Despite the shocking loss to the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night, the Detroit Lions appear to moving ahead instead of taking a step back.
Credit that to the winds of change in the NFL, the struggles recently of the Packers or the realignment of the coaching staff, but the light turned on once Jim Bob Cooter was named offensive coordinator.
This is another team where change has done the roster good, especially on offense where the play of Matthew Stafford has gotten better and it shows with each passing game. Yes, add the pun if you want to.
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Thursday night’s excruciating 27-23 loss is another example of how this team is tougher and better now that the second half of the season is well underway. But losing to a division rival, especially after the team had the Packers beat, is still a hard pill to swallow.
“The Lions thought they had it won, and for 60 minutes they did. They had played well enough to sweep the Packers for the first time since 1991,” wrote Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com.
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“Then Green Bay was awarded an extra play after Taylor's penalty and Aaron Rodgers vanquished the Lions with a 61-yard Hail Mary that answered exactly none of the Lions' prayers.”
Three wins in a row prior to the loss to the Packers had everyone in Detroit praising the Lions instead of hoping for implosion.
With the unbalanced records in the NFC, the Lions were actually mathematically still part of the playoff picture.
Now, the team must win its last four games to reach .500 and then, it is anyone’s guess how the wildcard picture will turn out. With the ridiculousness in the NFC East, there is always hope and stranger things have happen.
For now, Detroit will lick its wounds, wonder how it lost the game and move on to next week.
The passing game looks better, the run game more established and the roster more confident. A shakeup of management was exactly what this team needed.
But there is also the understanding in the Motor City, and across the NFL, that more changes may still come, which include a possible change in the head coaching position.
The Ford family will have to decide if the sudden change in the play of the team will keep Jim Caldwell around and will Stafford be the starter behind center in 2016.