regressed this season.
Their record says it. Their play says it. Their inability to offer a good reason for why they are mired in four-game losing streak and already out of playoff contention with a quarter of the season left also says it.
They have regressed. They just don't want to say it.
"Well, I wouldn't say regressed," coach Jim Schwartz said. "We've gone off track, for sure. But I wouldn't say regressed. Like I said, we've made (winning) plays at times this year. We haven't done it enough."
Off track? Schwartz sounds like a stubborn guy who refuses to admit he's lost and keeps insisting he just isn't sure where he is.
While Schwartz plays the semantic shell game, the fact is that the Lions haven't come close to making progress after they made their first playoff appearance in 12 years last season.
"Ideally you get wins, you get confidence, you get on runs, you make plays to win the game," defensive end and captain Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "We haven't done that.
"When you're in the same spot week after week -- giving the same answers, feeling the same way -- you're not progressing. But we have the people to do it. It's just a matter of doing."
Athletes and coaches like to say winning is a habit. And it was last year for the Lions. This year, they've won consecutive games once.
"I think winning is contagious," left guard Rob Sims said. "I think last year it was contagious, and we got hot and had a lot of confidence. We were just able to pull it off.
"This year, for some reason, I think the confidence is still there. It's just not happening for us like it was."
Indeed, last year and this year will serve as mirror opposites for the Lions. In 2011, the Lions were the comeback kings, salvaging victory after victory with monumental comebacks in Minnesota, Dallas and Oakland.
This season, the Lions have become collapsing court jesters. According to STATS LLC, via the team's website, the Lions are the first team to lose three home games -- against Indianapolis, Houston and Green Bay -- after leading with 2 minutes left.
"We need to be able to finish better," Schwartz said. "The same play calls in the first halves of games or early in the game, like I said, it's hard to go seven three-and-outs. You have to play some good defense to be able to do that.
"So guys are in position, and we have good enough players to do it. But when it's critical situations, we haven't always played our best, and that's something that we, over the next four games, we have to prove that we can do."
The chance to show they can still move forward starts with Sunday's game in Green Bay. And while the team is loath to talk about a regression, it still might want to take a quick peek back and realize that in the final quarter of the past two seasons, the Lions have a 7-1 record.
Contact Carlos Monarrez: 313-222-6697 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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