The old saying that pride comes before a fall came true for Lions veteran middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch last weekend when he plunged from the highs of celebration to the pit of despair in a fraction of a second.
From Heaven to Hell
The moment came in the Lions 19-7 home victory over the Packers. With the Lions ahead by a touchdown in the first quarter and the Packers on 3rd and 10 Tulloch came up the middle unblocked on a delayed blitz and sacked Rodgers. It was the easiest of sacks.
Understandably, delighted with sacking superstar QB Aaron Rodgers Tulloch launched himself into his very own rendition of Rodger's very own "Discount Double Check" move only crumple to the floor within a fraction of a second. Although he was able to limp off the pitch and then return for the start of the next series it quickly became apparent that Tulloch's could not continue.
Tulloch's injury was every football players nightmare a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Needing surgery Tulloch is out for the season.
After suffering such an unfortunate injury you might expect Tulloch to regret his celebration but the nine year veteran is having none of it. Speaking to the Detriot Free Press Tulloch expressed no regrets over the celebration saying “"Hell, no, I'd do it
again, brother. You do it every time. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. Just a matter of time."
In truth Tulloch probably has a point. Prior to his injury the middle linebacker had played 131 consecutive NFL games which was the longest active streak for defensive players
in the NFL.
It may have a fluke but Tulloch's injury could be costly as it threatens to disrupt a promising season. The Lions defense has so far been the number one defense in the league this season giving up an average of just 244.3 yards overall per game. With
nine seasons in the NFL middle linebacker Tulloch's experience and leadership was a crucial component of this.
Without Tulloch Lions coach Caldwell has some big decisions to make. He could move
weak outside linebacker DeAndre Levy inside and play Tahir Whitehead at weak linebacker or he could insert Whitehead in at middle and keep Levy in the weakside role he has been so successful in.
Both options have positives and negatives. On the one hand keeping Levy at the outside
linebacker position means he can keep doing what he has been doing so well this season. Already this year he has 27 total tackles, one safety and one interception.
On the other hand though this would leave Tahir Whitehead playing in the middle, a role
that he has apparently never played at any level of football. Furthermore, with the Lions already missing six defensive backs weaking the outside by removing Levy may leave third and fourth string cornerbacks Danny Gorrer and Mohammed Seisay dangerously
Whatever happens though, Stephen Tulloch has no regrets.