It’s hard to really know what to write after the Lions win over the Redskins. I have absolutely no idea what to say, and I think that probably is the only thing to say. It seems a perfect summation for the sort of purgatory I feel like we’re all just kind of lounging in as Lions fans – happy we’re not roasting in that inner circle of hell but resigned to the fact that we aren’t seeing heaven any time before the rapture, and even then, we’ll probably still be on the waiting list, dropping Jesus’ name to St. Peter at the door, trying to casually slip him a twenty while the Packers and Bears and all those shitheads just sort of slide on through, laughing.
The Lions beat the Redskins and that’s good. It’s better than losing. Shrug. I don’t know what you want to me to say. Last week, the Lions pretty much played this exact same game against the Cardinals, only they lost. They are sort of bunched together with teams like the Cardinals and the Redskins in a jumble of dumb assholes who just sort of meander around for 60 minutes and then check to see who fucked up the least before either triumphantly throwing down their headsets like 14 year olds or angrily throwing down their headsets like 14 year olds. It’s a kind of brutal ennui, and when you find yourself trapped inside of it, I guess the only thing you can do to get through it all is to take relative pleasures. And by that, I mean you celebrate – quietly, otherwise you look like kind of a dumb asshole – the fact that you were able to overcome and maintain at least for a day. You’re still a junkie, but at least this week, you didn’t pass out on the bathroom floor while other junkies like Carson Palmer stepped over your body to take a piss.
Yes, the Lions won, but let’s not pretend like they blew the Redskins off the field either. The defense probably played its worse game of the season, and it’s obvious that without Reggie Bush the offense is depressingly all too similar to last season’s. Look, that’s not to say that they are bad, it’s just to say that the line between truly good and fatally inconsistent is remarkably slim. With Reggie Bush, the Lions are a multidimensional offense, capable of hurting you in any number of ways. Without them, they are Matthew Stafford standing in the pocket trying to throw fifteen yard laser beams to covered receivers. Sometimes it works because the Lions have Calvin Johnson and when Matthew Stafford is on, his laser beams are diamond cutters that even the dudes at CERN probably freak out about. (Dork science jokes, what up?)
But it doesn’t work consistently, and just watch the Lions in the red zone against the Redskins for evidence of that. On three separate drives, Stafford just sat back and fired those lasers of his at the endzone, ignoring all the space in between because he and Scott Linehan apparently didn’t have faith that the Lions could do anything with that space. That is inherently self-limiting, and sure enough, Stafford missed 8 of those 9 passes and the Lions were forced to settle for field goals before he finally threw an impossible pass to Calvin Johnson on the 9th to score the touchdown that effectively ended the game.
That’s great, but you don’t want to put your trust in impossible passes, you know? The point is, again, that without Reggie Bush, that’s what the Lions are reduced to, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. For further evidence, watch the 2011 and the 2012 seasons back to back, and watch as the law of averages plays havoc with our idiot hearts.
I don’t mean to sound overly negative here. I mean, again, the Lions won, and WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! But it doesn’t do us any good to pretend, either. The good news is that Reggie looks like he should be back, and that holding him out this week was just a precaution, a calculated gamble meant to ensure that the Lions would have him for the long haul and not just for one game against a shitty Redskins team. And, looking at it through that lens, you have to say that the gamble paid off, the Lions pocketed their winnings and moved on, hooray.
Still, there were moments in that game that made me remember why I can’t devote my whole heart to this team. There was Nick Fairley taking a ridiculous cheap shot at Chris Chester behind a play, which was roughly 10,000 times dirtier than anything Ndamukong Suh has done recently. And there was Jim Schwartz’s I’M A MAN headset abuse moment, and no matter what the reason – and yes, I have heard all the buts here, “But he was just excited to close out the win,” “But he was angry because the Lions communications had broken down in the last minute,” “But he was upset that the Lions didn’t beat the Redskins more handily” – he looked like a huge asshole, and let’s face it, this is not Schwartz’s first dance with the Huge Asshole Queen. This is a team filled with dumb assholes, coached by dumb assholes, and cheered on largely by dumb assholes. I am continually shaking my head in shame, like a parent who opens the door only to see his son tying off his arm again. Goddammit.
That may sound harsh, especially in the wake of a victory, but I have to say this because this is what makes it hard for me to just lose myself in this team, which is really the one thing every sports fan wants to be able to do. It’s just a feel thing, you know? I felt like I was watching the same team that passed out on the bathroom floor every week last season. It’s just that the Redskins are that junkie who has to shoot up between their toes because their arms are too scabbed up now, and they don’t just routinely pass out on the bathroom floor, they get their mail delivered to the toilet. The Lions essentially won because they weren’t as fucked up, which is still a victory, yes, and we should feel glad, but come on.
This is far more negative that I meant it to be, it’s just that, really, what can I say that is positive here besides “Well, they won, that’s good”? Think of one thing from that game that merits rapturous praise or satisfied relief. To be fair, “Well, they won, that’s good,” is probably the best thing you can say after any game so I should probably chill out a bit, especially since I said I wanted to take this a game at a time, and just savor the small victories instead of worrying all the time about the big picture, but it’s not as easy as all that. I can say that shit all I want, but sometimes, the dark, black clouds seem a little bit too close to ignore, and I guess that’s where I’m at right now.
It’s weird, because I really don’t feel any better or any worse than I did after last week’s game against the Cardinals. And that’s because I feel like I just watched the same goddamn game. The result ended up being different, and hey, again, the result is kind of the only thing that seems like it should matter, and that means that I’m probably being ridiculous, but like I just said, when those clouds are following you around, it doesn’t really matter if it’s raining right now or not, because you’re kind of always preparing yourself for the inevitability of rain. You look outside and see dark clouds, and you don’t think “Phew! Thank god it’s not raining.” No, you think “Awww shit, it’s gonna rain,” and then mentally and emotionally react like it already is raining.
It didn’t rain on Sunday, but it sure as hell felt like it might, and sometimes that’s close enough to the same thing. But hey, like I said, the absence of Reggie Bush seemed like a calculated gamble, like going for a picnic even though those clouds are rolling in and hoping it doesn’t rain. And it worked, so perhaps I should just feel thankful.
I don’t know. I just don’t know, and this mess of a post is evidence of that. I keep going back and forth here because that’s what I’ve been doing in my head. I’m happy that they won, but I can’t quite allow myself to feel it. It’s better than a loss, and I know that intellectually, but emotionally, I’ve been having a hard time reconciling what I see as storm clouds with the lack of rain. I’m fucked up in the head as a fan, but this is what being a fan of the Lions will do to you. In the end, I guess the only thing I can say is that it didn’t feel like the Lions won that game so much as the Redskins lost it, which might sound extraordinarily picky to you, the fan who just wants me to shut up and lead a parade down main street with magic monkeys and clowns shooting fireballs out of their mouths, but goddammit, that matters. That matters.
This is probably a temporary setback in my own junkie battle. I’ve fallen off the wagon and let the big picture overwhelm me again, the realization that I’ll always be a junkie causing me to reach for the needle because, hey, why not, what’s the point? If you’re going to lose in the end anyway, you might as well just pass the time comfortably numb. But that is also loser talk, and I recognize that. I’m trying to do better, trying to be better, trying to overcome and understand that there is a sun shining somewhere behind all those goddamn clouds, even if I can’t see it, even if I never see it. I am just sort of rambling here, but I told you right at the outset that I had no idea what to say, or what to write, and, well, you were warned. I suppose all that’s left is for me to gibber some bullshit about enjoying the picnic and trying to ignore the clouds, and being thankful that the rain didn’t come, and blah, blah, blah, I am drowning in metaphors, somebody save me.
Look, the Lions won, and I guess that’s all that matters. Last week they lost. Their two wins have both been against 0-3 teams, and nobody knows where this is really going. We’re just junkies drifting in a rowboat in the open sea underneath cloudy skies. Maybe somebody will find us and bring us back to shore, get us cleaned up, and maybe put us in a recovery center for metaphor addiction, or maybe we’ll just drift out here forever, the skies will open up, the rain will fall, we’ll run out of junk and then devour each other in our own madness before the boat finally disintegrates and we sink to the bottom of a sea that doesn’t care.
This is an absurdly depressing post that went off the rails a while ago, a gibberfest that should have left you hitting the back button about the time I started talking about clouds, or maybe even when I made that feeble CERN joke. Clearly, it just isn’t happening and I’m just sort of wandering the halls of my own diseased mind, hooting at whatever I see like a mental patient, but I guess that’s oddly appropriate because right now, that’s how I feel about the Lions. They’re just sort of wandering, lost in the halls of their own sordid past, unable to do anything really to escape, hooting and throwing down headsets like mental patients. And in our respective wanderings, maybe we’ll cross paths, and I’ll look at the Lions and the Lions will look at me, and we’ll know each other, and maybe we’ll laugh or maybe we’ll cry, and this is all just horseshit. This is all just horseshit.
Fuck it, the Lions beat the Redskins. HOORAY, LET’S START THE PARADE!