DETROIT – For sure, the Detroit Lions are getting good at this.
If nothing else, maybe they should get a trademark on ways to lose an NFL game.
They have done it so many different ways throughout the decades that their diehard fans have had to have lost count by now.
But Sunday, however, was suitable for framing. It’s the one fans will be telling their grandkids about many years from now.
And when the ball didn’t bounce their way at Ford Field, the only thing fans could say was, “Only the Lions.”
Yes, it was real. The Lions lost on an NFL-record 66-yard field goal that actually bounced off the crossbar and bounced through the uprights, giving the Baltimore Ravens an improbable 19-17 victory as time expired.
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker saved the day with his leg. And the Lions got did again. New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey beat the Lions with a record-setting 63-yard game-winning field goal back in 1970. The final score? 19-17, just like Sunday.
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This is the Lions. You can’t make any of it up.
Lions fans slumped down in their seats in disbelief. The movie, which they have seen many, many times, still stunned them.
They were lost for words, er, boos.
Somehow, in a league built on parity, the Lions have one lone playoff win since 1957. Yes, it’s not a typo. And that one playoff win came in 1991.
Too often, people want to make excuses for the Lions. The easiest one is that they are cursed. Some are convinced that bad things only happen to them. People want to blame the Ford family, who have owned the franchise since 1963.
In reality, it’s just that the Lions are a bad team and have been for a long time. They hire the wrong people, draft the wrong players, and the players they have continue to fail on the field. There is plenty of blame to go around.
The Lions just continue down the same path of destruction no matter who the coach is. Enter Dan Campbell. The locals like him. The national media? Not so much. Goofy is the best way to describe him.
But goofy isn’t cool when you’re 0-3 and you let an important game get away from you. That’s exactly what happened here.
The Lions were supposed to beat the Ravens. Period. The Ravens tried to gift wrap them an early Christmas present.
The Ravens — coming off that epic comeback victory by the Kansas City Chiefs last week — slept through this one. They definitely could have put the Lions away in the first half, but didn’t. And most of the blame had to fall on the shoulders of one man.
Yes, receiver Hollywood Brown.
It was clear after this performance that Marquise Brown was from Hollywood, Florida, not the real Hollywood in California. The third-year receiver dropped what could have been three touchdown passes.
This game should have been a rout, a laugher. Instead, Baltimore, er, Brown, let the Lions stick around. It was 10-0 at the half when it easily could have been 24-0.
And at halftime, Lions fans booed owner Sheila Ford Hamp when she spoke at Calvin Johnson’s Hall of Fame ring ceremony. It was loud. It was ugly.
It actually ruined the honor for Johnson, who was just the seventh receiver selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot. At one point during the owner’s words, Johnson tried to get the crowd to quiet down.
For sure, the frustration wasn’t just about the first half of this game, but many games gone by. The fans here are loyal to a fault. They keep buying tickets and merchandise.
They keep thinking that one day they will get their wish before they die like Chicago Cubs fans when they finally saw their team win a championship after more than 100 years.
Lions fans are consistent. Sadly, so are the Lions. As in, consistently bad.
Did we mention that the Lions allowed QB Lamar Jackson to complete a 4th and 19? The play went for 36 yards to Sammy Watkins and set up the game-winning kick.
Or that the play clock might have expired on that game-changing play?
None of this is new in downtown Detroit. The opponent changed, the uniforms were different, there’s a different coach and many different players. Yet, the result was the same.
The only thing different was that it was a record-setting field goal that did the Lions in this time. But then again, that’s happened before, too.